Heitzmann On My Bookshelf
Kristen Heitzmann is a well-known author of historical novels as well as contemporary romantic and psychological suspense. She has been a Christy Award finalist with Indivisible and The Tender Vine and a Christy winner with one of my favorites, Secrets.
Teaching and mentoring other writers at American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, Kristen passes on her expertise to others. She’s no stranger to eager audiences at women’s conferences.
Heitzmann makes her home in Colorado where we might find her hiking with her husband in the mountains or painting a landscape.
Kristen Heitzmann has provided reading material for my bookshelf for quite some time.
In her first independently published work Told You So, Heitzmann pulls the reader into a fast-paced duel between a playwright and novelist.
Devin Bressard, the brooding Broadway producer, and Grace Evangeline, a well-known romance novelist, clash when he doesn’t deem her work worthy for the stage.
At least in its present form.
She strikes back with a plot to change his mind. From the opening tea-dousing scene to the satisfying ending, Heitzmann perfectly paces the tension between Devin and Grace. They grudgingly enter each other’s world until their fiction project becomes their own story. And we don’t know the ending until . . . well, the end.
Reasons I liked it:
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book in which each subplot was followed to completion. We are not left hanging until the second installment, Told you Twice. Kristen compliments the subplots with complex primary characters and richly layered secondary. In the process, she subtly mines their psychological, spiritual, and emotional makeup.
Tete-a-tete dialogue showcases sharp wit and reveals personality traits of the characters.
Devin: “Grace, you don’t have to be present for bad things to happen.”
Grace: “What about good things?”
I admire writing that sings with color, sound, and texture. No one could deny Kristen’s mastery of the skill. Conflict from the opening scene? She delivers. Comedic relief? You’ll find it.
A great writer dives into the soul of characters.
Told You So scores high.
Challenged to work together on a project, Devin and Grace find a new level of story-telling as their talents and lives are forced to mesh. As Kristen says, “There were undercurrents that surfaced from the depths.” Devin wants Grace to discover a deeper level of characterization instead of fairy tale endings. Grace discovers Devin masks his unresolved inner war.
As the narrative unfolds, the backstory of their lives emerges and demands resolution. The reader sweats it out with the characters.
“She sensed something driving him, feared without her he would break beneath it. He was not weak but vulnerable. And he hated it. She knew that place—and hated it too.” Skillful handling of backstory.
Heitzmann gives us two characters from different world views who are at odds personally and professionally but can’t live without each other. What happens when their hearts collide?