Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-109-X
Contemporary Romance, 2000
Here’s an interesting plot. Tarrant Cole believes that the folks at Papa Jack Bar are responsible for his beloved sister’s car crash. As poor Amber Cole lies in coma – and she will face manslaughter charges should she wake, so sleep tight, Amber dear – he seeks vengeance on the owner of Papa Jack, Jack Harmon.
He never counted on (a) the Harmons seeing through his bartender disguise, and (b) Meliah Harmon sending his thingies into a fizzy of hormonal combustion. While looking for evidence of any misdemeanor on the Harmon part, he starts getting torn between family and sweetheart. Oh dear.
Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but What the Heart Knows completely flounders on the following factors.
One, Amber is probably the worst psychotic woman I’ve ever read in a book. A liar, an irresponsible cheat, a coward, and a nasty woman indeed, yet somehow she manages to hoodwink her brother into believing her as nothing more than a misunderstood wounded puppy. This after their own parents have kicked the woman out of the house. Tarrant Cole looks like a complete fool, if you ask me.
Two, Meliah and her daddy must be the most perfect, wonderful saints in the free wide martyr world. Meliah never make Tarrant grovel for his duplicity. She understands. She loves him, and that’s all that matters. Excuse me while I test my rolling pin on her skull.
Three, Tarrant is a saint. What do one call than a foolish saint? By being so sensitive, so perfect, so nice, his deception becomes magnified tenfold in my opinion, making him even more despicable than should he be a chronic liar. After all, he’s trying to ruin the Harmons out of ignorance, and I believe there’s no sin worse than ignorance. Maybe stupidity and Barney, but that’s a different story.
Saints make the worst liars, because the magnitude of the sense of wrongness of it all makes Tarrant worse than Amber. At the end of the day, hey, forgiveness is the theme. Amber turns out to be another poor misunderstood Lulu, Tarrant gets a loving wife practically without any consequences of his deception, and Meliah remains starry-eyed and oblivious to her man’s machinations.
Definitely not my kind of story at all. Therefore, I have to give this book a thumbs down. What the Heart Knows is a very well-written failure.