Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
L.B. Dunbar’s newest book of the Heart series, Look with Your Heart, asks the important question: where does beauty lie? Over and over again in this book, you are hit with this message that the character and soul of a person are always more beautiful than the outside, and Dunbar carefully constructs a story that uses that message to tug at your heart.
There’s this interesting shift in Dunbar’s story. Ethan, her hero, and Ella, her heroine, at the beginning of the story quite frankly are difficult to like. For one, Ethan’s choices as he meets his employer are unwise and careless. I found that to be an interesting choice for Dunbar at the beginning and questioned her intent. However, as the story progresses, Ethan becomes one of the best parts of Look with Your Heart. He becomes more careful with his words and actions, more intentional. He shows a level of empathy that seems contrary to the man at the beginning of the story, and he IS the impetus for the journey of Dunbar’s heroine. He is your prototypical swoony Dunbar hero, and his journey is no less important than Ella’s, her heroine. By the story’s end, Ethan replaced Jess and Leon as my favorite Heart series hero. There is an emotional depth to him that seems hidden at the beginning of the book and unleashed by its end.
The star of this book, however, is Dunbar’s heroine. The main message of this romance lies in Ella’s journey. I won’t divulge her secrets because I don’t want to ruin the story, but Dunbar deftly crafts her evolution in such a way as to make you hate her, then love her, then question her, and finally fall for her. You feel this emotional pull to her because her story is relevant and important. Even more, her emotional growth is a difficult one, creating the tension of the story. In her lies all of the peaks and valleys of this story, and you can’t help but want a happy ending for Ella and Ethan.
Finally, there is a little suspense in this story sprinkled into this romance. Dunbar is careful in its plotting. I think she resolves it in perfect time, but the story falls off at its resolution and she leaves us with more story in other areas. That being said, the choices for her characters feel like real life, and I loved the inclusion of past characters such as Jess and Emily and Tricia and Leon. However, Dunbar also treats us to characters who are forthcoming in her next Heart series story. There is definitely more of Elk Lake City coming our way.
As we live in a society that honors outward beauty through venues such as social media, it’s important to remember that beauty can only be skin-deep in some people. Instead, L.B. Dunbar reminds us in Look with Your Heart that true beauty is found in the soul. There is an allusion to a recipe in this story that connects to the idea that we all hold secrets or parts of our character inside. Whether we want to share that through loving another is entirely up to us.
In love and romance,