Sunday, January 02, 2011

Review: Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Book Description via Goodreads:

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

Source: Abrams Books – Amulet Books, Emma (Thanks!)

My Thoughts:

Shaw’s writing echoed the tone of Longfellow’s Evangeline. The writing was poetic, breathtaking and dramatic. Shaw took a scene and dissected it into different layers if beauty, showing the readers the true meaning of appreciation.

This was more of a show book than a tell book. Shaw knew how to tell a story – less commentary and more on subtle hints of the events taking place. What I really liked was how Shaw made me yearn for what was unwritten, what happened in between chapters and what would complete the puzzle of the story. Told from two perspectives, Gabriel from the past and Eva from the present, the gap in time and in modernity reflected well. The change in the process of courtship was also shown. In old times, there was so much to do, so much to prove contrary to the modern courtship. The love between Gabriel and Evangeline was so strong that it lasted after their parting and fueled Gabriel to find her.

The concept of losing oneself when in love was pushed to the limit. But I could see the point. It happens when you love someone too much, leaving nothing for yourself but a total devotion to your love. What just seemed a little confusing for me was the present Gabriel’s being lost.  He was not propelled to find Eva like the past Gabriel, instead he has been around, assuming that Eva would understand. And he was a little strange, having a few words despite the fact that he had an overflowing amount to write in his journal. I was not really able to connect with present Gabriel, unlike with the past Gabriel. I admired the past Gabriel’s love and devotion to Evangeline. For me, it was the ideal trait in a guy.

I also liked the air of mystery around the characters, especially present Gabriel. The advantage of his having little to say was that he became unpredictable. I had no idea what he would do, what would happen to him and even what he might say. This air of mystery eventually led to a satisfying and heartfelt ending. The wave of love and devotion in Anxious Hearts was something inescapable even after I closed the book. This book was powerful and moving.

I read this in a couple of hours. Actually, it was addicting. Once I was pulled in, it was hard to let go. I just had to keep reading to know what would happen. There was a strong emotional pull in this novel. I loved it. Anxious Hearts is a dramatic and overwhelming romance of four hearts. I recommend this to fans of romance and historical novels (because half of this is historical.)



  1. I have heard great things about this one. Also the cover is great. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Wow, Precious, I so need this! I scrolled down to see how many Cupids you gave it - got excited that it was 5 and quickly dived into your review. I'm so happy you loved this, I've read so many mixed reviews, that I was a little cautious about reading it. Because the story sounds brilliant - the first paragraph of the synopsis is what hooked me in and made my heart melt!

    Fantastic review. I am so getting my hands on a copy soon! ::)