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“Smart, funny, and chockful of surprises, Heart’s Desire delivers on the promise of its title. Laura Pedersen’s lively imagination has created a cast of zany characters and an unforgettable heroine, whose honesty, sweet nature, and witticisms make this novel an enchanting read.”
–Bev Marshall, author of Right as Rain and Hot Fudge Sundae Blues
2. Do you have a set of criteria for “the right one,” characteristics that you know you really like in a person, or do you just go by how you feel when you meet someone and then spend a bit of time together?
3. Brandt points out that most species are not monogamous. Into which category do you think humans fall? Are we meant to mate for life, be serially monogamous, or just date various people? Or does it depend on the individuals and the relationship?
4. At the beginning of the book Hallie observes that many couples seem to divorce when their kids leave for college. Do you think that people wanting to get divorced should try and stay together until their children are at least teenagers?
5. . Can your significant other also be your best friend? Is it necessary to have a good friend with whom you’re not engaged in a physical relationship in order to talk about certain things?
6. Hallie’s mother believes that Louise has taken up with a bad crowd of friends and that this is to blame for her recent wayward behavior. Is it fair to judge people by the company they choose to keep, or should you be able to see them as an individual? Would you worry if you had a teenage daughter hanging around with older guys who drove fast cars?
7. Hallie and Brandt have known each other a long time, and it appears that they might start a relationship. Has there ever been a person you really like and have known for a long time, but never considered for a relationship? What makes for “chemistry” between two people, where they both want more than friendship?
8. Hallie is having what she deems to be a good experience at college, but it sounds as if only a fraction of her time is devoted to actual learning. What percentage of high school and/or college would you say is about academics and what percentage is about other things such as learning how to be a friend, have a relationship, and basically be a human being?
9. Craig and Hallie agreed not to be exclusive while attending colleges so far away from each other. Based on your experiences, can long-distance relationships work?
10. Brandt and Louise choose abstinence when it comes to premarital sex. Is this the best option for all young people, or does it depend on the teenager? Should parents, teachers, and counselors be trying to steer teens toward abstinence, or should they provide all the information and let them decide what’s right? If you had a teenage son or daughter what route would you want him or her to take?
11. What are the pros and cons of marrying the only person with whom you ever plan on having a serious physical relationship?
12. Every once in a while we’re surprised to hear someone we thought was heterosexual announce a lifestyle change. In the book, Gil briefly considers being with a woman after a long same-sex relationship. Do you know people who have questioned their sexual preferences, and if so, do you think the urge to do so came on suddenly or had been on their minds for a while, only they may have been worried about sharing the information?
13. Ottavio wants to marry and Olivia doesn’t. Whose side are you on? Would you mind if one of your children, parents, or grandparents was living with a significant other?
14. Is it true that you always remember your first kiss and/or the first time you enter into a serious physical relationship? Do people make too big a deal about first times or are they really special?
15. Hallie’s parents have a lot of kids to keep track of. If you’re a teenager, do your parents know much about your real life? How might they answer if you were to ask them? If you’re older and you think back, did your parents know much about what was really going on when you were sixteen or seventeen? And if you have teenagers now, do you think you know much about their relationships?
16. Occasionally Hallie is forthcoming about her fears and concerns but usually lets them bubble inside for a long time. On the other hand Bernard is happy to unburden himself to basically anyone willing to listen. Do you tend to discuss your problems with others or keep them to yourself? Is either way healthier, is there a happy medium, or does it depend on the person?
17. As you get older, has your view on love changed at all? Are you more hopeful or more cynical about romance than you were a few years ago?
18. Do you think people usually break up because they feel that one of them has changed, or because they find they didn’t really know the other person as well as they thought? Or is there another cause you see happening a lot, such as meeting someone else?
19. Can the brain can be saying one thing about a person while the heart is saying another? Why do you think we sometimes make bad choices for partners? And is this a learning curve so that as you get older your selection process improves? If a friend told you that he or she loved someone who didn’t love them back, what would you be your advice?
20. Bernard goes through a very bad time after splitting up with Gil. Have you ever had a bad breakup? What helped you through it? Did you learn anything that ended up being useful later on?
21. What do you think is the most important element in a successful relationship?
Posted September 26, 2011
This is the second installment in this series and I love how the characters draw you into the story. For those of us who are a little older, Hallie's voice brings back all the anxiety and angst inherent in young adulthood. Heart's Desire introduces you to a new set of friends that you become engaged with and begin to care about. You want to go along for the ride with Hallie, Bernard and the rest of the characters. I can't wait for the sequel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2011
Hallie Palmer is going home for the summer after her first year of college. She hopes to figure out her financials and maybe pick up a boyfriend along the way but like always Hallie seems to be fixing other people before herself and before long finds herself in all kinds of situations.
I loved this coming-of-age story and felt that like the first book - Beginner's Luck - I connected with the characters because of how real they were portrayed. Not one of them were perfect, they all had their hang-ups and their flaws and while many authors out there today add in the ups and downs of life for authenticity Laura Pedersen made it feel like a true story wrapped in fiction. I especially liked that throughout the narrative and dialogue I couldn't suppress the bubbles of laughter. It truly was the cherry on top for me.
Posted November 9, 2006
Heart's Desire is everything readers want in a book! Genuine characters walk through these pages, sharing their lives with honest abandon and a delightful touch of humor. This sequel to Beginner's Luck is every bit as wonderful as the first story. Hallie Palmer, teen poker queen, is living at college, yet her heart is back home with the Stocktons. When Bernard shows up at her dorm, distraught about his breakup with longtime boyfriend, Gil, Hallie returns to Cosgrove County to set things straight. However, that's not all that needs fixing. As soon as Hallie steps back into the offbeat house of Olivia and company, life grabs her hand for a sometimes bumpy, always amazing ride. Laura Pedersen is an incredible author. Not only do these characters leap off the page (I swear I heard them breathing!), but the situations they encounter are real in a wonderfully bizarre sort of way. Hallie and her friends and family will generate a great deal of interest and sympathy from readers. Although some of the issues explored are controversial, this very conservative reviewer found herself totally immersed in the story and rooting for everyone to live happily ever after. Now, that's the sign of a great writer. At the forefront are the complex relationships that progress with a startling amount of candor. Hallie's inner thoughts are shown to readers, causing this young woman to be heartily embraced for her actions and feelings. The entire cast of characters is perfect and fills this novel with an assortment of ideas and subplots, which offer smiles as well as profound wisdom. Heart's Desire is life, with all its faults and fun, wrapped up in family love.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2006
The sequel to BEGINNER'S LUCK (best read in order), this book was a wonderful surprise. Sharp, natural prose that made me think, laugh and feel good. Wide age appeal, probably 13 and up. Mostly women's fiction, however my husband heard me chuckling throughout and enjoyed the novel too. I hesitate to say 'an old-fashioned read' because Pedersen is anything but dated (very fresh!) but there's a wonderful whimsy along with the social commentary, great characters, and relationships, so if you liked 'Fried Green Tomatoes' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird,' this is another winner. I already have my book group committed to reading THE BIG SHUFFLE this winter (next in series, preview at her Website -- laurapedersenbooks). My teenage daughter is threatening to come for that!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Though she would prefer not to work another summer at mother and son Olivia and Bernard Stockton¿s estate garden where she took refuge last year (see BEGINNER¿S LUCK), Hallie Palmer knows she needs the money to offset some of her freshman year debts. So Hallie returns to her Ohio home accepting the same job she held in the past. --- However, she is shocked when a depressed Bernard informs her that his lover Mr. Gil dropped him. He enlists Hallie¿s help to bring Gil to his senses and restart their relationship. At the same time, Hallie sees her high school boyfriend Craig and, though she has a college beau, she remains attracted to him. He feels the same way even reflecting on whether their agreement to see others was realistic as being together feels like the right thing. Is it her HEART¿S DESIRE or just a nostalgic summer love? --- This sequel stars the still whimsical charming former poker champ Hallie, a likable teen still feeling crowded in the Palmer household as the second born with a horde of siblings. The story line beguiles the readers as the older wiser Hallie is helplessly overwhelmed once more with relationships, her own with Craig, and Bernard with Mr. Gil. Fans will appreciate Laura Pederson¿s teen queen who hopefully returns for one more entanglement perhaps as a recent college graduate whose only work is yard work at the Stockton home garden.--- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2011
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Posted October 26, 2010
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Posted May 13, 2013
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Posted June 10, 2010
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