Saturday, August 25, 2012

Five Star Reviews Are In For "Heart of the Ozarks"

Heart of the Ozarks reviews – three five star/crown, one more positive



Review Companies

MR Review
Reviewer: Alberta

Twenty years ago, a young boy spent summers at a bungalow camp with his family and stayed fast friends with the owners’ daughter, Maggie. When he went away to college, they lost touch with each other. Now Cole has demons to conquer, and Maggie has her own troubles, as Cole seeks her out at the camp, wanting to heal from his grief.

Will it be possible for these two to find each other and rekindle the teenage love they once felt?

I have read several of Murphy’s books and always love her rich characterizations, her endless ability to make the reader ‘see’ what she sees in the gorgeous landscapes of the Ozarks where she lives, along with her lovely story telling. I loved Cole and Maggie, and their story is tender and touching in Heart of the Ozarks. Keep up the good work Lee Ann.

Heart of the Ozarks by LeeAnn Sontheimer-Murphy is beautiful second chance romance between two young lovers who haven't seen each other in almost 20 years. With likable characters and sharp dialogue, Ms. Murphy captured my attention from the first page and didn't let go until the end. The emotional journey both primary characters, Cole and Maggie, undertake is full of heartbreak, sorrow and then hope. Watching their re-kindled friendship and then romance come back to life was a joyful experience. Part of the reason I wanted to review this book is because it's set in my home state and I've visited the Branson area several times, Ms. Murphy did a wonderful job capturing both the tourist attraction and small town vibe the area is known for and reading this book was somewhat of a stay home mini-vacation.


Cole Celinksi is a man who's lost everything; his wife and three kids perished in a car accident, which he feels guilty for. Torn between guilt and loss, he's barely managed to keep his head above water. When Cole is placed on a mandatory leave of absence from his job - he decides to head to Lake Taneycomo and the cabin where he enjoyed spending his summers as a child with his grandparents. He knows he needs to make some changes and grieve for his family, but he never counted on an old friend helping him regain his zest for life.


Maggie Brown remembers her childhood friend and first sweetheart but isn't prepared for the changed man Cole has become. Determined to help an old friend she hasn't seen in years, Maggie encourages Cole to release his pain and enjoy the time he's been given away from work. Maggie knows a lot about pain and loss, she never planned on becoming a single mother or running the Lake Dreams Resort after her parents retired. As Maggie helps Cole regain his zest for life and love, she rediscovers her love for her childhood friend.


As Maggie and Cole become closer, Cole is able to let go of the pain and guilt which has taken over his life. As he bonds with Maggie's kids, Keifer and Kaitlin, Cole begins to dream of a future with a new family. When tragedy strikes, will the love Cole and Maggie have be enough to help them through the dark period they have to experience? You;ll have to read Heart of the Ozarks to find out. I loved this story and I'm looking forward to reading more of Ms. Murphy's work.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns


 Review: 5 Stars

After the loss of his whole family in a tragic accident Cole Celinksi was on a path of self destruction. His manager insisted he need to take a 3 month vacation to get to grips with the loss and grief for his wife and 3 children. He booked a place where he knew he found peace, a resort next to Lake Taneycomo in the Ozarks where he spend every summer holiday with his grand parents.

He met Maggie and her two teenagers, now running the run down resort that used to belong to her parents. After they realized that the old feelings were still lingering Maggie and her kids helped him to adjust to the new live without his kids who meant the world to him. He had to admit to Maggie that his wife was unhappy in the marriage and requested a divorce a month before the accident. He knew his marriage was over and he did not cry much about his estranged wife but his kids was a whole different matter. Every where they go in the small town and confronted with kids he zoned out and Maggie struggled to get him back. Her calm influence on him was good since he did not run to the bottle to curb the anxiety but found peace in her arms. her children accepting him as part of the family and soon he helped out on the resort doing maintenance work Maggie could not managed.

The mundane things keeping him grounded and brought him back to what were important in his life. He had to made decisions about his future. Go back to the city life or stay at her side. An old city friend at the end helped him to make that decision being confronted with old scorns that he detested. He knew he could not return to that life again. His troubled indigestion problems gave him a hard time and almost cost him his life. Why he never went to a doctor is beyond me. Maggie's premonitions also gave the story a bit of a edge although I thought it was dragged out to long.

The plot of the story was very mellow and at times had a dragging edge with all the small stuff inserted but at the end the author managed to kept my interest peeked. A few spelling mistakes, the kind that you mistakenly punched the wrong key(smile) and a few cups of coffee later I enjoyed the story as the main character evolved in a man that faced his loss, cope with it the best he could [since it would not really be all over] and reached out for help in the form of a loving woman. The steamy scenes was also more mild than steamy but enough to keep the momentum going.

To start over is never easy but when you have understanding people around you that is willing to help you, you can make it. It is possible and this came out strongly in the story line.

Overall a good story.

At first I wanted to give it 4 Stars but the Trailer changed my mind. I have watched the book trailer on Youtube. The music and images all working together so that you could get the mellow feeling of the country and the new life Cole has chosen. The setting is adventurous and welcoming to a hurting soul.

Well done!

Cole is a mess, having lost his wife and three kids. He begins to feel rejuvenated as as he catches back up with Maggie, the one who had gotten away when they were kids. She is his true other half. She is also a widow and has two kids. The odds of these two lost loves reuniting is high, though both being available due to death is a random coincidence. Perhaps the fates meant it to be that way. They had both suffered unimaginable loss, even though they were estranged from their partners. No one else could quite understand it the way that they do.

I felt like their relationship got too heavy too fast in some respects. At the same time, they were old flames that never died out. Cole is more mourning the loss of his children as opposed to a lost companion. Maggie and Cole fit together like two pieces of a puzzle, so their connection was to be expected.

The story focuses a lot on the two of them rediscovering each other. There are a few instances where Cole is reflecting on what he has lost. In some ways, I would have liked to have read more of that, though it could have taken away from the romance aspect of the novel.

Instead of dwelling on every minute detail, I appreciated how Lee Ann would skim over several days with a summary, to show the passage of time. I did feel like a lot of it was predictable, but it still helped to pass time during a very long car ride.


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