Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I’m hosting author Linda Griffin’s latest release Reluctant Hearts, a contemporary romance.  Be sure to read my review.  And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.


Title: Reluctant Hearts
Serie: N/A
Author: Linda Griffin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2023
Length: 204 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:  Four couples, four stories: Darien Francis and Richard Li meet during a bank robbery, but she’s afraid to love again. Shane Kenniston and Beth Parker are reacquainted years after she had a crush on him, but she is a recent widow, and Shane’s life was upended by a false accusation. David Early and Kate Howard meet in the laundromat, but her life is consumed by the needs of her disabled child, and David isn’t ready for the responsibility. Realtor Frank Ellison meets Kayla Barnes at an open house, but a mistaken first impression derails any chance of romance. Can they all overcome the obstacles to love?

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“Kate,” he said, into a pause that had unexpectedly lengthened into a silence, and she turned toward him, smiling a little. Without knowing he was going to, he kissed her. She was warm and willing, and then she murmured, “David,” half in protest, and pulled away.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not you. You’re a very nice guy.”

“It’s all right.”

“I can’t do this right now. My life is complicated enough.”

“I wasn’t trying to complicate your life.”

“No, I know.”

“It’s all right,” he said again. He took her hand. “Relax. There’s no cost or obligation.”


I read and reviewed a previous novel by the author and enjoyed it, so when this novel came up for review, I was in, especially after reading the blurb.

Book One:  Darien is on her way to deposit some money into the bank when a robbery breaks out.  Security guard Richard is called to action.  This was an awesome way to get the couple to meet.  Not that I want anyone to have to experience a bank robbery, but it did draw them together.  What I enjoyed about this short story was the “why” of their reluctance.  Both have scars, and the reader is taken by surprise when we learn why, along with their backstories.  It was a nice twist to the tale.

In such a short time, the characters were well drawn, the dialogue was excellent, and the rapport they built was more than sexual chemistry, it was based on understanding and concern.  A wonderful read.

Book Two:  After the loss of her husband, Beth’s ready to start over again, and she moves into a new apartment.  Who’s sitting outside on the stoop? None other than the hero Shane, who’s keeping some big secrets.

I must say, Shane’s secret blew me away.  Did I think “How gullible are you?”  But considering his headspace at the time, no, he wasn’t thinking clearly, so he wasn’t using all his brain cells, which led him down a dark path of trouble.  Beth shows that trust is key to success with anything.  Trust in yourself.  Trust in another person.  Some might say she’s too trusting.  But I found for her, it worked.  Because it took a huge amount of trust to entangle herself with Shane, and Shane had to learn to trust himself, too.  A great story.

Book Three:  There was something so real about this third story.  Maybe it was the everyday mundane chores or even the mundane places, but this story popped from the e-reader.  There was no insta-love.  Or even insta-lust.  The two simply kept appearing at the laundromat together.  They never talked.  Never acknowledged each other.  But they were aware each was a regular.

The simplicity of the novel made it huge.  Very real.  Kate’s a busy working mom with a sick child.  David is a construction worker with no big backstory of why he’s single.  And is he ready to take on a sick child?  He doesn’t even know how to interact with children.

Their story grabbed me from the start and never let go until the end.  It’s touching, brilliantly written, and full of wonderful characters.

Book Four:  The last book in the novel is two people who get off on the wrong foot.  Kayla, Frank finds, is a bit overbearing.  As for Kayla, since she doesn’t have a POV, I got the impression she found Frank lacking in some areas.  But through Gia, a super-sweet character, the two form a friendship.

The friendship is what grabbed me, since Frank not only befriends Gia but also Gia’s partner Andrea (a famous romance novelist).  Of course this thrusts Frank into Kayla’s life since she is Gia’s former roommate.  He attends weddings and other events with the girls.  But he’s involved in a relationship.  Since he’s looking for marriage, he’s looking to settle, even though he feels Jacqui may not be the woman for him.

I liked how Kayla slowly warmed to Frank after being badly burned in the past by another man.  Frank doesn’t try bring her out of her funk.  He’s simply present, letting Kayla deal with her problem.  I liked this about Frank.  He wasn’t out to be a saviour, but simply a friend with an open ear.

The ending was quite believable since the two spent so much time getting to know each other.

All four stories follow the theme of being reluctant to fall in love again.  They are short but packed with character growth, slow-burn chemistry, and friendship.  Do yourself a favour and get a copy.  The author draws real-life people in a short time frame.


I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.

My earliest ambition was to be a “book maker” and I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” with a plot stolen from a comic book, at the age of six. I broke into print in college with a story in the San Diego State University literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of my magazine publications came after I left the library to spend more time on my writing

My stories, in every length from short shorts to novellas, have been published in numerous journals, including Eclectica, The Binnacle, The Nassau Review, Orbis, and Thema Literary Journal, and I have six novels available from the Wild Rose Press.

Follow Linda:  Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


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11 thoughts on “Linda Griffin – Reluctant Hearts

  1. Audrey Stewart says:

    I can’t wait to read this book.


    1. Thank you, Audrey!


  2. Cali says:

    Great excerpt and giveaway. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cali!


  3. Beatrice LaRocca says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful review of Reluctant Hearts, this collection of stories sounds like a must read for me and I am looking forward to meeting all of the characters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Beatrice!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marianne Judy says:

    Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much, Maggie! What a lovely, thoughtful review!

    Liked by 1 person

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