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Birds of Lake Merritt by Alex Harris
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The Heart Principle: 02/26/22

The Heart Principle

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang is the third romance in the Kiss Quotient series. Anna Sun is a violinist who has reached burnout in her career. She can no longer finish a piece of music. On top of that her boyfriend has suggested they see other people before they decide to get engaged. Anna does the unexpected and decides to have a one night stand. Quan has his own issues but goes to Anna's anyway. They hit it off as friends but get nowhere in the one night stand department. Even though neither one wants to admit it, there's a definite chemistry between them. It's a dorky, awkward, completely wholesome connection.

This book differs though in that it was written during the early days of quarantine. That sensibility is translated into a painfully real second half where Anna is forced to care for her father after he survives a massive stroke. This section isn't an easy read, especially for anyone who has had to care for a parent or grandparent.

The novel also takes a more autobiographical turn as the author explains in an afterword. In the book Anna is diagnosed as autistic. The final act of this romance then is Anna finally recognizing that she's in full burnout. Throughout all of this trials in her life — her father's hospice and the burnout — Quan is there.

I know this is the final book but I feel like there was so much for Anna and Quan to survive that they didn't get a proper romance. I'd like a chance to revisit them in happier times just to see how they're doing.

Four stars

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