I read Hearts on a String in two sittings – more or less. The publisher’s summary is below this review, but it’s a bit misleading – as was the prologue – because the novel really doesn’t find its focal point – Holly – until the last 1/4 of the book, if that.
It’s an easy read. And it’s the type of light beach fiction that travels well because, if taken in short bites, the story is repetitious enough to not require the reader to have to go back and try to figure out who everyone is and what each woman’s issues are.
But it’s really convoluted. The plot twists in ways that strained my ability to put aside disbelief. Beginning with a freak, nationwide spring storm that traps five strangers in a luxury Florida hotel suite was hard enough for me to buy, but through in psychics, the FBI, an insider trading scandal and a serial rapist – and I barely had time to swallow one implausibility before being handed the another.
Which is exactly neither here nor there as this type of story is fairly well-received anymore in movies and on television, but the tipping point for me was the man bashing and the stereotyping of women in terms of their relationships and lives. Am I the only married woman in North America who isn’t a desperate housewife? Because the novel is premised on the idea that women are leading quiet lives of desperation ala Betty Freidan. Which, I don’t buy, but I know the idea sells, so perhaps I am not only an anomaly but a freak as well.
If you can get past the first 5 or 6 chapters – which is about how long it takes for the author to set the story up and that’s too long for me – it picks up steam, and the characters start to show more than tell.
Which is my other problem with the book, it tells and tells and tells and by the time it starts showing, readers could easily have put the book down.
There are a lot of strengths. The basic concept of women being stranded and bonding is a good one, and the characters are actually engaging on their own or in pairs, but the lot of the women is a hard one”and women must band together to be free (the latter of which I don’t necessarily disagree with) themes are wielded like blunt instruments, and after a while I was “okay, already, just tell the story”.
I wanted this to be a better novel than it was, which is why I stuck with it. I kept hoping that the screw-ball semi-dramedy/mystery adventure idea would pan into something. It never really does. But I need to emphasis that I am not someone who would pick up “women’s literature” as they now call chick lit without prodding or it being recommended to me. If you are looking for light vacation fare, this could well be your book, so please take a peek at the info below and check out at least one other review. Personally, I never take the word of just one reviewer because reading material is one of those highly personal things and taste, as we all should know by now, is subjective.
About Hearts on a String
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bantam; Original edition (May 25, 2010)
Hearts on a String delves deeply into the emotions of five very different women who are thrown together by chance-only to discover that they have more in common than they ever could have imagined.
Holly Blandeen has always cherished the story her grandmother told her about the thread that connects all women, tying them forever in sisterhood. It’s a beautiful idea, but with all the curveballs life has thrown her way, Holly has often felt isolated, different from other women. That starts to change when she meets four strangers in an airport and they agree to share a luxury hotel suite because a powerful spring storm is barreling across the country, stranding travelers from California to Florida.
What begins as a spur-of-the-moment decision becomes an unlikely, unexpected, and sometimes reluctant exercise in female bonding, as these five exceptional women-each at a crossroads-swap stories, share secrets, and seek answers to the questions they’ve been asking about life, love, and the path to true happiness. A storm may have grounded them for the moment, but after this wild adventure in which anything can and does happen, they’ll never have to fly solo again.
“Kris Radish creates characters that seek and then celebrate the discovery of . . . women’s innate power.”—Denver Post
About Kris Radish
Hearts on a String is Kris Radish’s 7th book. Her Bantam Dell novels THE ELEGANT GATHERING OF WHITE SNOWS, DANCING NAKED AT THE EDGE OF DAWN and ANNIE FREEMAN’S FABULOUS TRAVELING FUNERAL have been on the bestseller and Book Sense 76 Selection lists. She also writes two weekly nationally syndicated columns. Ms. Radish lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.
Connect with Kris:
On her website
On her blog
Kris Radish’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, July 5th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, July 7th: Sashay Magazine
Thursday, July 9th: Scraps of Life
Monday, July 12th: Crazy for Books
Wednesday, July 14th: Simply Stacie
Thursday, July 15th: Rundpinne
Friday, July 16th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, July 19th: Reading at the Beach
Tuesday, July 20th: Lit and Life
Monday, July 26th: Anniegirl1138
Tuesday, July 27th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, July 28th: Along the Way
Monday, August 2nd: My Random Acts of Reading
Wednesday, August 4th: One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
Monday, August 16th: Peeking Between the Pages