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Carry Her Heart

Carry Her Heart, May 2015
by Holly Jacobs

Montlake Romance
Featuring: Piper George; Ned Chesterfield
222 pages
ISBN: 1477829288
EAN: 9781477829288
Kindle: B00QBOD5FQ
e-Book
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"Giving a child up for adoption haunts this woman who denies herself the freedom to love another."

Fresh Fiction Review

Carry Her Heart
Holly Jacobs

Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted April 29, 2015

Romance

Piper George writes young adult books dealing with paranormal elements. Living in Erie, Pennsylvania Pip relives being a 16-year- old girl giving her baby girl up for adoption to the family she deserves. The hardest thing she has ever done was out of love for the child she knew she wasn't qualified to give the best life which she deserved.

Pip keeps a journal of the passage of time since the birth for her daughter and fills the pages with her account of the love she has for the child, whom she calls Amanda. Each page recounts the time since she was a teen mother, the decision to place her for adoption and her enveloping love for the child she's unable to forget. Her new neighbor Edward Chesterfield becomes her closest friend, confiding everything in him except her lost child. The closer they become a romantic relationship never enters her mind. Ned is there for support when Pip needs it including becoming involved in her efforts. Amanda's Pantry is started by Pip in honor of her daughter to aid all children hungry and in need of clothing and nurturing love and care. As much as Pip cares for Ned, fearing she has given so much of herself to the memory of her adopted daughter, she feels she may not have enough left to commit to Ned. When Ned learns of the child she lost he must find a way to bring reality to Pip that she has enough love to include others without being disloyal to her child.

It has been a while since I have read anything so emotional and heartfelt. Holly Jacobs clearly has written a story from her heart and soul and shared that with her readers. Such a poignant tale of love of a child given up for adoption makes your heart ache with the loneliness of this mother. To present a tale with such a loss and yet give this woman such a drive to become the fantastic person she does, just makes your heart bleed for her. I could not keep from crying as I lived through the spirit of this woman and the suffering she endured. It will be a long time coming before I forget CARRY HER HEART a very remarkable and wonderful story.

Learn more about Carry Her Heart

SUMMARY

“Maybe we live our lives constantly becoming and rebecoming. Maybe we’re always in the process of metamorphosing into something new.”

In her journal, writer Piper George notes the change of seasons. Each entry marks the passage of time since she became a teen mother and put her baby up for adoption. Her words flow together, painting a picture of loss, hope, and enduring love for the daughter she’s never forgotten. But one autumn, a new presence appears in its pages and in her life: her neighbor, Edward “Ned” Chesterfield.

As winter thaws to spring, Piper and Ned develop a friendship that could be something more…if only Piper would open her heart. But the loss of her daughter has irrevocably shaped her life. And having given so much of herself away, she’s not sure if she can give Ned all that he deserves. But with him at her side, Piper just might learn that a heart’s love is never truly lost.

Excerpt

I sat on my front porch and took a sip from a bone china teacup with tiny forget-me-nots painted on the side.

It was a civilized, proper cup.

I looked down at my laptop, which was balanced on the holey jeans that covered my outstretched legs. My legs were propped on the porch railing.

There was nothing particularly proper looking about me.

I didn’t need a mirror to know that my carrot-red hair had gone Medusa again and was breaking free of its twisty. As for my jeans, I swear my knees must be knobbier than the average woman’s, or maybe because I worked at home and wore them daily, they just gave up more rapidly. Either way, my three favorite pairs of jeans all had holes in the knees . . . again.

I’d have to go shopping.

I hate going shopping.

I could buy most of what I needed online and avoid the stores, but jeans were an item of clothing that must be tried on.

I stared at my blank screen and took another sip of my tea.

I liked working on the porch.

I watched all the cars that stopped in front of the school across the street. Passenger doors opened and children were disgorged from them at regular intervals. Tall, skinny kids, short, roundish ones. Loud ones who started shrieking friends’ names before their feet hit the pavement. Quiet ones, who could seem alone even in the midst of the morning chaos.

Boys. Girls. Nerds. Jocks. Happy. Sullen.

They were all my inspiration.

They were also my audience.

In a sea of young adult books that dealt with paranormal elements, from wizards to vampires, I currently wrote reality- based books for preteens. I’d written books for much younger children in the past, but as my audience aged, so did my writing.

Maybe it was time to angle my books away from elementary and middle school audiences and toward high school students?

I tried to concentrate on the scene in front of me. I only had a few more weeks before the Erie, Pennsylvania, weather got too cold to work outside. I always hated moving inside for work. This porch was where I found Julie and Auggie, Terry the Terrible, and Beautiful Belle.

This porch was also where I tried to imagine Amanda.

There.

A girl with auburn-brown braids that thumped up and down on her back as she walked to a group of girls and joined in the talk. She was new. I know I’d have remembered her. She was talking to a group of bigger kids. Probably eighth graders, the oldest class at this school. She was animated as she spoke. She’d work as a character. I ...

I was distracted from the scene playing out across the street by a moving van that pulled into the driveway next door. The Morrisons had moved out three weeks ago. The “For Sale” sign on the front yard had had a “Sold” sticker plastered across it for a few weeks longer than that. But after the Morrisons had moved out, no one else had moved in.

The door of the van opened and a man got out.

I only needed that first quick glance to know he was cute.

I tried to study him circumspectly. And I immediately thought of him as a fictional character. If I were writing him in a book, I’d make him a . . . coach. He had that every-man sort of look to him. He was good-looking, but not intimidatingly so. Still, he was good-looking enough that there was a spark of attraction.

I’ll confess, I don’t go out a lot and don’t meet a ton of eligible, single men. I meet even fewer who give me that zing of awareness. The sort of feeling that reminded me that I was a woman in my prime.

I took another glance at the man I was zinging over. His hair was . . . neat. Not too short but not long by any stretch of the imagination. And it was brown. Not dark brown bordering on black and definitely not punctuated with blond highlights. No, this man’s hair was a straight-up, use-a-Crayola-brown-crayon- if-you-were-coloring-him sort of brown.

He was tan. Not in a lies-out-in-the-sun sort of way, but rather he had a skin tone that came from ancestors who came from sunnier climates than mine. I made people who were pale look swarthy.

Judging from the van, he was not overly tall, nor was he overly short. Average.

I tried to ignore my zing and concentrate on my book. This man would make a perfect coach. Put a baseball cap on him and give him a whistle and a glove . . .

At some point, I’d started typing.

“Couch,” Felicity called. “Your name’s funny.”

“Coach,” Coach Divan responded, correcting her pronunciation.

“Couch Divan. I bet people pick on you. My grandma calls her couch a divan. So you’re really Couch Couch.”

“Coach,” he repeated.

“I like Couch better. Couch Divan. Yep. Couch Couch. Yeah, I like it—”

“Hi.”

That one syllable pulled me from my story and I realized the man who had reminded me I was a woman and was my potential new neighbor as well as an inspiration for a new character was standing at my porch railing.

“Sorry. I got caught up in . . .” I wasn’t going to tell him what I’d been caught up in. It’s better not to scare new acquaintances with my profession. Some worry they’d become fodder for my fiction.

Frankly, some did.

I started again. “Hi. Are you my new neighbor?”

He nodded. “Edward Chesterfield. Ned, to my friends.”

I couldn’t help it. I started to laugh. Really, it was more of a giggle than a full-out laugh.

I’d written an article years ago for a historical magazine about the evolution of the modern sofa, which was the only reason I know that a variety of couches are known as Chesterfields.

Given what I’d been writing, it was funny. Well, maybe not in a stand-up comedy routine sort of way, but to a woman who spent a lot of her time entertaining herself, it was hysterical.

My new neighbor, Ned, looked at me like I was nuts.

“Sorry. Really. It’s just that . . .” Man, I was making a muck of this. I’m pretty sure that telling a man you were amused that there was a type of couch that bore his family name wasn’t going to convince him of your sanity.

I settled for simply introducing myself. “I’m Piper. Piper George. Do you need a hand moving stuff in?”

“Miss Pip,” a group of kids from last year called from across the street. I was the kindergarten story lady at the school. Some years, for first or second grade, too. I went in a few times a week. Sometimes I read my books, and sometimes I simply read some of my favorite children’s books. Where the Wild Things Are, The Wild Baby Book . . .

I waved back to the kids. “Have a good first day.”

“Pip?” my new neighbor asked.

That was my writing name and how the kids all knew me, but no adults called me that. “It’s Piper,” I corrected. “So do you need any help, Ned?”

He shook his head. “Thanks, but I have some friends coming over to help.”

“Well, good luck and welcome to the neighborhood. If you need anything, I’m around more often than I’m not.” Great. Now he was convinced I was nuts and a hermit. So I added an explanation. “I work from home.”

He nodded and asked, “Are you going to explain what’s so funny about my name?”

I smiled. “It wasn’t your name, but my mind.”

“Your mind, Pip?” he asked.

“Piper,” I corrected again. “And my mind works in mysterious ways, Ned Chesterfield.”

He studied me a moment, then simply nodded and went back to his driveway.

I was pretty sure I had not made an auspicious first impression.

But seriously, my inspiration for Couch Divan—Couch Couch—was a Chesterfield?

I chuckled again.

Little things amused me. That was a good thing, because little things were far more prevalent in my life than big things. Some people might have a problem with that, but frankly, I loved my life. I made a living at my writing, which allowed me to spend my free time volunteering. I thought both things made a difference, and that was enough for me.

I took a sip of my now-cold tea from my favorite forget-me-not cup and went back to work on Couch Couch. I watched as a car full of men pulled up next door and began unloading the moving van with Ned Chesterfield.

They all waved and said hi, or at least nodded.

I couldn’t wait to tell my friend Cooper that the new neighbor was cute. Or maybe I wouldn’t. If she found out he was good- looking she’d go out of her way to fix the two of us up. I might try to tell her that I had more requirements from the men I dated other than being cute, but she would insist that the first spark of attraction was all I needed to date. Later, I could find out if there was more.

I watched as Ned came in and out of the house.

And yes, if Coop asked, I’d have to admit there was a spark.


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