Anxious Hearts

Anxious Hearts

3.5 14
by Tucker Shaw

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shaw's (The Girls) novel recounts two watered-down versions of its inspiration--Longfellow's epic love poem "Evangeline"--one a retelling, the other a modern complement. In a small Maine town, Eva and Gabe are high school juniors whose childhood friendship is rekindled by Gabe's brother's serious illness, which is diagnosed on the anniversary of Eva's mother's death. They lean on each other, but Gabe begins to act strangely after they spend an intimate night together in the woods, and he soon disappears. In a parallel narrative set in the 1700s, newly married Gabriel and Evangeline are separated when the New Colonists invade; Gabriel dedicates his life to reuniting with Evangeline. The mirrored yet divergent plot lines underline the similarities between ancient and contemporary romances, and suspense builds into a slight twist at the end. Romance-lovers will enjoy the flowery and rambling writing ("It was this vision of a happiness, a complete, eternal, soul-encompassing happiness, contained between the two, that gave him energy even as his fever drained him"), but overall neither of the twin stories has the emotional impact of the source material. Ages 12–up. (May)
Julee Phillips
Shaw modernizes the epic Longfellow poem "Evangeline" in this tale of two different eras. The first time frame is present-day Maine, where Eva Bell and Gabe Lejeune grow up together. Social standing eventually separates them, until Gabe decides to disregard his father's wishes, and their understanding of one another blossoms into a binding love. However, Gabe's life is fraught with trouble, and after the illness and death of his brother, he cannot stay . . . even for Eva. Their alternate story is told in the same locale, but 100 years earlier, through the writings of Gabriel Lajeunesse about his betrothed Evangeline Bellefontaine. Just as Eva narrates the modern reality of coping with the absence of her lost love, Gabriel writes of his continuing pursuit of his beloved Evangeline. Shaw's creative telling of these dual sagas will keep the reader turning pages to discover how and when the lives of these characters will converge. Reviewer: Julee Phillips
VOYA - Debbie Wenk
This is the story of two pairs of lovers from different eras. Eva Bell and Gabe Lejeune are present-day high school students, while Evangeline Bellefontaine and Gabriel Lejeunesse are a betrothed couple from centuries ago. Eva and Gabe have been kept apart by her father since childhood but find each other again as teens. Just as Eva succumbs to her deep love for Gabe, he disappears. She searches for him for months. Evangeline and Gabriel are celebrating their exchange of wedding vows when armed soldiers intervene and remove all the men from the village. Subsequently, the village is burned and the remaining inhabitants forced to flee. Gabriel and Evangeline are separated, but Gabriel devotes himself to finding his beloved. In each case, they find their way back to each other, although it is not necessarily a happily-ever-after ending. The author has taken his inspiration from Longfellow's epic poem "Evangeline" and woven it together with a tale of contemporary teens. The stories are told in alternating chapters by Eva and Gabriel and often parallel each other. While the device of alternating narratives often gives the reader a lot of insight into the characters and plot, it is less than successful in this case. The chapters are very short, and the plot moves along so quickly that the reader has little chance to identify or sympathize with any character. This was a wonderful premise with a disappointing result. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—"Evangeline," Longfellow's tale of Acadian lovers separated on the eve of their wedding day only to reunite tragically after years of longing, provides the springboard for Shaw's modern retelling. Chapters narrated by Eva alternate with those told by Gabriel. She tells the contemporary story of her growing awareness of and ensuing impassioned bond with an old childhood friend. Her love, Gabe, who is grappling with a family tragedy, scribbles in a notebook incessantly. It is not until they are separated that Eva reads the notebook, which turns out to be a close retelling of the original tale (Gabriel's words that comprise the alternate chapters). This plot structure is quite seamless in execution. Eva's voice keeps the book grounded in modern sensitivities. Like Longfellow, Shaw gives nature high importance through descriptive passages of his chosen Maine setting and pays homage in many other small ways from incorporating original lines into dialogue and transplanting subtleties of characters' personalities. He is in no way, however, a slave to Longfellow, delivering both a couple of steamier scenes and potential for happiness in the end. The blustery landscapes and their intimate connection to the characters' plight are reminiscent of Helen Frost's The Braid (Farrar, 2006) and even, at times, of certain scenes spent in seaside forests by a similarly thwarted vampire/human teen couple. It is this very power to evoke both admired historical fiction and hot teen literature that will prove this novel's success.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
Kirkus Reviews
The tragic tales of two pairs of lovers weave in and out in this tale based on a hoary classic. One plotline retells Longfellow's "Evangeline," from the third-person point of view of Gabriel, as he woos, weds and loses his beloved in the 1755 deportation of the Acadians. The second is the first-person narration of Eva, a present-day teen who has fallen for Gabe, an angst-ridden version of the earlier Gabriel, though Shaw has inexplicably moved the action from Canada to northern Maine. Where Gabriel is dragged away from his sweetheart, Gabe leaves more willingly; his motivation for doing so is hazy. Eva is left to try to figure out where he has gone and why. Though she heads off to a work-study program downstate, she never stops searching for him, a role reversal since Gabriel does most of the seeking in his version. Hackneyed dialogue, superficial character development and the failure to fully capture the setting all diminish this effort. It may appeal to romance readers in need of a fix but is unlikely to entertain a broader audience. (Romance/historical fiction. 11 & up)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Tucker Shaw, who has been featured on The Today Show, is the author Everything I Ate and many popular books for teens, including Confessions of a Backup Dancer. He lives in Denver, where he is a food editor for the Denver Post.

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Anxious Hearts 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this four years ago and could never forget it. A great read and an absolute must have on your bookshelf! 5 stars plus so many more!
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Gold Star Award Winner! There's always going to be those stories that capture your heart. Whether it's something that is heartbreaking and sticks with you, or something that is so pure and enticing that your heart envelops it; one way or another your heart becomes involved with the words and the characters inside. ANXIOUS HEARTS by Tucker Shaw is not only one of those stories, it's the latter of the two. It's the one that runs through your mind over and over again; it's the one that's so pure that you become one with the story. In 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a poem, "Evangeline," that has now become one of his most notable works, and also one of the most commonly taught poems in English classes. This beautiful poem inspired Tucker Shaw to write ANXIOUS HEARTS, and for that I must thank Mr. Longfellow (Yes, I am going to thank a man who's been dead for somewhere around, oh, 125+ years). ANXIOUS HEARTS begins the story of Eva and Gabe, two teenagers who lost touch in each other's lives, only to pick back up years later as they explore the forests surrounding their seaside town. They follow the same paths, and are exploring the same tranquil forests, as Evangeline and Gabriel, two young lovers who did the same over one hundred years before them. On the day of Evangeline and Gabriel's wedding, their village was attacked by enemies and they were separated from one another. In the present, Gabe suddenly disappears from Eva and it seems as if their love will mirror that of the two lovers torn apart on their wedding day. The first couple of chapters threw me for a loop. I'm used to alternate points of view, but I don't think I've ever read anything that is not only alternate voices, but also alternate time periods. Eva and Gabe's story is told by Eva, while Gabriel and Evangeline's tale is told by Gabriel, some hundred years earlier. It only took a few chapters in for me to not only get used to the change, but to also welcome the bits of each tale I got. The imagery in ANXIOUS HEARTS is something I've not seen in a long time, not since AP English in high school. It's got the air of one of those old stories your teacher forces you to read, then you're thankful in the end. It's pure, beautiful, and vivid in the words that flow across the page. The beauty in Longfellow's tale weaves into Shaw's and the characters, both new and old, come alive on the page and leap into your mind. I found it really hard to find the words to describe ANXIOUS HEARTS. There were moments that made me laugh and smile, then there were the ones that made my jaw drop and stay hanging open in fear and pain for the characters that had woven themselves into my heart in fewer than 300 pages. Eva, Gabe, Evangeline, and Gabriel all found their own place in my heart, and I found myself understanding them in different ways and wanting the best for them. If you've never read "Evangeline" then I advise you not to read it until after you've read ANXIOUS HEARTS. It's been years since I've read it, but once I started reading the story of these lovers those years faded away and the story was there again. The story behind Shaw's words is just as important as the words themselves. This book is beautiful and lyrical; it flows with a fluid grace that enamors and captures the soul, all in the same page. Read the full review on the TRT website...
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CiciBear26 More than 1 year ago
Anxious Hearts is the story of four people--Eva and Gabe in the present, and Evangeline and Gabriel in the past. The book is told in alternating views. Eva's voice in the present tense and Gabriel's in the past. On the day of their marriage, Gabriel and Evangeline are separated, newly weds who were wed only moments before losing each other. Throughout the story, readers read the tale of Gabriel's journey to finding his beloved Evangeline once again, while Eva ventures herself in the "real world" trying to find her Gabe. This book was intense. Normally, I dislike books that have alternating views, but Tucker Shaw made both points interesting. I was as entranced by Eva's tale as I was Gabriel's. This book doesn't disappoint! It kept me guessing-will Gabriel find Evangeline? Will Eva find Gabe?-until I closed the book after the last page. Will these four lovers be reconnected? You'll have to read Anxious Hearts to find out.
piratesweetie More than 1 year ago
I am always on the look for a good love story. One with depth, feeling, real emotion, something believable. This definitely quenched my heart's thirst in that regard. The imagery was beautiful, detailed descriptions of the golden forests in which half the story takes place. I loved, loved, loved it and I'm going to reread it as soon as possible and then when I get some money I'm going to buy it and I really think it should be made into a movie!!! So happy that I found this book....I would recommend this to anyone and everyone....
pagese More than 1 year ago
This book had a really poetic feel. It switches narratives between Eva in today's world and Gabriel in the past. I actually liked Gabriel's story more than Eva's. It was more intense. The romance between Gabriel and Evangeline made sense. And I understood his devotion to finding her. It was heartfelt, romantic, and sad. Eva's story felt a little forced. I didn't understand her and Gabe as much. The explanation for Eva's obsession with finding him didn't seem as real. Plus, Gabe didn't seem to be worth her effort. I wasn't sure if he really returned her affections. I felt sorry for his circumstances, but it didn't really sit well with me. It was a fast read, but a story that would be easily forgotten. I did really like the way the book was set up (strange but the presentation was great). Gabriel's parts have darker pages, giving them a different feel. Eva's story has these pretty little designs on the pages. I hope the keep that format in the finished copy. I would recommend this to those who like dual narratives (past and present), historical fiction that is fast paced, and those who love the teen love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the book troy high!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanna get it