April 1, 2010

Review of "The Circle of Friends, Book V: Heather" by L. Diane Wolfe

Synopsis:  When confidence turns to frustration…

A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings. The position at Clemson means she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball. Heather is ready to focus on her duties, using sheer force if necessary to prove her independence.

Sadly, her triumph is hampered as father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of responsibility or achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player who resembles her in every manner challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience.

Heather’s life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him, and despite his gruff nature shows a great capacity for compassion. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

This was my first book by author (and motivational speaker) L. Diane Wolfe.  I have not read any of the previous books in this young adult series but Ms. Wolfe stressed that I could pick up Book V without a problem.  And she was right.

While the main character in this book, Heather, was introduced in the earlier books (along with supporting characters we meet), enough background information and character descriptions are given so that this book can be a stand alone in and of itself. 

Interestingly enough, I wasn't sure that I liked Heather for the first third of even half of the book.  I found her frustrating but she kept me interested and I never lost focus of the story.  It came to me like a lightening bolt that Heather acted quickly, foolishly and without thinking at times because she was in her early to mid-twenties and she was very independent (or trying to be).  In other words, very much like myself at that age.  Once I was hit over the head with this literary 2x4, I understood Heather completely.  She is definitely, to quote Ms. Wolfe, "ornery".  She's argumentative and she's competitive.  However, she is an excellent role model for teen girls who want to excel in sports and who strive to be independent.

Book V: Heather showcases just enough basketball (Heather's passion) to delight sports fans and athletes and yet not so much that sports novices would be overwhelmed or puzzled.  I particularly enjoyed Heather's relationship with her parents, as it seemed very realistic and well written.  In fact, I felt I would like her family if I met them and each member reminded me of my own family or a friend's family.

The cancer storyline is the "heavy" of the book but it's thoughtfully written, without unnecessary trauma.

The romantic portion of the story, with Heather most certainly meeting her match, is somewhat predictable to this mother of a teenager but I still appreciated watching her relationship with Mark progress and how both of them, not just Heather, made subtle and not so subtle changes in order to accomodate their growing feelings. 

The strongest part of the book is Ms. Wolfe's ability to convey a message of strength and perseverance through her writing.  Heather has many obstacles to overcome during the course of this book, ones that many of us face, and she tackles them and reacts in a fashion that is best described as brutally honest.

The message received from Book V: Heather  is that life is going to throw you some curve balls and it sure isn't fair but you will emerge stronger and know yourself better.

I would recommend The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather to readers of all ages who want a good, strong story, with a positive role model, and who want to be encouraged and feel satisfied at the end of the book. 

To read a guest post by author L. Diane Wolfe and character Heather Jennings, go HERE

The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather may be purchased at major booksellers, including Amazon Heather (The Circle of Friends, Book 5), Barnes & Noble at at author L. Diane Wolfe's website

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher at the author's request in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.



D Swizzle said...

I've heard some pretty positive things about this series,so maybe ill pick it up. Thanks for the rec!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I felt the same way. Great review!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Fantastic review darling!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you so much, Lori! Sorry I didn't catch this sooner.

And we tend to forget what impulsive creatures we were at that age, don't we?