Review: Novel 'Heart of a Hero' transcends standard romance

By Sheryl C. S. Johnson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 7 2011 2:57 p.m. MST

"HEART OF A HERO," by Marie Higgins, Brigham Distributing, $16.95, 291 pages (f)

Marie Higgins’ “Heart of a Hero” isn’t a standard flowery romance. While maintaining a quick pace of adventure, this book charms the reader with humor and refreshing banter.

Five years attending her aunt’s finishing school doesn’t stop feisty Summer Bennett from reverting to her tomboy ways when her coach is attacked by bandits on her way home. She’s brave and courageous but still annoying to Deputy Marshal Jesse Slade. She was a burr under his saddle five years ago when she wore pigtails, but his current cause of irritation is that he can’t stop thinking about her.

The plot twists and weaves seamlessly as Jesse and Summer compete to capture a cunning gang of bank robbers. Summer needs the reward money to pay for surgery that could allow her father to walk again, but Jesse keeps thwarting Summer’s plans.

Higgins creates a believable Utah small-town Wild West, complete with gun-toting thugs, devout Christians, old-fashioned values and dusty landscapes. Character development is impressive in both main characters and supporting characters. The tension between Summer and Jesse moves the story forward through flying bullets and racing horses. The last several pages of "Heart of a Hero" are as exciting and unpredictable as the first.

Sheryl C.S. Johnson blogs at www.sherylcsjohnson.blogspot.com

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