Monday, December 23, 2019
Review - - Close to the Heart
Close to the Heart
by Suzanne Ferrell
Westen Series - Book 5
Publisher: Suzanne Ferrell Productions
Release Date: November 2, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
During a state-wide blizzard, Westen sheriff’s deputy Daniel Löwe finds a little girl named Lexie abandoned, freezing and terrified. He takes her—undernourished, dressed in thread-bare clothes—to the only available place in the small town, the Westen House for at-risk teens. Daniel’s protective instincts compel him to check in frequently to assure the girl's safety. A man who gave up all hope of a family, Daniel enjoys spending more and more time at Westen House with Lexie and the four teen boys who live there. But it’s the new housemother, Melissa Davis that drives his heart faster.
After surviving an abusive ex-husband, a wiser, less-trusting Melissa is forging a new life for herself. The moment Lexie arrives bundled in a quilt and asleep in the handsome deputy’s arms, Melissa's fierce maternal impulses rouse and she fears Lexie's drug-addicted mother will find and claim her. As Daniel helps track Lexie's mom and still finds time to teach the little girl how to play baseball, Melissa realizes that Daniel's a good man who keeps his promises, no matter how big or small, and the walls around Melissa’s heart start to crumble.
Their newly forged hope shatters when multiple bodies are discovered in abandoned drug dens and Daniel realizes Lexie's in real danger from her mother's dealer. Fearing for the little girl’s safety, Daniel and Melissa must lean on each other if they want to prevent the monster from stealing Lexie's life.
I always enjoy returning to Suzanne Ferrell's small town of Westen, Ohio for heartwarming tales of suspense-filled romance. In Close to the Heart, drugs are once again threatening this close-knit community but, this time, it's a six-year old girl in the cross-hairs of a ruthless dealer.
I adored Lexie. Ferrell captures this neglected little girl at the center of the story, and each of her relationships, perfectly. Daniel's care and patience with her are a window into his heart for the previously abused Melissa, showing her she can trust him with her own. He's such a sweetheart of a guy. I really appreciated his quiet strength and tender approach with both Lexie and Melissa as well as the role of mentor he takes on with the boys. I enjoyed watching Melissa grow in strength and self-confidence as she cares for and protects Lexie. And the relationships between Lexie and the four teen boys already under Melissa's care are spot-on sibling dynamics.
The heartbreak caused by the the appearance of drugs in town is not sugarcoated in this story. Ferrell lays it out clearly and realistically, adding additional depth and emotion to the story, and drawing me more completely into the lives of the characters involved.
Fans of the Westen series will enjoy catching up with favorite characters in this fifth book of the series while readers new to the town should be able to fully enjoy Close to the Heart on its own.