Tag Archives: Kristen Heitzmann

Review: Echoes, by Kristen Heitzmann

Echoes, by Kristen HeitzmannEchoes, by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House, 2007)

In this conclusion to the Michelli Family series, we follow Lance and Rese’s story (and their house full of family and friends) but the main plot introduces us to Lance’s sister, Sofie, and child protection worker Matt Hammond.

You could start with this book, but you’d miss the chance to know the characters better. I recommend starting with book 1, Secrets.

Echoes is perhaps the heaviest read in the series, because of the emotional abuse certain characters have suffered. As with the other books, we have flawed, human characters finding their way toward wholeness.

We also have the struggle to see God’s goodness while seeing the pain people cause. And we see an interesting example of intercessory prayer in Lance, who’s still trying not to mess up. Sometimes God burdens him to pray, and sometimes that prayer results in healings. But it’s never something he can initiate on his own, and he doesn’t want anyone saying anything about “his power” – he knows it’s not his, it’s God’s.

This series is the first I’ve read of Kristen Heitzmann’s fiction, but her website assures me there’s more where these stories came from. For more about the author and her work, visit kristenheitzmannbooks.com.

[Review copy from the public library.]

Review: Unforgotten, by Kristen Heitzmann

Unforgotten, by Kristen HeitzmannUnforgotten, by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House, 2005)

Lance Michelli’s family is living the generational effects of past tragedy. He can’t stop comparing himself to his perfect brother, Tony, who died in 9-11. And in trying to bring closure to his beloved Nonna Antonia for the trauma of her youth, it seems he’s only made things worse.

This is the second in a series, and in book one, Secrets, Antonia sent Lance to her girlhood home on a mission. Unforgotten leads Lance and the woman he loves (Rese, who has renovated the home to be a bed and breakfast) into more fallout from the past. A secondary thread reveals more of Antonia’s past as the elderly woman processes the revelation of even more secrets.

Secrets was set in California wine country. Unforgotten brings Rese and Lance back to his home in a run-down part of the Bronx – a home packed with his extended family. We see the solitary Rese learn to not only survive but to find her place in the mayhem.

Unforgotten brims with deeply flawed characters, some of whom are learning what it means to grow in relationship with God and with each other despite misconceptions, mistakes, and setbacks along the way. There’s a lot of love in the novel: romantic, family, and between friends. There’s also an element of spiritual warfare and an honest portrayal of the Christian’s struggle to understand why God allows so much suffering.

These characters have a place in my heart, and I can’t wait to follow them to the series conclusion in Echoes.

Bestselling author Kristen Heitzmann writes contemporary romantic suspense, psychological suspense, and historical fiction, that connect with readers’ hearts. For more about the author and her books, visit kristenheitzmannbooks.com.

[Review copy from the public library.]

Review: Secrets, by Kristen Heitzmann

Secrets, by Kristen HeitzmannSecrets, by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House, 2004)

Lance Michelli’s beloved grandmother can’t speak, following a stoke, but she’s desperate for him to accomplish something for her – something urgent, something secret. The few clues she can give lead him to an old home in California wine country, which he suspects should truly belong to her.

Everyone else thinks it belongs to Rese Barrett, a young woman who’s left a successful construction business to restore the building and run it as a bed and breakfast.

Lance talks himself into a job as Rese’s cook – and maid. His Italian relatives taught him all he needs to produce beautiful meals, and if cleaning toilets is what he needs to do to make things right for his grandmother, he’ll do it.

Falling for Rese is not part of his plan. How can Lance help Rese heal her hurts when finding justice for his grandmother may take the property away from Rese? How can he tell her he came under false pretenses, now that she’s beginning to trust what he says about God?

Here’s one of Lance’s observations of Rese:

She headed for a wide flat rock on the creek’s bank, her posture still demanding “no trespassing” but no longer “trespassers will be shot.” [page 270]

I liked both main characters, and the secondaries were intriguing too, especially next-door neighbour Evvy and Rese’s friend Star. And the fictional food was amazing.

This is one of those novels I read slowly, not wanting it to end. So I was pleased to discover it’s book one in a trilogy. Now I’m looking for book two, Unforgotten, which continues Lance’s quest.

Kristen Heitzmann is a new-to-me author with plenty of published novels. She writes contemporary romantic suspense, historical fiction, and psychological suspense. Secrets won the Christy Award for Romance in 2005. For more about the author and her books, visit kristenheitzmann.com/.

[Review copy from my local public library.]