OF ALL THE BOOKS I could have pulled from the “new fiction” section at Buckham Memorial Library, I chose, among others, one by a Minnesotan. But not until I was several chapters into the book did I flip to the back pages for information about the author, Barbara A. Luker.
I was delighted to learn that Luker hails from St. Peter, a college town in the Minnesota River Valley some 40 miles west of Faribault. To discover another Minnesota writer always pleases me. Luker works full-time for the City of St. Peter and is fairly new to writing books.
It was the title and the simple cover art—a small cut-out heart-shaped cookie next to a larger one—that first drew my eye to I Carry Your Heart. I bake similar plain heart-shaped cookies from my mom’s Cream Cheese Roll-out Cookies recipe each Valentine’s Day. Yes, cover art and titles matter to me given all the books out there. And this art connected to me personally.
Then I turned to the back cover for the story summary. The plot sounded interesting enough to add the book to those already stashed inside my cloth Boomerang bag reserved for library check-outs. I Carry Your Heart, a title taken from e.e. cummings’ poem of the same name, is, as you might guess, a love story. And, yes, there’s romance, a genre I don’t typically read and which made me blush.
This book is truly a tender, multi-layered love story. Not only of romantic love, but also of family love and community love and the sacrifices sometimes made for love.
This is a generational story that takes the reader back in time to reveal secrets kept by Abigail Lillian Peterson Ward. When she dies unexpectedly, her granddaughter, whom Abigail appointed to sort through her belongings, uncovers another side, another truth about her Nan.
The story felt somewhat predictable to me. Yet there were enough twists to surprise me at times and certainly to hold my interest to the end.
I appreciate also the Minnesota influence in the writing. The author shows her roots, for example, in the fictional town described as like a Norman Rockwell painting by one character. In my mind I pictured Luker’s hometown of St. Peter. I could also envision the church ladies serving a luncheon after Abigail’s funeral and the turkey commercials served in her restaurant. Both are, oh, so Minnesotan (although I’m more familiar with a beef commercial). Details like that add authenticity.
All in all, I Carry Your Heart proved a good read, even if in a genre I don’t typically choose.
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
sounds like you stepped out of your comfort zone, and right into a book and author that brought you an unexpected sense of place and connection
I will have to put this one on my reading list. CravesDad loves a good beef (try it w/corned beef – my fav) or turkey commercial and the bread along with the meat quality and the mashed potatoes and gravy matter or no good. He loves a good smothered biscuits and gravy too. Nothing like comfort food! Thanks for introducing your readers to another great author and a Minnesota author too. Happy Reading – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂
I’m always looking for MN authors. This state has many talented writers. Thanks for sharing about CravesDad.
It’s nice to break out of the normal genre every once in awhile. 😊
That it is.
I appreciate your book reviews, I too don’t usually pick romance, but would read if recommended by a friend. An interesting fact about me is that I like to choose books by their covers, THAT is what always draws me. I then will read the info about the book to be sure it sounds like something I would read. I may have to add this one to my reading list.
Same thing here. First choose by cover, if the author/book is unknown. Next, read the summary. Third, decide then if I want to read the book. Sometimes I will read the first page also before deciding.
sounds about right!