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By Barbara Shelton | Category :: Writing Article

Rival Hearts is my first read from author Tara Randel, a writer of five previous romance novels. When initially requested to read and review the story, the title left me curious; however, I soon discovered the story well defined by its title. Ben Masterson, chief editor for Masterson Publishing Company pits a dualistic competition of sorts between employs and colleagues Molly Henderson, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben Weaver, editor of Outdoor Adventures. Masterson dangles the bait of the editor-in-chief of a new magazine, American Legend for the winner of this bout. The winner to be determined on one condition –Molly and Ben must switch roles for 30 days and write an article about the experience. Masterson deems himself judge over the contest and outcome. The switch means for Molly learning how to navigate a kayak and Ben to create a quilt.

Switching places! Was this a fair process of determining a winner? Molly had longevity as an employee of Masterson Publishing and Ben was a recent employ with only background experience as a world traveler in sports and outdoor adventures – oh yes, there is the time he hosted that TV series, Extreme Survivalist. Thirty days……that seems an impossible task for each in that time limit – unrealistic. These might have been questions both contestants thought privately, at least in my own thoughts. Nevertheless - the race is on!

Molly and Ben share little in common. Both have scars buried deep from their childhood. Ben lost his parents tragically at a young age, now exhausted from moving from place to place; while Molly was a sickly child feeling unloved and a disappointment to her parents Ben had no siblings, while Molly admired her much older brother and longed for his approval. With private battles of their own, the two diverse competitors go through intense and humorous battles while chasing the bait dangled before them. This becomes a captivating story about rival, romance, and reward.

Molly indeed has a quilter’s heart….soft and quiet…and as complex as a quilted design. With sensitivity toward the downtrodden, she spent many hours as a compassionate volunteer. Molly’s faith in God leads her on a path toward a talent for quilting – the joy of her life. Ben enters the scene with unknowns – and his personality, likes and dislikes seem to come in sporadic revealing throughout the story. He is due for a valuable lesson in more than quilting from Nora and the women of Molly’s Christian quilting group. What surprised me was the rapport between Molly and Ben….helping each other behind the scenes…until sabotage happened, derailing the trust and budding romance between them, each believing the other had been dishonest and manipulative. Ben and Molly truly become rivals….until the intervention of God, family, friends, and other characters to reveal the saboteur and change the whole game.

Ms. Randel’s story would appeal to any age group. Her writing is clean, fun, thoughtful and even a bit intriguing. Script was slow and repetitive at times, but so is real life. Personally, I felt the background details about the protagonists were more vital to my enjoyment of the book than the competition. At my age, perhaps it is less about the romance and more about the characters “whys” of their decisions. My fulfillment is when God has led to the making of the right decisions. My gratitude goes to Tara Randel for penning the best in the genre I enjoy reading.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for an honest review.

By Barbara Shelton | Jul 11, 2014 | Category > Article >Writing | Comments | Views 15923

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