Heart Like Mine - Echo Lake series, Book 2
By Dorine Linnen
Apr 1, 2016 - 8:00:00 AM

Delaney Blair gets called into the CFO's office at Echo Lake's Mercy Hospital, fully expecting to lose her job, just like the six other poor souls who passed through that door ahead of her this week. Instead, she's given an impossible ultimatum as a financial analyst - to reduce the pediatric department's budget by a ridiculous amount of money or look for another job. As the interim head of pediatrics, Dr. Joshua Mackenzie is overworked and lacks patience for a financial office that doesn't have to ensure good patient care with unsatisfactory funding.

Within the first three chapters, we're shown Dr. Mackenzie's compassion for his patients by his willingness to stay up all night rocking a sick child. He's stretched thin at the hospital but he still finds the time to work with his friends Josie and Ethan at Avery's house. Joshua's compassion and dedication to his job, in addition to his good looks, make him the hospital's most eligible bachelor.

Delaney has settled in her career as a financial analyst and hopes to earn the CFO position in a few years. Having gone to medical school but unable to stomach the work, Delaney's choice of career has always been a bone of contention with her skilled surgeon father. After a couple weeks spending time with patients, Delaney begins to see a possible new future that might truly make her happy.

Delaney doesn't expect to fall in love with pediatrics and Joshua doesn't expect to fall in love with Delaney. Will their inability to keep a professional distance cost them both their jobs?

HEART LIKE MINE started off as a solid 3.5 rated book but toward the middle it soared to a 4, ending as a 4.5. A hospital setting isn't normally my first choice for contemporary romance so it took me a bit to connect. But I fell in love with the pediatric patients and caregivers. Author Maggie McGinnis has a talent for layering that makes me care for her characters. When a hero and heroine are on opposite sides of a situation, I usually dislike one of them because I end up siding with one more strongly. Delaney and Joshua were equally likable and I felt invested in their happiness, not just in their careers, but also as a couple.

HEART LIKE MINE has excellent, subtle layering and texture that builds the relationships of all the characters in this novel. Delaney and Joshua each have their friends and co-workers who support them so their dilemma becomes a team effort. The patients are so precious and I loved the scenes when Delaney talked or worked with one of them. Delaney has a huge heart and it really shines through. Toward the end, the tension grew and I was nervous about how it would be resolved. I was quite pleased when their hearts and ambitions matched and comingled. There are some excellent plot devices in this novel, even when they're formulaic, because of their variances.

Maggie McGinnis succeeds at exploring emotion well-loved by romance readers. I was surprised by the emotional impact between Delaney and her parents as I didn't expect it, or how it affected me as a reader. I love those well-played surprises. Some of the characters' sense of humor cracked me up, which offset the children's stories which were especially heartrending.

There was one scene with an irate father that I felt was unnecessary and a little over the top. It felt disjointed and unexpected. I thought the book held its own without that element, but it also did not ruin the book for me. I mainly wondered why it was there.

HEART LIKE MINE is a sweet romance that will satisfy behind-closed-doors romance lovers. This couple has plenty of chemistry and they're not innocent in their relationship, but it's tastefully done without graphic details. Fans of the series will enjoy a solid revisit with favorite characters from FOREVER THIS TIME. If you've skipped the first book, some of the friendship scenes might lose their sparkle if you're not familiar with the characters, so I suggest reading this series in order for the entertainment value. Even though I suspected how the financial problems for the pediatric floor would be resolved, I still found the progress and results a very interesting way to create conflict.

HEART LIKE MINE is a heartwarming addition to the ECHO LAKE series. I can hardly wait to read SHE'S GOT A WAY (releasing August 30, 2016) which includes primitive camping with some bad students in the heroine's care, camping being one of my favorite situations for conflict. If you're looking for well-written characterizations that make you care about their outcome, grab the ECHO LAKE series for a sigh-worthy weekend of reading.

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