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Romance

Read The Heart Principle

Read The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out f…

Forcing this story to serve as a romance was a disservice to the story and characters. I think it should have been written solely from Anna’s perspective and marketed more as chick lit. It would have allowed for the end of the book to be fleshed out, and more time given to Anna’s self growth and recovery. By shoehorning this complex and painful story into romance structure, it made a failed romance novel and failed literary novel because the romance was given short shrift, Quan didn’t get enough development, and Anna’s true problems weren’t confronted on page: her abusive family, harmful people pleasing, obsessive perfectionism, and self judgment.

It was clearly a deeply personal and hard story to tell. I wish the publisher had let the author write this outside of her usual genre and keep it separate from the main series. There was more I wanted from Anna’s story, so much resolution needed that became a brief outline — honestly, I suspect they were too close to the author to write as she did her experience caretaking.

As a romance, I wasn’t convinced their relationship was deep or strong enough yet to last Anna’s ordeal with her family. It pained me to see her so passive for so long, to sacrifice her agency for so much of the book and do harm to others to protect herself from the pain of responsibility for saying no, putting her own need to be liked and to do what others want above those she loves, to oblige only her abusers and let those who treat her well suffer from her obeisance. I also was unsatisfied with her capitulation at the end, that her reconciliation was neither earned nor sufficient to the harm she did.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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