Reviewed by Linda W. for Readers' Favorite
Erica Brogna arrives at Ada's Fabric Shoppe, only to find it on fire. Although she attempts to save Ada, she finds herself unable to accomplish the goal. She runs outside to wave down help. Lorne Kinkade was out cruising on his Harley when he smelled smoke and saw a young woman frantically waving for help. Upon arrival, Erica informs Lorne that Ada is still in the house. He goes in and rescues her, though she is badly burned on her face and arm. Erica, Lorne and Ada end up at Memorial Hospital, where Erica and Lorne are treated and released. Ada was still in surgery, but subsequently died from her injuries.
Nike Chillemi, in "Burning Hearts", creates a genuine story line of a senseless, selfish arson/murder, with characters who are personal, personable, cruel, and real. The conversations seem so natural and true to the circumstances, the delightful romance is respectful for the time era (1946), the police action/non-action seems appropriate in the days of family powers ruling, and the suspense and mystery, though slow compared to today's action, is timely and kept my attention. Nike kept me guessing who the killer/arsonist was throughout the whole book, down to the last few pages. And even then the action is powerful, dangerous and alarming. Emotions are palpable! Definitely moved me.
For her first novel, Nike has done an outstanding job of keeping the storyline moving with all the different characters, crimes, and social and daily activities. Her descriptive language gives you a sense of the era, surrounding scenery, scenarios, area, and emotions. This aspect makes it a very intimate read. Powerfully written with a sense of gentility mixed in. Definitely a 1946-era book. I loved it! Looking forward to her next book!