Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
How do you move beyond your hurts? How do you find a way to live life again after trauma? Garrett Leigh’s Heartscape seeks to answer these questions with the one answer that makes sense: to love and be loved. Heartscape tells the story of Vino & Veritas’s resident manager, Tanner. We find out in an earlier V&V book that Tanner needs a job as a way to save him from himself. In that book, nothing is divulged about his past, but he takes to managing the wine bar side of V&V even though his wine proficiency is low. Add in a hero such as Jax, who like Tanner, is fleeing from his past decisions. When these two meet, it is instant combustibility, even though they deny it to the other for some time. As each reveals their secrets, they find that their burgeoning love might be the only thing that saves them from their pasts and launches them into forever.
I appreciated the overall message of Leigh’s story. It’s clear that Tanner and Jax are stuck, even though they are moving forward. However, they aren’t settled or at peace until they meet each other. I love how they feel more complete together than apart, especially as Tanner works through his past trauma.
My struggles with Heartscape came through its style. The way in which Leigh puts words together made the story feel dense and, sometimes, informal. The progression of the story felt heavy in the way that Leigh placed the words on the page. I liked Jax, and I was drawn to Tanner, but there was something missing at an emotional level for me.
Overall, as a new Vino & Veritas offering, Garrett Leigh’s Heartscape grapples with trauma and the veracity of love to overcome it. If you’ve been reading the World of True North stories, then you’ll want to grab Tanner’s for sure.
In love and romance,