The Artisan Heart
Central Avenue Publishing
Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette.
When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.
A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.
As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.
Another soul-destroying event beckoned – paediatrician Hayden Luschcombe was exhausted from his relentless shift but knew his wife would expect him to be there on time. Well, THAT wasn’t going to happen. The look on Bernadette’s face when he finally arrived was not a surprise to Hayden – rather it was the norm. But it was the shocking discovery after another shattering day that spurred Hayden into action. His life wasn’t his own anymore; there was nothing in Adelaide to keep him there and the home he’d known all his life in the little Victorian town of Walhalla felt like a sanctuary.
The little cottage had collected dust and started to fall apart in the three years since his father had passed, but Hayden decided to fix the house that he remembered fondly from his childhood. His mother would be sad to see the state of her beloved garden – Hayden had nothing else to do, and the work would keep his mind away from the past…
A little girl began hanging around Hayden’s cottage – it turned out that she was deaf and the daughter of Isabelle Sampi, another memory from Hayden’s past. But Genevieve was a clever, gifted child and adorable as well – Hayden became friendly with both Genevieve and her mother, who was starting up her own bakery. Her bread and other treats were divine; she was popular with the townsfolk.
But there was danger looming. What would be the outcome for the town; for both Isabelle and Hayden who both had secrets in their pasts?
The Artisan Heart by Aussie author Dean Mayes is a gentle and tenuous romance, threaded with suspense, tension and a tumultuous past. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and loved the character of Genevieve; her stubborn and determined interactions by signing with those around her and her devotion and love of her mother. Romantic suspense at its best! A highly recommended 5 star read.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for my honest review.