As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and no book gutted me quite like The Wrong Heart. If I had to choose my top 5 books of the year, this would easily make the list. It’s a dark – often bleak – book, and the transformation of these characters from start to finish is incredible. Hartmann navigates the complexities of this dynamic extremely well, and the result is a very powerful read. And such a romantic one too, once you really dive in. It was my introduction to Hartmann’s work, but I’ve since sampled some of her other books – and they are just as unique and full of emotional turmoil. The Wrong Heart remains my favorite from her, but I am absolutely looking forward to reading more from Hartmann in 2022!
Read on for my original review and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!
This book… destroyed me. It’s powerful. It’s devastating. It’s utterly romantic. And it will stay with me for a very long time. It’s incredibly unique and wholly captivating, and I felt my blood pressure rising with every unpredictable scene. I loved it. Even my review has the potential to be triggering, so stop now if you need to – this is a bumpy ride, but SO worth the tears you’ll shed along the way.
Our couple meets at a suicide support group, and they are the two most broken characters I’ve read about. Melody is grieving the loss of the man she thought she’d spend her life with, and life doesn’t seem worth living without him. She’s alone, afraid, and hurting, and the most vulnerable she’s ever been. But there’s a man in the group who intrigues her – Parker doesn’t show his pain in his eyes like everyone else. He seems dead inside – unemotional, uncaring, and apathetic about life. He’s never felt love like Melody, and he’s almost jealous of her loss. Because it means she felt something once. As the two clash and struggle, both individually and together, they dig deeper and find a connection. And it’s the life-changing kind.
You might’ve noticed that I didn’t even mention the situation described in the blurb. That’s because this is so much more than that. I went into it blind, and that is absolutely the way to go. Its unpredictability had me at the edge of my seat the entire time, and I was simply entranced and immersed in what I was reading. So powerful, so impactful. This hero is EVERYTHING, a man so starved for affection that I HURT for him. I wanted to slap Parker one minute then hug him the next, fan myself one moment then wipe away my tears the next. There’s just so much to this story, but the message is one of HOPE. If you can make it through the darkness, there is a beautiful, engaging love story on the other side. One that had me clutching my chest for so many different reasons – I cried, I laughed, I swooned. I fell for these two, and their love story is one I won’t forget.
When my husband died, he left my broken heart behind.
He left another heart behind, too—his.
I know it’s wrong. I shouldn’t be contacting the recipient of my husband’s heart. I don’t even expect him to reply…
But there’s a desperate, twisted part of me that hopes he will.
No personal details.
Just a conversation.
The only thing I have left of my husband is inside him.
WARNING: This book contains heavy themes, such as loss of a loved one and suicide. Please read responsibly.
About the Author:
Jennifer Hartmann resides in northern Illinois with her devoted husband, Jake, and three children, Willow, Liam, and Violet. When she is not writing angsty love stories, she is likely thinking about writing them. She enjoys sunsets (because mornings are hard), bike riding, traveling anywhere out of Illinois, binging Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, and that time of day when coffee gets replaced by wine. Jennifer is a wedding photographer with her husband and an avid skincare junkie. She is excellent at making puns and finding inappropriate humor in mundane situations. She loves tacos. She also really, really wants to pet your dog. Xoxo.
More of the Best of 2021!
Top 20 of 2021: The Complete List – here
Best of 2021: Top Picks by Trope can be found here!
Best of 2021: My 10 Favorite Romance Series can be found here!
Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!
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