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**Spoiler Free Review**

An Optimists Guide to Heartbreak (Book #1) and A Pessimists Guide to Love (Book #2) 

Our Review

Heartsong: “The expression of a person’s inner essence, underlying identity, and reason for existence.”

The Heartsong Duet, An Optimist’s Guide to Heartbreak, and A Pessimist’s Guide to Love by Jennifer Hartmann landed on our kindles and we dove straight in. This is one of our must-read Authors’ as she never fails to draw our hearts and souls into her world with her intense and passionate storytelling, her wonderfully complex characters, and her heart-wrenching storylines.

‘We feel imminent. Fated. Two live wires dodging and deflecting until the only thing left to do is combust.’

Well, The Heartsong Duet is one massive angst fest with so much emotion our hearts felt battered by the end. We went through a myriad of emotions as our hearts went through the wringer reading Lucy and Cal’s love story.

‘He told me I made him sad in a good way, and I didn’t know what that meant. Now, I think I know. I think I get it. Things that make us sad aren’t all bad. Sometimes, sad things serve as a gentle reminder that we still feel.’

The theme of this duet is loss, grief, friendship, and love. It’s a story of heartbreak, compassion, perseverance, and hope. Of overcoming everything in life which can break you and finding the light in the darkness. It’s quite the journey, a slow-building story of acceptance and healing, with tremendous angst but low on unnecessary drama. It’s actually quite an endearing and sweet story as well at times, breaking up the heaviness when needed. The Heartsong Duet is completely character driven which we loved; the depth of the characters and the emotional intricacies of the story is all-encompassing.

“Love can be a fulfilling, enchanting thing, but it can be a thief, too. It can drain you, suck you dry, strip you bare. I decided that I would never give it a taste. It wasn’t worth it.”

Lucy is quite the darling, she’s a bit of a scatterbrain and has no filter. She did make us laugh a few times, especially in book one, which is mostly told from Lucy’s pov. She wears her heart on her sleeve and what a heart of pure gold it is! She’s a beautiful character, inside out! At times we did have to remind ourselves that she’s only twenty-two and has had such tragedy and hardship in her young life, as she came across as a tad naive and clueless at times.

‘His body heat is sunshine on my skin. His breath is new life, filling me from the inside out. And his words, his words—They are everything.’
“I’m so fucking sorry, angel.”

Cal is the grumpy to Lucy’s sunshine. Cal and Emma lived next to Lucy when they were kids, and the two girls were inseparable. BFF’s forever! Young Lucy had the biggest crush on Cal, a crush that later turned into love. However when tragedy strikes they lose touch for nine long years. Cal is unrecognisable in so many ways when Lucy finds him again, but her heart instantly recognises his and all her feelings awaken once again. Their bond, whilst indestructible, is threatened by all that has happened and their respective personal fear of what may come. Their surviving thread of young love must withstand so much and the threat of breakage is constant as adults.

‘Cal says he won’t love me, and it’s not because he can’t. He’s afraid to love because he’s afraid to lose. Once you lose something precious, it changes you. Sometimes you hold onto things too tightly and they crumble in your hands, and sometimes you don’t hold on to them at all. At the end of the day, you’re still losing.’

At times we wanted to give Cal a kick up the arse but at the same time, we fully understood his guilt and perpetual fear. In book two, A Pessimist’s Guide to Love, we hear more of Cal’s voice and quickly comprehend how this man is literally drowning by his own destructive hand, unable to rid himself of the powerful hold his tragic past has on him. Too scared to accept light and happiness back into his life, only to lose all hope again.

‘All I’ve wanted to do is protect her, keep her safe, keep her close, but sickly desperation and remnants of past trauma have turned my effort into destruction.’

Memories are powerful entities that can make or break you, you can get lost and be drawn into the darkness of what you’ve lost or you can love what you had and hold the wonderful memories close in your heart. Sometimes the hardest thing is to live after a loss, but to live is to love and love should always win. Love can make your heart soar with hope, but love can also make you feel utterly hopeless.

“Home…That’s what you remind me of. That’s what you’ve always reminded me of.”

Synopsis

Dear Diary,

There once was a girl with fireflies in her eyes and music in her soul.

(Remember her… she’s important.)

She’s the reason I panic-bought the little brick house on Maple Street; the one I lived next door to for eight magical years. Now that I’m back digging up floorboards and lost journals, I can’t stop thinking about the two people who grew up here.

You see, that girl was my best friend, and this house was once hers. She also had a big brother who was my everything before circumstance turned us into nothing more than memories.

That’s why I applied for a job at his auto shop—unprepared to discover that my new boss, Cal Bishop, is now gruff, built, and covered in tattoos.

I’m the sun to his overcast sky. The smile to his surly solitude.

A reminder of everything he longs to forget.

But my heart has a secret, and we’re running out of time to fix our torn pages.

Maybe the same girl who used to be the glue still holds the key to putting our pieces back together.

(See? I told you she was important.)

Toodles,
Lucy

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COLLEEN HOOVER captured our hearts back in 2011 with her unique, warm, funny, sweet, and utterly captivating stories. Our love affair with this incredibly talented author has never waned. Colleen is one in a million!

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