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Reviewed by Rebecca Aaron for Readers' Favorite
In Lisa Stanbridge’s contemporary romance novel, Abandoned Hearts, we meet Claire Stone, a private nurse who has recently broken free from an abusive relationship. Desperate for a fresh start, Claire moves to the beachside community of Busselton, Western Australia, to become the live-in nurse for Daphne Karalis, a terminal cancer patient. Daphne’s divorced son Michael lives there as well, and right away he and Claire get off on the wrong foot. Michael, who has grown bitter and mistrustful of women since his divorce, is hesitant to accept Claire at first, but over time, the two begin to see one another in a different light, and a romance blossoms. Can Claire and Michael learn to trust again and find healing in one another?
This is a charming, beautiful, well-written romantic read. The characters are vibrant and lovely, and the dialogue is sharp and distinct. I related to Claire's character the most but found Michael to also be well-fleshed-out and compelling. The supporting cast is great as well, particularly the housekeeper, Von, and Daphne, Michael's mother. The roles and plot are straightforward, but the story still took a few twists that I was not anticipating, which only heightened my enjoyment. The romance felt natural and progressed at a good pace. The chemistry between the two leads was wonderful, and they balanced each other well. The ending was also incredibly sweet and satisfying. I recommend Abandoned Hearts to readers who enjoy heartwarming romances, as well as compelling characters and unique settings. I am looking forward to more work from Lisa Stanbridge.