Cam was the archetypal troubled teen, ran from home the day she finished school and never went back, has a memory block from her early childhood which hides a chronic trauma. As an adult she has made a life, avoided entanglements and has anger issues.
When a call from her hated Uncle to say her GrandaPa is dying pulls her back to Tennessee she is reluctant to visit for the first time in so many years, but feels the need to pay her respects to the man who held the family together. Believing her mother to be a cut off and unemotional woman who never cared for her, she is completely unprepared for the revelations that her GrandPa’s deathbed confessions unleash.
Vickie Adams first full length novel shows huge potential. The main story is excellent; shocking and deeply moving at times. It’s a complex and convoluted plot with visions, murders, an extended family drama and some very nasty history. Add in a typical lesbian “U-Haul” romance with some steamy sex and it adds up to a great combination.
Cam is a strong main character and the other leading players, her family and former school friends, are distinct and well portrayed. The relationship sub-plot, sudden and intense, is the rekindling of a high school crush, it did feel a little like an except from an erotica short story – well done but slightly off kilter with the serious emotional drama of the main story.
It’s a fast paced read with plenty of edge of the seat moments that definitely make it interesting as layer after layer of the wholly dysfunctional extended family comes unglued. The writing is solid, but perhaps lacks some emotional maturity given the extremely serious nature of some of the plot threads. There is nothing wrong with it at all, but as an author develops her craft emotional depth gets woven into the fabric of a story, and Heartland, for all its complexity does feel like a first novel.
I dont mean to be overly critical however, there is a good balance between the narrative structure, dialogue and interior monologue. I look forward to reading future works from this author who clearly has an excellent imagination and the ability to create complex characters and deal with difficult emotionally charged themes.
A personal gripe – I don’t get the jacket at all. It looks like an erotica cover, with a provocatively dressed woman who looks nothing like any of the main characters and suggests a steamy romance. This is a good emotionally charged drama touching on complex issues and the cover does not reflect that at all.
Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.
(publisher review copy received)
To buy from Amazon.com – click here.
To buy from Amazon.co.uk – click here.