Initially I wasn’t going to request Fearless at Heart because I have too many arcs and I am struggling to get reviews written right now. But then I saw a tweet about the book that said “he eats!” (iykyk). I decided I could fit in one more arc. And let that be a lesson to me about how I get people to read the books I want them to read.
Plentitude of oral sex aside, Fearless at Heart is a sweet second chance romance. Seth and January were an under the radar couple in high school. We don’t know a whole lot about their prior relationship beyond a few discussions and remembrances. We get a few pieces of information, but Seth and January are more focused on the present, which I loved.
There are no hard feelings and both feel like they made the best choices they could, but there are regrets. As teens they both had dreams that involved leaving Pine Harbor and each other, and they made choices to facilitate those dreams. Seth has largely cut himself off from Pine Harbor, while January came back and is a teacher at the high school.
York navigates her characters through layered small town and familial relationships with respect. Seth’s brother is the Principle at the school where January teaches, and Seth knows without being told that he needs to enforce the boundary between Will his brother and Will January’s boss. January is taking care of her niece and nephew while their mother is on a tour of duty. Seth makes himself available to help, first as a friend of the family. Even when they are hurt and angry with each other, they commit to maintaining their friendship and Seth’s relationship with the kids is maintained.
Towards the end of their senior year in high school, when Seth was getting ready to join the RCAF and January was getting ready to go to college, they realized January was pregnant and chose to have an abortion. As adults, 20 years later, there is sadness around the choice, but no regret. It was the right choice for them at that time and they had the right to make that choice.
CWs – past teen pregnancy, past parental death, military service, financial struggle
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley. My opinions are my own and freely given.