3 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of El Corazón Sabe by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
English teacher Leah Roberts grew up in the barrio, so she’s no stranger to gangs and violence. But when she’s caught in the middle of gunfire and seriously wounded, she becomes a shell of the woman she once was. Starting her life over in Iowa with her best friend is the perfect solution. Leah accepts a teaching position at a new school where she doesn’t exactly fit in, and on her first day a goofy science teacher literally bumps his way into her life. She doesn’t think Donovan could be her type, and they both have demons to overcome, but perhaps Leah has finally found her place in this world so far away from everything she’s ever known.
El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows is book one in a planned trilogy, but it can be read as a standalone book. This book focuses on the background of both main characters and their budding romance while they each overcome their issues. Although there was instant attraction, the pace of the romance felt natural with both characters taking their time to get to know the other before entering a serious relationship. I appreciated the contrast between cultures and races and also how Leah had to adapt to life in small town Iowa.
Unfortunately, much of the story fell flat for me. The characters were one-dimensional. Leah went from a successful, outgoing teacher to the bottom of a bottle and a dark closet, and then pretty quickly picked herself back up and went back to where she started. Although she had some lingering issues, that part of the plot didn’t feel very well fleshed out. Donovan was either happy and goofy or sad and guilty about his wife who passed away with nothing else to round out his characterization.
The writing style left some things to be desired as well. The story moved a little too slowly for my taste, and many scenes felt like bits of dialogue with a lot of telling instead of action. There were some inconsistencies, and the plot could have used a little more focus outside the blossoming relationship.
The story has a good base, but just didn’t hold my attention as much as I would have liked.