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Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel

Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel

3.8 63
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm

Deepest winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .

He's a reclusive


New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm

Deepest winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .

He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.

Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.

Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.

Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It's going to be a long, hot winter.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 08/01/2014
Returning to Moonraker Cottage, her childhood summertime haunt on Maine's remote Peregrine Island, ventriloquist Annie Hewitt wants to stay only long enough to fulfill the terms of her inheritance and find a mysterious legacy left by her mother. She definitely doesn't want to have anything to do with popular author Theo Harp, the stepbrother whose cruel betrayal almost killed her as a teenager and whose twisted horror novels prove he's only gotten worse. When their interests collide, the aftermath is unexpected, throwing everything Annie believes into chaos. Old secrets, renewed passions, and hidden scandals combine with rapier wit and smart, sharp comments from Annie's puppet alter egos in this nonstop, red herring-laced romance. VERDICT In a stunning change of pace, Phillips reveals a brilliant flair for the gothic as she channels the Brontës, Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney in a riveting, updated tale featuring a brooding, dangerous hero, a threatened (but definitely not classically helpless) heroine, and a chilling, foreboding setting (complete with a windswept cliff-top mansion). An unforgettable, deliciously spicy romance that readers won't want to put down. Phillips (The Great Escape) lives in the Chicago suburbs. [See Prepub Alert, 5/19/14.]

Publishers Weekly
★ 06/09/2014
When 33-year-old ventriloquist Annie Hewitt returns to a Maine island and the isolated cottage where she spent her teenage years, she only expects to recover her health and search for a legacy left by her mother. She doesn’t expect to find widower Theo Harp in the manor house on the hill, or Jaycie Mills, the quiet woman who once saved her life, working as his housekeeper and raising a mute four-year-old daughter. Phillips (What I Did For Love) uses hints and references to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca to create a sometimes tense atmosphere, using the structure of the older book to both fulfill and subvert the reader’s expectations. Theo fulfills his role as the stereotypical brooding hero, and Annie is much more independent than her counterpart as she learns about her past, helps Jaycie’s daughter overcome trauma, and investigates the mysterious occurrences that are trying to drive her off the island. Details of smalltown New England life round out this powerfully successful homage. (Aug.)
Booklist (starred review)
“realistically quirky yet all too relatable characters, polished writing, tart humor, and an abundance of potent sexual chemistry. [...] another romance to treasure from one of the genre’s superstars, and proof positive that good things come to those readers who wait.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soared onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a hiker, gardener, reader, wife, and mother of two grown sons.

Brief Biography

Chicago, Illinois
Place of Birth:
Cincinnati, Ohio
B.F.A., Ohio University

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Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love SEP but this book was painful. I was ready to poke my eyes out after the looooooooooooong dialogue between the main character and her puppets in the second chapter. Puppets? Really? The story got better as it went on, but I couldn't get past the stupid puppets. I wouldn't recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So disappointed. Did not care for the heroine's constant dialogue with her puppets. Thought the hero was just weird for the first half of the book. It gets a little better if you stick with it, but this is not the SEP I love to read. Hope she gets back on track
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is really hard to get in to. I usually really enjoy her books, but this one the main character is hard to like and relate to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Halfway thru the book and i keep thinking, when is this story going to pick up. Where is this story going ? There isnt anything about the two main characters that is interesting as of yet. Came to the reviews to see if anyone else feels this way. Someone please tell me that it gets better because as of right now page 120 its boring. Sorry sep i love your books but this one is soso
BlushingReader More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars I have been reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips's (SEP) books for a long time and I really liked the sound of Heroes Are My Weakness dark brooding author and quirky/funny heroine. While we did get the great story you come to expect from SEP it didn't capture my attention as much as her previous books did. I loved the feel of the book, the isolated Maine island, the Gothic novel feel, the mysterious happenings and the secondary characters. What I wasn't in love with was the chemistry. I really liked Annie's character. She was down on her luck, desperate even, funny, witty and had a great backbone (Didn't love the puppet dialogues in her mind, but the puppets do come in handy in the story). Theo's character just felt tragic and mysterious. It took a while for me to even want to get to know his character and when I did, I never really understood all the reasons behind his actions, but I did start finding myself wanting more time with him. When these two characters were fighting and immersed in pissing matches, it was great. The chemistry and then lack of spark with the heat/sexy times was unfortunate. I never really "got" why Annie would let Theo close, she spent a lot of the book terrified of him. My other issue was when they were together, there was no heat in there interactions. I might have felt more chemistry if we got to read a bit more of their "togetherness". (What can I say, this girl likes her sexy times in books). Heroes Are My Weakness was a good story. I liked getting stuck on a Maine island in winter and feeling like you were struggling along with Annie, while trying to solve the mysterious happens throughout the book. I enjoyed how the story rolled out (even though it was a bit long), but something kept throwing me off between Annie and Theo. I am glad I read this book, it was a great escape and I will continue to read SEP books in the future. If you are a fan of SEP you will enjoy this slightly darker Gothic feel to the story, and you know you are getting characters with depth, spunk and baggage. If you have never read a SEP book before this would be a good place to see if you like her writing style before diving into her enormous back list. Heroes Are My Weakness was a good read that makes you glad it is still summer time and not buried in snow up on a remote island in Maine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely not up to her normal standards. Ten days later and I can't even remember the plot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sep make me laugh and that is why I love her books but this one missed the mark. I didn't laugh much at all - too dark. Theo isn't even a little bit appealing until late in the book and in light of the story the title is confusing to me. Still I love her books and have confidence I will love the next one.
elizam More than 1 year ago
I like this author, have read most of her books. It was hard to get past the annoying dialogues she constantly had with her puppets. I couldn't finish chapter one.  The book was instantly returned to the library. I'm glad I didn't waste my money. 
Liz_C7 More than 1 year ago
I have read all the SEP books - this one was my least favorite.  It was slow to start, but did get better as the story went on.  I loved the main character and the "who-done-it".
CarolASM More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites. The characters were extremely well developed and evolved throughout the story. It had a bit of everything: Romance, fear, caring, friendship, healing, suffering...the works. The puppets were hilarious and completely appropriate. All in all, a thoroughly good read.
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
A modern day Gothic romance that's sure to make readers swoon. I've been on a Susan Elizabeth Phillips' binge lately, and was SO VERY EXCITED when a copy of Heroes Are My Weakness showed up on my doorstep! What I Loved: This cover fits perfectly with the story, and as a reader, I love when the bookish people involved make that connection. Heroes Are My Weakness has all of the elements I've come to expect (and enjoy) from a Susan Elizabeth Phillip's story; witty humor, quirky characters and steamy romance. However, this one is a little darker, right down to the horror writing novelist and the creepy house he lives in that may or may not be haunted. And then there are the puppets... I really liked Theo and Annie! She has her fair share of quirks, a somewhat cutting sense of humor but she manages to see the good in people even when they don't deserve it. Theo is tall, dark and broodishly handsome, the epitome of Gothic romance hero. Their shared history and their occupations provided for some thoroughly entertaining situations. The mystery element was intriguing and I enjoyed watching Annie and Theo try puzzle out what was really going on on the island as well as what was happening between the two of them. It's always fun to read a story where the characters start out as frenemies only to discover things (and people) are not always what they seem. Susan Elizabeth Phillips' fans will not be disappointed! What Left Me Wanting More: Nothing. Favorite Quote(s): "I'd be glad to, except I have trouble cutting up dead bodies. All that bone." "He gave a long sigh. "And with those chilling words, the raging fire in his loins vanished."
Lost-N-Love-N-Hopeless More than 1 year ago
Heroes, bad guys, old biddies, voices, and puppets . . .oh, my! Annie (Antoinette) is in a world of her how as a result of her child rearing years and her not so conventional mother. Heroes are her weakness. She even states this a few times during the course of her bantering wither puppets. Of course, Heroes are my weakness is what the book titles says also. Well Hell, I would have to find a damn HERO first for him to be my weakness. This was my thought through most of the book. It took a long time for the concept of this supposed hero to materialize for me.  Theo has a huge burden that he has carried most of his life. The cause of this burden is a surprise. This burdensome problem has set the stage for his life and the way he chose to live it. He complex and a bit off putting at points but he is a good character.  Phillips gives another good performance with this book. Don’t let the title fool you. Take a read you will be challenged just a bit beyond what I have found to be a usual Phillips read. Thanks, NetGalley. This is my honest review of this book as I see it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love every book that Ms. Phillips has written.  This book was completely different from any of her other books, but that is not a bad thing!  It is a great story with well-developed characters, including the minor characters and the puppets!    I couldn't wait to find out the ending, and don't understand how other reviewers could call this a boring read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't listen to the bad reviews. I did and put off reading this. It was beautifully written. I loved it. She really has the ability to write interesting characters with great dialogue.i would give it five stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written and layered story. My only complaint is the ending feels a bit abrupt.
Brunette_Librarian More than 1 year ago
       Antoinette, “Annie” to her friends, is at the end of her rope, ending up on a solitary road in the middle of a blizzard on an island she only knew as a child. Her mother has died, leaving behind a small cabin filled with bad memories but quickly becomes the only refuge Annie has. When she returns to her former childhood home, she is assaulted by the memories of her mother and the presence of her former crush, Theo Harp, only creates a more tense situation.        Theo has overcome a very sinister childhood to become an accomplished horror author. He lives a truly solitary life and is still dealing with the death of his twin sister and the suicide of his wife. Unused to any disruptions in his lonely existence, he is disturbed by Annie’s return to her childhood home that coincidentally is just down the hill from his very own mansion. Theo and Annie come together in an explosion of murderous intentions, revealed secrets, a little laughter and a whole lotta love.      From the very beginning, you can tell this isn’t your usual Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. There is a very dark tone even in the first few pages that isn’t readily apparent in Phillips’ other novels. While it was very different for me, and at times I couldn’t believe my “go to” author was the actual author of what I was reading, the book worked for me.        There is a lot going on in this one, so bear with me a moment. Crazy siblings, homicidal wives, mistaken identities, greed, lies, crucial family dynamics, hidden fortunes, unknown fathers, and a whole lot more make up Heroes Are My Weakness. Theo and Annie’s relationship takes a backseat sometimes, but it builds slowly and surely. Not as sexy as some of her other books, I found myself enjoying the mysteries as they unfolded and was satisfied with the outcome of the story.           A different tone from other Phillips books, Heroes Are My Weakness takes on a whole new world where no one is safe from the machinations of others. Theo and Annie have led fairly disastrous lives but through no fault of their own, but lets face it, without their pasts they wouldn’t have ended up together. Different than her own novels, but no less special, Seppie fans will find her newest one no less intriguing than her famed Stars series. 
Anonymous 8 months ago
The puppets were not a good idea. I also figured out who was doing all the evil things to her in the past from the outset. Too many hints. What reader of romance hasn't read Jane Erye, or Rebecca which I think was floating around in the back of the authors mind. Not my favorite of hers, but I plugged away. This felt like the author just wanted to do what things her way despite what I'm sure somebody told her about those puppets and derivative plot. The end was an explanation of why she gave us the ending she did. She has better books. Skip this one.
Anonymous 9 months ago
First I need to say I love almost all of SEP books, but this was not one of my favorites. It is still better than a lot of other authors books. I just did didn't "feel" this one like I usually do.
Mona0622 More than 1 year ago
Who wants to be trapped on an island in Maine in the winter? Not Annie. She returns to the island and isn't pleased to find Theo there. They share a negative history that stands in the way of any relationship they try to have now. The story built and developed in a fascinating way. I won't spoil the ending, but I couldn't have predicted it. I love the book all the more for it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Puppets? Ventriloquism? Eww! "Has SEP lost her touch and possibly her mind?" I wondered. It was all so corny I almost couldn't get past the first chapter. Luckily, I opted to trust fall into the magic of our favorite feel-good writer. It pays off. The puppets - one in particular - become a lovely part of this story. You will come to love Annie and Theo just as much as any other SEP couple. Keep the faith and keep reading.
janebrn More than 1 year ago
I really love this book! It made me laugh out loud and care about the characters. Kind of reminded me of a Bronte^ read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrific book! This is a different book from this authors norm but l love the characters. I liked the focus on mental illness and the problems it can bring to those that love and care or the people involved ad how painful it can be. I thought this book addressed how close knit those on these small islands can make life miserable for you. All being said and done l loved this book because it is different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always great rees
gaele More than 1 year ago
Recommendations aside, how was it possible for me to refuse a story described as a modern-day Jane Eyre and set off the Maine Coast (I summered there for years). Short answer – no way. And I am so glad that I did, despite the slower than expected start to reach the ‘meat of the story. Annie has returned to an island that she summered at as a kid, with several reservations: the island holds some bad memories of Theo Harp – an inveterate bully. Of course, the reasons for her return are mixed up with a legacy from her mother, and she’s not all that busy working now, so just how bad could it be? Theo is a writer of horror, and the setting and his initial introduction was less than endearing: from his nasty childhood behaviors to his rather emo personality kept him at arm’s length for me for quite a while. Phillips’ writing and developmental arc for him, however, did give him that Heathcliff feel, even as I found him more intriguing by the end. Of course, this is an island and in the middle of winter it should have felt claustrophobic, not as charming or endearing as in summer, but the interactions with the townsfolk, her never-ending interactions with her puppets (some quirky, others funny but always helping her to compartmentalize her own interior thoughts) and the moments with Annie and the Puppets and Livia, who at four does not speak, are wonderfully intriguing and full of life. While the mystery of who wants Annie off the island wasn’t overwhelming, the threads tied together nicely to keep a bit of additional tension. Slow to start, with lots of information presented in Annie’s conversations with her puppets, her character shows a deeply developed interior life that impacts her desire and intrigue for Theo – the need to know his why was more important than anything else. And his silence caused from guilt and deep sorrows is a deep well that she shines a light into. Their chemistry was variable: I’d see it then not – best shown with the dialogue and jibes they threw at one another, their slower more sensual moments became more believable as the story progressed. I’m not a reader who gravitates to stories that keep me filled with tension waiting for the shoe to drop, and the balance of information, humor, intrigue, tension and personalities just worked for me. I’m now off to add more of this author’s books to my shelf. I received a paperback copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility
CrystalCB More than 1 year ago
I love the title Heroes Are My Weakness. I certainly enjoy a good romance story along with the heroes and heroines that are brought to life with the words written by talented authors. Susan Elizabeth Phillips has created a story that is packed full of drama, suspense, romance, humor, tension, a few secrets, and a whole lot of twist and turns that made for one page turner of a story. Annie Hewitt is broke, homeless, jobless and headed for an island that she really does not want to be on. There are bad memories there for her but it's the only place she has left to stay. So she has packed up her puppets and they are going to do their best to make it through a couple of months at the Moonraker Cottage. Annie has a lot of emotional baggage that has created some really deep emotional scars. This poor girl has been through the mill and back again. She has recently lost her mother, she lost her job while taking care of her sick mother, and used all her savings to live on. This girl really touched my heart. She has so many problems and no where to go and no one to turn to. Theo Harp has returned to his childhood home, the Harp House hoping to get a chance to write his next best selling book. The words just don't seem to be filling the pages for him lately. Theo has been through a lot as well. He's lost his twin sister and his wife. Theo has some emotional scars of his own and a some deeply buried secrets from the past. Annie and Theo were childhood friends but something horrible happened that changed their lives and ruined their friendship. The tension between these two is like a giant boulder just waiting to fall. There is also a deep attraction that they both want to avoid but sometimes attraction is just too strong. There a lot of things that have to be solved and resolved before these two can make a relationship or even a friendship work. One of my very favorite characters in the book is Theo's housekeeper's little girl Livia. She is a sweet, adorable little girl that has a few problems too. I don't want to tell you too much about Livia. I sure would not want to spoil the story for anyone. I just adored this little girl and Annie's interaction with her. The islanders also play a big part in this story. The island is very remote and they don't have access to a lot of things, including medical help or supplies. The islanders stick together through thick and through thin because they are use to taking care of their own in their own ways. This is a tough bunch that can handle just about anything. I really enjoyed this story. I have to admit there are several twist and turns that I did not see coming at all. There is a lot of drama and suspense that had me flipping pages just as quickly as I could to see what could possibly happen next. Just when I thought I had it all figured out there was a twist thrown in. I was given the opportunity to read this story so that I may share my thoughts with you. As always it has been my pleasure to share my thoughts with you on Heroes Are My Weakness.