Thursday, April 25, 2013

REVIEW: Deep in the Heart
by Staci Stallings

Genre: Christian Romance
Pub Date: September 2011, Spirit Light
Format: eBook (Nook)
Source: Purchased from
Just out of college and completely alone in the world, Maggie Montgomery has one shot left to save her life from an abyss of poverty and hopelessness. Clinging to the last shred of fuel and hope, she arrives at the mansion of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayers. Although Maggie is clearly not what Mr. Ayers and his wife have in mind for a nanny, they agree to hire her temporarily until they can find someone more appropriate to fill the position. However, Maggie’s whole world is about to be up-ended by two way-over-scheduled children and one incredibly handsome hired hand. As she struggles to fit into a world she was never made to fit in, Maggie wonders if she can ever learn to become a perfect version of herself so she can keep the job, or is she doomed to always be searching for a life she can never quite grasp?


Though I generally prefer Christian historical fiction, every once in awhile I will go for a contemporary romance. This one caught my eye, not only because I really liked the cover, but I also have a penchant for stories set in the West. While Stallings is less subtle in her use of Christian themes, prayer, and Biblical passages than a lot of the Christian fiction I read, those elements were not too over the top for my tastes. Overall, I thought Deep In The Heart had an interesting plot and Stallings was very adept at developing the storyline and keeping the pace moving right along.

Maggie's life story and her position in the Ayer household made for an intriguing story -- thanks in large part to the strangeness of the Ayer household! In addition to an adeptly written plot, Stallings provided a lot of strong character development, both with the focal characters (Maggie and Keith), and with some of the more minor characters (Conrad and his wife, among others). There's also the obligatory shrew, but I really can't say more than that without giving away a major part of the plot that isn't included in the synopsis, and you know how I hate to give spoilers! Just know there is a lot more to this story than you're led to believe when you read the blurb, and because of that, anticipation will keep you turning the pages until you reach the end.

In the end, the biggest flaw with this book is the writing. It wasn't so much a case of typos, but more along the lines of occasional awkward phrasing. Additionally, the dialogues needed to be improved with more descriptors used so that the reader would be clear as to who was speaking. I had to re-read a couple of different passages to make sure I knew who was saying what to make sense of what was going on. One more round of editing would have helped to eliminate these issues and really tighten up the writing. Even so, Deep In The Heart was a relatively quick read that was generally engaging and had a satisfying conclusion.
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Read this book...
  • If you enjoy contemporary Christian Fiction/Romance
  • If you liked My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade (This one isn't quite as good, but I don't have a lot of contemporary Christian fiction to compare it to -- I usually go for historical fiction.)

 Deep in the Heart


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