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Reviewed by Karin Steyn for Readers' Favorite
Secondhand Hearts: A Last Chance Beach Novella is a touching story by Kathryn Hills. Kat (Katrina) Worthington, thirty, returns to Sandpiper Cottage on Last Chance Beach holiday island. Her mother asks her to persuade Haddie Marshall, Kat’s 77-year-old grandmother, to move to an assisted-living community condo. Kat is determined to please her mother, but she doesn’t anticipate meeting Haddie’s handsome neighbor and handyman, Ben Hadley. Haddie is the driving force behind their possible romance, but Kat and Ben have both had disappointing breakups and appear skeptical of a serious relationship. Kat’s mother becomes impatient while Kat’s boss adds pressure for her to return to the mainland. Ben gives up on a future with her when he overhears Kat telling her mother that nothing is keeping her on the island.
Kathryn Hills paints such a vivid picture of the island and inn that it’s easy to feel the charm of which Haddie speaks. Haddie's and Kat’s reflections on their experiences give their characters and lives authenticity. Kat’s childhood days on the island, doing fun things with her grandparents during peak season, strengthen our idea of their loving bond. Kat’s obstinate mother and Haddie’s optimism, as well as the island’s laid-back magical ambiance and Kat’s rigid city job - which she loves - are well-contrasted. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance and subtle humor throughout the story. Hills managed to build enough tension and suspense to keep me turning the pages. In my opinion, Secondhand Hearts is a fantastic and worthy read.