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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.