Harmony to Heartburn

Fortytude Book 3

Fiction - Chick Lit
225 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Hello there! A little about me. I'm a long-time Las Vegas native who spends her days teaching computer technology to hormonal middle schoolers. I live with my husband of 20+ years, two kids, and our lovable and sometimes annoying dogs. Our Sunday night family ritual is watching The Walking Dead. (Super serious crush on Andrew Lincoln, by the way.) Being a huge fan of movies with stupid humor, Zoolander, Austin Powers, and Monty Python are some of my faves. And if you asked me where the best place in the world is, it would have to be Disneyland. I mean, it IS the happiest place on Earth. I love to write about relationships, family as well as romantic, and my aim is to explore life's challenges with honesty and humor. Hearing from readers is such a treat, so please feel free to visit me on Facebook or Twitter, or both!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Harmony to Heartburn by Shelly Hickman portrays family, friendships and life. Just when you think life is going well - then BAM – the unexpected occurs! Anna and Kiran have been together six years. They have gone through their share of ups and downs in life. Each of them still carries their own personal baggage from the past. Packed carefully within these bags are secret fears begging to be released. Anna is shocked to hear that her bickering parents have decided to take a break from each other after 50 years of marriage. What does that exactly mean, anyway? Furthermore, Luke and Richard’s relationship has hit a huge bump in the road. This news weighs heavy upon Anna and Kiran's relationship. Kiran struggles to silence his insecurities regarding Anna’s ex-husband, Luke. Not knowing exactly how to react, Anna finds herself stuck in the middle of everyone’s malfunctioning relationship. She just wants things to go back to the way they were, back to their normal craziness. Anna clings to the hope of harmony restored in her family.

Shelly Hickman peers deeply into the soul of family in Harmony to Heartburn. I have not read the previous books in the Fortytude Series. However, this really did not matter. Hickman does a wonderful job reintroducing her characters. By incorporating a couple of well placed flashbacks early in the book, you quickly get to know the background and essence of the main characters. Hickman depicts the story of life. It is not always peachy and rosy. Quite the contrary; life is full of obstacles, detours, setbacks, personal crises and deep rooted fears. In keeping with this understanding, the real antagonist of the narrative is “life.” Hickman brilliantly pens the struggles of life’s adversities. The characters are not perfect, they are ordinary folk trying to live life the best that they can. Anna’s character reflects the heart of a friend, wife, mother and daughter as she searches for answers and restoration for her family. The narrative faces the phantoms of the past head on and portrays the honest fight to overcome fear. There are no quitters! Harmony to Heartburn is about real life problems, joyful promises and hopeful futures. It is about discovering harmony in the midst of chaos. It is a story of burning hearts enduring the pain of love.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Anna’s life seemed like it was all on track for happiness and perfection when her high school crush fell in love with her and they started their life together. But two beautiful children later, things have definitely changed. We find Anna and Luke separated, and very much in love with their new partners. Luke has finally come to terms with his own sexuality and Anna is finally happy with the right man for her. But just because the children are grown up and the parents are finally living their lives doesn’t mean things are all roses. Because there’s some chaos going on in this seemingly happy family in Harmony to Heartburn by Shelly Hickman.

This book is great at showing you exactly what it’s like to have a family and go through a variety of different trials and tribulations with them. No family is perfect and in this book you get to see one very convoluted family working their way to some type of normalcy. It’s a great read because it helps you see that families really aren’t what we read about in stories where girl meets guy and they live happily ever after. There’s so much more to having a family than that, and I love the way this book introduces each of the characters with real flaws and real problems. It’s okay to not have a perfect life. This book helps you see that anything can be overcome if you’re willing to work on it in Harmony to Heartburn by Shelly Hickman.

Patricia Day

Harmony to Heartburn (Fortytude Book 3) written by Shelly Hickman is a realistic look at relationships. Discovering the inner thoughts and emotions of those we love, and those we are perhaps are no longer enamoured with, can lead to hurt, misunderstanding, frustration or downright anger. This is basically the theme of this book. Anna has remarried, and is besotted by the quiet calm of Kiran. He has a way of quelling her worst fears. Her previous marriage to Luke crumbled with the discovery of a gender question. Now she has to learn to trust and love again. The only drawback is that Luke is still very much a part of the family, which makes it hard to forget the relationship they once shared.

Her parents and friends are also dealing with doubts of true love and concerns for certain individual members’ health. Understanding those inner emotions is as puzzling as it is worrying for onlookers. When Anna is faced with threatening behavior from her ex-husband, Luke, she battles with her own inner turmoil. Reaching out to Kiran for understanding, she at once feels overwhelmed with having to make a major decision. Like any family, each unit here deals with the day-to-day hurdles of life. The best part is that they can talk about the difficulties to try to resolve them.

There are many intriguing characters, most of which I found appealing. The story slowly reaches a conclusion after meticulously covering a multitude of problems and thwarted plans. It is an interesting look at society and the way we handle relationships. Shelly Hickman has obviously done much research to enable her to write in such detail. Definitely a book to help anyone look at family issues with a new perspective.