Title: Anxious Hearts
Author: Tucker Shaw
Pub. Date: Out Now, 3/2010
Main Themes: Love, Friendship, Loss
Plot (from back of arc):
“Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside town in Maine, tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who lived in the same idyllic woods more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were to be wed, their village was attacked and the two were seperated. And now, in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.
A dreamlike tale of romance and unrequited love inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic love poem “Evangeline,” ANXIOUS HEARTS avows that, even when lost somewhere on life’s journey, true love can be found and there is a way home again.”
ANXIOUS HEARTS left me lovestruck. It is a relatively short novel, but it pulled me in completely and had an almost cinematic quality.
I will admit to liking the present day parts of the novel narrated by Eva better than the ones set in the past and narrated by Gabriel. I liked the epic quality of Gabriel and Evangeline’s story, but I didn’t feel particularly connected to those two characters. Plus, Gabriel was a little bit too intense for my tastes. I appreciated the fact that his love for Evangeline drove him to such great lengths, but his interest in her before he even knew her bordered on obsession. On the other hand, I found Eva and Gabe’s story almost comforting. Their passionate, sudden relationship began in high school, which I find very true to life. Many high school relationships flare to life suddenly and burn brightly. The difference between most high school relationships and Eva and Gabe’s is that, even after losing one another for quite some time, their love survived.
In the years that Gabe is absent from Eva’s life, she does not wither away or pull away from life. Gabriel, on the other hand, nearly died in his quest to regain his beloved Evangeline. I’m glad that Shaw wrote Eva as a strong character who carried on with life even after losing the love of her life. Eva does go through a difficult time after Gabe goes missing, but she eventually puts the shattered pieces of her life back together and forges on. I think that is a wonderful message to send, especially in a novel that could easily take the route of lovers falling apart when seperated. I like that Eva could be a girl in love and still be resilient.
I love the colors of ANXIOUS HEARTS’ cover. They remind me of autumn, which has long been my favorite season. I imagine that it is Evangeline on the cover, rather than Eva. I think it will look beautiful on the bookstore shelves – and my own shelf!