Reviewed by Tori
One True Heart is about trust, forgiveness, and working through the past in order to have a future. Six lives are intertwined through chance when four people are lured to Harmony and find themselves embroiled in a mystery. The story starts out strong as we meet each character and learn their backstory.
Captain Millanie McAllen and Drew Cunningham have both experienced and survived life altering tragedies. Harmony offers them a chance to hide and heal without anyone divulging too deeply into their pasts. A chance meeting between them leads to a possible future if they can learn to trust each other.
Johnny Wheeler and Kare Cunningham have both been disappointed by those who should have loved them unconditionally. Left alone in the world, neither of them were looking for love but are pleasantly surprised when a dreamer and the realist form a connection.
Beau Yates left Harmony years ago and has now returned a famous musician. He and Lark used each other as teenagers to escape their problems but when he discovers she’s the local bank’s VP, he wonders if the girl he knew is still worth the trouble he always wanted.
I’ve been a fan of Thomas’s Harmony series from the first book, Welcome to Harmony. A small town contemporary series that follows the descendants of the town’s three founding families. Romance, suspense, intrigue, heartbreak, and laughter all blend together to offer readers a window into the lives and loves of this town. In the beginning, the series focused on Reagan Truman and her life. Since then, Thomas has expanded her world and intertwined other character’s storylines, giving readers a never ending story in which to lose themselves. Because of the soap opera style set up, I don’t recommend you start the series here. Though each book introduces new couple(s), it also proceeds to advance the lives of various other couples from other books with the assumption you are intimately familiar with their lives.
I will admit this particular installment was a miss for me. I mourned the sense of comradery, gossip-y nature, and humor that has been a strong selling point of the series for me. Some previous characters make cameo appearances, letting us know what’s been going on, but their interactions felt forced. I felt a sense of rush in the weak conflict development, random plot lines, unusual character development, and an incomplete ending. Each “romance” seems to only touch upon the concept without really divulging too deep into it. It’s all very linear. There was no anticipation. Thomas never promises an HEA in every book. Some stories require multiple books to work out all the issues but if I hadn’t read the other seven books, I would have thought each of these couples (with the except of Beau and Lark) had some history together. So much seems skimmed over in the rush to get to the end.
Millanie and Drew have an instant connection from moment they meet but I never bought the attraction. Their chemistry and communication skills were severely lacking, dragging out the conflict. Millanie gets upset because Drew avoids her questions about his past but she herself isn’t truthful with him. Also, Millanie is very judgemental of Drew-thinking of him as boring, unattractive, and most likely to never be noticed. For someone whose entire career was based on her ability to notice things I was constantly amazed by her inability to see him.
Beau and Lark had to be the strangest couple in the book. Having met as teenagers, Lark (Trouble) used to come find Beau and they would lose themselves as they raced the back roads in her little red convertible. Having been always attracted to her, Beau knew he had to find his own way before he could be a “couple” with anyone. Years pass and he is pleased to see her again but dismayed by her obvious lack of interest. I was intrigued by the blurb that hinted at a dark secret that might keep them apart but we never learned what the secret was. Or maybe I’m obtuse and missed it. Not having Lark’s POV hurts because we never really learn what exactly her issues were in the past or now when it comes to a relationship with Beau.
Johnny and Kare were the life of the book. Cute and funny, their scenes together come off like a vaudeville act. At times Kare’s naivete tried my nerves and I really wished she didn’t feel the need to hide her intelligence. Of all the romances, this one had th most potential. We see the progression from friendship to more as Kare helps Johnny while he’s in jail. Of course, when Johnny makes his feelings known, Kare is uninterested. Then a few chapters later they are a couple. I think. I’m not sure because we never see what makes Kare change her mind about Johnny. And that was the cusp of the whole book. So much is told and not much is seen. Things have a way of working themselves out right after we are told they have no chance of working out.
An interesting mystery touches all three couples as Millanie works to discover a terrorist supposedly hiding in Harmony. Random acts of violence proves they are close and it’s only when they all work together are they able to bring them to justice. The ending is abrupt and leaves us hanging there, wondering what just happened. Nothing is really resolved in any of the storylines-the book just ends with a feeling of “we’ll see.” I felt as thought this was an introduction book to a new major storyline as the previous long running arc was resolved in the last book. I’m hoping this is just an anomaly and the next book will revert back to the greatness I am used to from Ms. Thomas. A brief look into the new story which is scheduled to appear later this year in an anthology looks promising.