Cauliflower Heart

Cauliflower Heart

Wrestling With Life

Fiction - Chick Lit
168 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Cauliflower Heart: Wrestling With Life is a romantic sports novel written by Diana Hart. Claudine Bellamy had gone from being happily married to Drew, a champion wrestler, to being his widow after his suspicious death in Germany following an international competition. To add to the grief and stress, the purse he had won, which was $100,000, had disappeared. Her father, Billy Bonham, and brother, Toasty, were concerned about her as she answered the many condolence cards and tried not to think about the future. Billy wasn't a wealthy man, and he'd do everything in his power to help his daughter and two grandchildren, but he realized it wouldn't be nearly enough. Claudine thought perhaps that the smooth-talking Toni, a reporter who had interviewed Drew in the past and had recently put together a video for his funeral, actually had a plan that might save her financially. Toni wanted to co-write Claudine's autobiography. She had great plans for it, and the numbers she promised that they'd earn would help her pay the bills and keep her little family afloat. There was even a small advance that went right into the bank to pay some overdue bills. The widow and the reporter went right to work on Claudine's story, but she soon realized that her past and Toni's spin on it were not necessarily the same thing.

Diana Hart's romantic sports novel, Cauliflower Heart: Wrestling With Life transports the reader into the life of a wrestling family in Manchester. I was fascinated by the amount of wrestling lore and sporting information I encountered in this book, and had a grand time reading it. Claudine is a wonderful character; one I just couldn't fault for her somewhat naive faith in the scheming Toni, especially in circumstances where anyone's mind would be clouded in grief. Hart's characters are beautifully fleshed out, and you just can't help but get involved in their lives, especially Claudine and her son and daughter. Her plot is a finely balanced blend of sports and family, and her writing style is strong and assured. This is the second book in Hart's Cauliflower Heart series, but it works well as a standalone read as well. It's highly recommended.

Rosie Malezer

Cauliflower Heart is the second book in the Wrestling With Life series written by Diana Hart. Claudine Bellamy is flat broke. It had only been a month since her pro-fighter husband, Drew, had died, yet her savings were dwindling to nothing from the countless bills which continued to accumulate. Claudine’s father, Billy, considers recommending she take a job working at IWF, but memories of his wife having done the same are still raw and painful, especially so soon after her death. Writer and family friend, Toni Orr, suggests that Claudine should write a book about her life, offering to handle the contracts, publishing, and any movie rights should Claudine wish to push ahead with the idea. With contracts signed, Claudine had unwittingly given Toni poetic license to twist and turn every part of Claudine's life into something akin to a combined horror movie/soap opera instead of a reflective biography.

When Toni twists Claudine’s own childhood into a fictitious life of molestation and pedophilia, branding Claudine as somebody with Stockholm’s Syndrome (for still loving her so-called abusers), Claudine reaches her limit and demands to take the reins in writing the book instead of Toni, but it is too late and the damage is done. With her father’s death, Claudine’s brother disowns her, banishes her from the family property, and sues for damages for the lies printed in the book, while tabloid magazines start printing horrific stories about her children. The world's media and publicists take advantage of Claudine in every way possible, walking away unscathed while the scars they had inflicted on Claudine and her family will last a lifetime. To them, it's a paycheck and a living. To Claudine, it's her life. With the movie now in the works, Claudine may never regain any sense of trust or happiness.

Never has a book left me so emotionally raw. The title, Cauliflower Heart, is pure genius. Cauliflower Ear is something a fighter suffers after taking constant beatings about the head, and with Claudine’s heart taking such severe emotional beatings over and over when her husband dies, Cauliflower Heart is the pure epitome of the pain, trauma and tragedy caused by outside parties when a family should be left in peace to grieve. Diana Hart’s unique writing style pulls the reader in so thoroughly, allowing you to feel the anger, heartbreak and love that Claudine Bellamy feels throughout the story. I am left in hope that this incredibly strong-willed, yet emotionally battered character can regain control of her life at some stage during the writing of this series.

The book is fast-paced and I recommend it to all readers who are not afraid of seeing how the outside world can chew good people up at their most vulnerable time, using a victim's pain and misery to their own sick advantage in every single conceivable way. My hat’s off to Diana Hart for this gripping tale. I plan to seek out the first and third books in the Wrestling With Life series, as I now find myself with an emotional stake in the outcome, while also wanting to read about the love Claudine and Drew had shared. This series will most definitely be joining my private book collection at home.

Michelle Stanley

Wrestling with Life is Book 2 from the chick lit series Cauliflower Heart by Diana Hart. Claudine Bellamy has difficulty coping after losing her husband. Her family’s wrestling business doesn’t generate sufficient income to cover her bills, so Claudine signs a contract with Toni, a wily reporter, to write a biography on her famous family. Regrettably, the book does more harm than good and family members are angry and embarrassed. Although Claudine tries to make amends, her efforts are ignored by Toni and others who want to exploit the grieving widow. She attempts to keep up a cheerful façade for her children, but they seem much stronger than her. Claudine is aware of how weak, lonely, and vulnerable she has become, but is unprepared to make the proper changes needed to reorganize her life.

Wrestling with Life is the ideal title for this book since the main character constantly struggles to put her life in order. She is easy to manipulate and her inability to deal with situations as they present themselves. However, this is her character trait that makes the story moving. It is also a natural occurrence typical of persons who are suddenly faced with financial responsibilities usually handled by their spouses or relatives. The drama is intense, emotional, and well presented by Diana Hart with a convincing exchange of dialogue. She shows the other side of wrestling one rarely sees. I think the ending is very nice and suspenseful, which does continue in Book 3 of the Cauliflower Heart series.