Change of Heart

Change of Heart

by Courtney Walsh

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Overview

Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions—for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close—and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse—his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend—and his own mistakes—stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414398709
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Series: Paper Hearts Series , #2
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 284,512
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Change of Heart

A Novel


By Courtney Walsh, Danika King

Tyndale House Publishers

Copyright © 2016 Courtney Walsh
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9870-9


CHAPTER 1

Evelyn Brandt stood in her kitchen, the sound of uptight laughter filtering in from the dining room.

Hosting the Loves Park Chamber Ladies hadn't been her idea. Christopher told her a good politician's wife had to put herself out there. So she did.

And now she regretted it. It wasn't the first time that agreeing to something she didn't want to do had ended in regret.

She dialed Christopher's work line.

"Christopher Brandt."

"... is in serious trouble," Evelyn said.

"Evelyn?" He sounded concerned, telling her he hadn't gotten

"This luncheon is pure torture," she whispered. "You owe me."

His laugh was forced. "I do owe you. Thanks for playing nice."

Of course she played nice. That was the only way she knew how to play. Learn the rules and follow them. Words to live by.

"Evelyn, do you have any more peach tea?" Georgina Saunders appeared in the doorway, took one look at her, and frowned. "I didn't realize you were on a call."

Bad manners?

Evelyn said a quick good-bye to her husband and hung up. "I'm sorry about that. I'll bring more tea."

The caterer appeared to be occupied in the corner of the kitchen. So Evelyn took the empty crystal pitcher from Georgina, president of their philanthropic group, and moved to the opposite side of the room, thankful when the other woman returned to the dining room. If Evelyn had her way, she would've hidden out in the kitchen for the rest of the luncheon.

But the pecan-crusted chicken with chardonnay cream sauce hadn't even been served yet.

As Evelyn refilled and picked up the pitcher, it slipped from her hands. She caught it before it hit the ground, but not before the peach tea sloshed onto her black-and-white silk and cotton dress, the one Christopher had special ordered for this occasion. The one that made Evelyn feel like a child playing dress-up in her mom's closet.

Even after all these years of learning to fit the mold, she still felt uncomfortable in these scenarios.

"Evelyn, do you have that tea?" Georgina returned. "Oh, my. How clumsy of you. You should soak that before it stains."

Evelyn nodded. "I think I'll go change."

"Good idea." Georgina took the pitcher and left the kitchen.

Evelyn hurried upstairs, pulled off the dress, and stood in her closet. What she really wanted was a pair of worn-out jeans and her oversize light-gray sweater.

But that would never do, and she didn't want to embarrass Christopher. She knew how important these ladies were to his political career, both present and future.

She returned to the dining room, wearing a simple pair of black dress pants, heels, and a loose patterned blouse. A conversation was already in progress.

Georgina sat at the end of the table like a queen on a throne, chin tilted ever so slightly downward as always, eyebrows raised in judgment. "I hadn't heard that about Willa Seitz's husband," she was saying.

Evelyn frowned as she took her seat at the opposite end of the table.

"Did you know he was having an affair with Willa's sister, Evelyn?"

Evelyn felt her eyes widen. "I hadn't heard that, no." She should call Willa. Make sure she was okay. They didn't know each other well, but their paths had crossed enough for Evelyn to consider her an acquaintance at least, if not a friend.

And if the expressions on the faces of the women in her dining room were any indication, Willa Seitz wouldn't have many of those now.

"Seems it's been going on for quite some time." Georgina surveyed the rest of them. "We should all say a prayer of thanks for faithful husbands, ladies."

Yes. Evelyn was grateful for that, though she wished her husband was home more often. Being a state senator kept him busy. And away.

But then, weren't his position and his power part of what she loved about him? Her mind conjured an image of Christopher. Handsome and charming with eyes that sparkled and a smile that melted hearts. She'd never met anyone with quite so much charisma, and while she certainly didn't enjoy the days they were apart each month, the wife of a public servant had to make sacrifices too.

The main course was served, and the ladies around her table began eating the catered lunch. Evelyn mostly stayed quiet at these sorts of functions, meant for networking and planning the occasional philanthropic event. Christopher thought it was important she was involved.

"These women decide the who's who of Colorado," he'd told her. "Be charming and wonderful. We need their support."

She did as she was told, and while she never uttered a word of protest, she dreaded these luncheons more than dental work.

"Evelyn, will Christopher be home this weekend?" Lydia Danvers straightened. The woman might have been four years older than Evelyn, but she dressed fifteen years younger. All that time spent in the gym had certainly worked in her favor.

Evelyn shrank under her watchful eye. "He hopes to be," she said, then took a sip of her tea. "His schedule is always up in the air."

Lydia gave a curt nod, then a quick once-over. "Did you change your clothes?"

Evelyn smoothed her blouse. "I did. I just spilled some tea on myself."

The ladies laughed. "Oh, Evelyn, it's a good thing you had this meal catered," Georgina said.

More laughter.

Heat rushed to Evelyn's cheeks. She would tell Christopher she needed a break from the entertaining. She didn't have the gift of hospitality, and it was time she said so.

After this luncheon.

The doorbell rang, drawing all six pairs of eyes toward Evelyn.

"Are you expecting someone else?" Georgina asked.

Evelyn set her cloth napkin on the table as she pushed herself up. She'd never been more thankful for a doorbell in her life.

But when she moved toward the front door and spotted a man and a woman, both dressed in suits and looking quite official, her gratitude slowly dissipated.

She stood motionless on her side of the door, staring at them through the window until they flipped open badges, expectancy on their faces.

"Who is it, Evelyn?" Georgina called from the other room.

She cracked the door as her heart became a stopwatch set on double time.

"Evelyn Brandt?"

She nodded through the half-open door. "Yes?"

"Agent Marcus Todd, FBI. This is Agent Debbie Marnetti."

"What can I do for you?" Her stomach fluttered, and that familiar panicked feeling set in. And just like that she was eleven years old again, waiting for her father to come home, knowing her grades would not meet his approval. Her anxiety had turned to panic even then, and she'd been battling it ever since. Would she ever find comfort in her own skin?

Not now. She needed to keep it together.

"We need to speak to you about your husband. May we come in?"

"Christopher? Has something happened?" Evelyn didn't move from her spot in the doorway, her mind racing back to the quick conversation she'd had with her husband earlier today. He had seemed distracted — well, even more so than usual — but everything else was fine. He would've told her if it wasn't.

"Ma'am?"

Evelyn realized she'd been staring, mind reeling, and she quickly apologized. "I have guests."

The woman — Marnetti — rolled her eyes. The man gave her a warm smile. "It might be a good idea to ask them to leave."

Evelyn felt like she'd just been asked to return to the doctor's office for an in-person explanation of her test results.

"We really do need to speak to you immediately," Agent Todd told her.

"Of course. Come in."

She led them to the living room of their lakefront house. The house Christopher bought without telling her. He said it was a gift for her, but Evelyn knew better. The lake ran through Loves Park, and the homes surrounding it were some of the most desirable in town.

"It's a house worthy of a future governor," he'd told her on their first walk-through, confirming her suspicions.

"It's so big," she said. "What are we going to do with all this extra space?" The ornate fixtures certainly didn't seem like the kinds one would have in a houseful of children.

"We'll be entertaining," Christopher had told her. "Fund-raising. Campaigning. I've hired a decorator to come in and redo everything."

"Can we really afford that, Christopher?"

He pulled her into his arms. "You deserve a beautiful home, Evelyn. I want you to have the best."

She looked past him to the elaborate staircase at the center of the entryway. "I don't need all of this. I'd be happy with a small house in the country. As long as you're there. You know that."

His phone had chirped in his pocket and he'd excused himself to the other room, leaving her alone in the middle of a house she was sure would always feel more like a hotel than a home.

Now, in spite of the people surrounding her, Evelyn felt more alone than ever. She gestured for the agents to sit on the posh sofa Christopher's decorator had picked out.

"Can I get either of you something to drink?" she asked, trying to remember her manners in spite of her trembling hands.

"We're fine, Mrs. Brandt." Agent Marnetti's tone almost sounded like a reprimand.

Evelyn begged her heart to stop pounding.

"Evelyn, are you coming back?" Georgina appeared once more in the doorway. Her perfectly tweezed brows drew downward.

Evelyn's throat went dry.

"Who are you?" Georgina's superiority permeated the air.

"Georgina, I think it's best if we cut the luncheon short."

"We haven't even begun the meeting," Georgina said. "The others are still eating."

"Georgina, please." Evelyn practically pushed her out of the room, wishing she would just take a hint already. Her mind spun with possible scenarios. Why on earth was the FBI in her living room? And was there any way to get these ladies out without having to answer a million questions?

"Evelyn, I don't like the idea of leaving you alone here," Georgina said as they returned to the dining room. "Ladies, there are two strangers who've just barged into Evelyn's house. I think we need to get to the bottom of this."

Evelyn sighed. "They're from the FBI."

A collective gasp filled the room.

"What do they want with you?" Susan Hayes asked, rising from the table.

"I don't know," Evelyn said. "I haven't found out yet. Please go and let me call you all later."

"We should stay," Georgina argued.

"No." Evelyn's tone was firm for once. "Please go."

These women were really only here to help Christopher's political career, and whatever the FBI wanted, she had a feeling it wasn't going to be very helpful.

Evelyn suspected that before she discovered why the FBI was sitting on her sofa, Georgina and the others would have a litany of false explanations floating around town. She ushered them out, dismissed the caterer, and returned to the room where she'd left the agents.

"Do you know why we're here?" Agent Todd asked.

Evelyn shook her head. "You said it was about Christopher."

"Where is your husband now?" Agent Marnetti asked. She stood near the windows.

"Denver. They're in session. He's a Colorado state senator. He was elected three years ago. He worked hard to get where he is." She was rambling.

Something passed between the two agents in a silent exchange.

"What is it?" Evelyn folded her hands in her lap, feeling a rush of anxiety rise to the surface.

"This is quite the house you have here, Mrs. Brandt." Agent Marnetti walked toward the fireplace. "Is this marble?" She ran a hand along the mantel — a mantel most women would love. Evelyn had never cared for it. She'd tried her best to add personal touches — Christopher had allowed her to give three photos of the two of them to his decorator, a regal woman whose accent sounded like a cross between Britain and the Upper East Side. The photos stared at her from the mantel now.

"How do you suppose your husband paid for such a lavish home, Mrs. Brandt?" Agent Marnetti asked as she picked up a framed wedding photo.

"Would you mind telling me why you're here?" Evelyn stared at the agents. She had a right to know, didn't she?

The two officials exchanged another telling glance. Agent Marnetti looked away.

Agent Todd turned toward Evelyn. "We believe Senator Brandt has been embezzling money from the state."

Evelyn's stomach twisted. "That's not possible."

"We have evidence," Agent Marnetti said. "Lots of evidence. And we think it started long before he became a state senator."

Christopher adored Loves Park. Serving in city government had been a point of pride for him. Surely there'd been a mistake — he would never do anything to jeopardize his future.

Their future.

"I'd like to call my husband."

"There will be time for that, but right now we're going to have to ask you to step outside."

"Why?"

"We need to look around. Determine your involvement in your husband's crimes."

"My involvement? I don't even know what you're talking about." Evelyn's fingers were cold, like they always felt when she was nervous.

"Then you have nothing to worry about," Agent Todd said, his tone kind.

It was clear who was who in the whole good cop/bad cop scenario.

"Have you noticed any other elaborate purchases?" Agent Marnetti asked. "I mean, other than the house."

Evelyn frowned. "I don't know. Christopher's family has money. It's not so hard to believe he'd be able to afford the things he's bought."

"He lost all of his family's money a few years ago, Mrs. Brandt," Agent Todd said. "The senator made a few bad investments and lost it all."

"That's not possible," Evelyn said. "He would've told me."

"It seems there's a lot he didn't tell you," Agent Marnetti replied. "Or maybe he's just trained you really well on how to look innocent."

"That's ridiculous," Evelyn said. "Christopher handled all of our money. I never even paid attention." Her voice trailed offat the realization. She hadn't wanted to know about the money. Christopher assured her they were fine, and that was good enough for her.

She trusted him.

"Probably not the smartest choice." Agent Marnetti crossed her arms. "I find it hard to believe you didn't suspect anything. What about the cabin your husband purchased last month up in the mountains?"

"Our vacation home?" Evelyn had thought it was a bit excessive when Christopher bought that place, but she wouldn't tell them that.

"Quite a price tag on a home you rarely stay in."

"He was going to rent it out. Try to make some extra income. Christopher is a brilliant businessman."

"Spare us the rhetoric, Mrs. Brandt." Agent Marnetti pulled a walkie-talkie out of her pocket. "Come on in," she said.

Agent Todd stood. "Why don't we go outside? You don't need to watch this."

The front door opened, and a group of men in suits entered, rushing past Evelyn.

"You can't do this," she said, her voice barely audible.

Agent Marnetti stopped in front of her. "We have a warrant." She snapped open a folded piece of paper and handed it to Evelyn.

Her phone beeped. A new text message from Susan Hayes. Georgina would like a full report once the FBI leaves your house. We'll finish our meeting at her house. Join if you can.

"It'll be easier for you if you come with me," Agent Todd said.

"You're just going to go through all of our things?"

"We'll only take what's pertinent to the case."

A man walked by with her laptop.

"That's mine. Christopher has nothing to do with that computer."

"He might have hidden things on it, Mrs. Brandt. We have to cover all the bases." Agent Todd ushered her toward the front door. "You can wait in my car."

Evelyn's head started to spin, her heart raced, and she couldn't get a good, deep breath. Not now. She turned her phone over in her hand. "I need to call my husband."

Agent Marnetti snatched the phone from her. "Not a good idea."

"He won't answer, Mrs. Brandt," Agent Todd said.

"How do you know that?"

"According to our director, he was arrested about fifteen minutes ago."

Evelyn couldn't process what she was hearing. "I just spoke with Christopher. He didn't say anything. Why didn't anyone call me?"

"We couldn't risk you destroying evidence. Now, please, let's go outside." Agent Todd opened the door.

As Evelyn stepped onto the porch, she heard her name being called from the yard. She glanced up and saw four television cameras all fixed on her.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh, Danika King. Copyright © 2016 Courtney Walsh. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Change of Heart 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Paper Hearts. It kept my interest and had a good ending, which is very important to me.
KayMKM More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart is a contemporary romance, but it is much more than that. It deals with many current issues facing women today. I love the main characters, Evelyn and Trevor. They are well developed and seem like real people. I appreciated Evelyn’s journey of self-discovery and Trevor’s growth into a more complete individual. The secondary characters are interesting and quirky, so they add quite a bit to the overall story. We met many of them in the book, Paper Hearts, but it isn’t necessary to read the preceding book. I do think reading the first book gives the reader a better visualization of the lovely, small town setting. If you enjoy a romance that has depth and contemporary issues, I think you will enjoy this book.
beloved569 More than 1 year ago
Yes. The author definitely delivered once again and I was captivated with this story. This was definitely a page turner, can't put down kind of book. Most certainly met all my criteria for a five star book!
NKBookReviewer More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart is the second book in author Courtney Walsh's Paper Heart Series. This 416 page contemporary Christian romance is published by Tyndale House Publishers. It has adventure, intrigue, romance, and inspiration. This is the story of Evelyn "Evie" Brandt and Trevor Whitney. Evie is the exwife of Senator Christopher Brandt. He is being investigated for embezzlement by the FBI who show up just when she is hosting an important luncheon. Trevor has had feelings for Evie since they were in high school but she married his former best friend so he buried the feelings. Evie goes to his farm to stay at his guest house during this turbulent time, prompted by his aunt. There is a guest house on it which is where she stays. She rediscovers herself there. This is their love story. It is a story of second chances and love. There are twists and turns making this page turner so interesting. Messages of inspiration and scripture are woven in this romance wonderfully. It teaches readers to rely on God, that He makes all things new, and a wealth of other beautiful lessons. The importance of volunteering is broached as are the topics of depression, alcohol, and scandal. All are handled well. The author has a nice writing style. It is very easy to follow her story and dialogue. Her plot is well thought, organized and written so that I was immediately invested in the characters and story. The characters are realistic, imperfect, lovable and become friends of mine. Some are feisty while other characters are unlikable. I loved sassy Ursula. The farm descriptions are vivid and took me there. I could feel the peacefulness and freshness there. I would recommend this book. This was a great Christian contemporary romance. It even has discussion questions which make it perfect for a reading group. I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars. I received a copy of this book from Book Club Network for my honest review.
ksnapier475 More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh. Evelyn Brandt has a life that is the envy of many, however, this does not mean it is a happy one. While hosting a dinner party, she is confronted of her husband's embezzling by the FBI. All at once she discovered who her true friends are and how to depend on herself. A friend gives her a place to go to in order to reflect which helps set her on a new and better life. Courtney Walsh has written other works which I have enjoyed. When I read the summary of this book, I knew that I would enjoy this one also. She has a way of writing which touches the heart, holds the drama of the moment and yet is honest. She was able to handle the difficult parts of this book so well that I just wanted to keep reading. I did not read the first book in the series but I did not feel left out or lost. I know this book will stay with me for quite a while. I was given this book by bookfun.org and Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
annelr More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart, second in the Paper Heart series by Courtney Walsh is a book of broken dreams and second chances…a wonderful fusion of faith and friendship during the chaos and tumult of a life turned on end. Evie, a wealthy politician's wife has her well-ordered world as a trophy wife shattered when her self-serving husband is arrested for embezzling. She is a woman who looks put together but ‘no one would guess that within, she’s falling apart.’ Trevor who has loved Evie since high-school comes to the rescue but with much angst and soul-searching. Can he trust his God to ‘help him navigate the consequences of the choices’ he has made? Secrets abound and hard decisions must be made. The author brings her characters to life very realistically and the story flows well and has a few twists and turns, keeping the reader's interest high. There is a bit of humor throughout as the Valentine Volunteers, a group of Evie’s friends, are back in the matchmaking game. Change of Heart is a story of forgiveness and grace and recognizing that no matter what is going on in our lives, God’s love is constant. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
CarolJo More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Change of Heart! Courtney Walsh has come up with an unusual story taking place in Loves Park, Colorado. You will love Trevor Whitney who has tried to do what is right even when life hasn't been what he wanted. Evelyn Brandt doesn't realize that she has lost her dreams while doing what she is told and worrying about what others think. You will be intrigued by this story of healing and forgiveness. I highly recommend this interesting book to others. I received my copy of Change of Heart from www.bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion.
Robbi44 More than 1 year ago
This story can be compared with the re-emergence of a butterfly from the cocoon. It is full of the human emotions that lead a person back to God. Evelyn Brandt lost her dreams and her own self identity when she became the wife of Colorado Senator, Christopher Brandt. He thought that he was above the law, so when he was arrested for embezzlement, he figured he’d find a way out, avoiding prison. However, as more and more of his private lifestyle became known, Evelyn was shocked, scorned by the public, and completely humiliated. The truth made their marriage a sham resulting in divorce. Trevor Whitney, a friend of both Christopher and Evelyn since high school, stepped up to help her so she could withdraw from the public eye. He gave her refuge in the guest house on his farm, but tried to stay out of her way to protect his own heart. From that point in the story, Mrs. Walsh began to weave the difficult path to surrender, to recapturing one’s dreams, and finding the second chance that God had for them. The reader cannot help but be drawn into the story as the characters are so believable.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart is a powerful story. A wonderful message of forgiveness and hope. I really felt a connection to Evelyn as I knew what she was going through. I would highly recommend this book. Especially for those who need a book about redemption and never giving up. 100 stars.
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
"Change of Heart" by Courtney Walsh was an excellent novel. I had a hard time putting this book down. I kept wanting to read more pages to see what was going to happen! This story line follows Evelyn Brandt. Evelyn is married to a senator. While Evelyn is having a luncheon, the FBI crash her party with the news that her husband is being arrested for embezzlement. Evelyn soon learns that her husband is not respentant and there are more things he has done. Evelyn withdraws from the public eye. While trying to keep out of the public eye, she is asked to help reimagine the Valentine hearts that the town does every year. Evelyn has to work with Trevor Whitney, the former best friend of her husband. Trevor has a secret that Evelyn never knews....he was in love with her all these years! This was the first book I read by Courtney Walsh, and it won't be the last! She is a very talented writer. She had the ability to keep me hooked from the first page to the last page. I would definitely recommend this book. I received this book from bookfun for my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart is the second book in the Paper Heart Series by Courtney Walsh. This is Evelyn's story. Evelyn Brandt, wife of Senator Christopher Brandt is hostessing a luncheon with influential ladies when the FBI comes to her door. Her husband is being investigated for embezzlement. Evelyn is forced to send the ladies home and the FBI goes through her home. Trevor Whitney's Aunt Lilian makes him go to Evelyn's aide. He takes Evelyn back to his farm and invites her to stay at his guest house. Trevor has loved Evelyn since high school but has had to force that love aside when she married his best friend. Trevor and Lilian have a farm where they raise vegetables and cattle that they sell. Trevor is trying to find other ways to make the farm profitable, Evelyn tries to help them. She comes up with the idea of having a community meal at their farm as well as opening their farm up to having people come pick their own produce. Evelyn grew up in a home when she never felt good enough. She thought she was getting away from this when she married Christopher. What she did not know, was that Christopher felt of her as a trophy wife that would help his political career and that he lived a double life. Evelyn tries to get on her with her life without Christopher but someone is leaking personal information to the press. Evelyn finds friendship with the Valentine Volunteers. This group of ladies make it their duty to find eligible singles and try to find suitable mates for them. They also work with the Valentines Day street hearts. This is a very good book. I like how Evelyn and Trevor are able to put their past behind them and work together on community projects. This story is a good reminder that God works through all things. That He is there during the worst times of our lives and will turn our lives around if we let Him. This story has mystery as well as romance. Even though it is part of a series, it stands alone very nicely. I received a copy of this book from Book Club Network for an honest review.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
There are a lot of things to love about this book. The plot itself is intriguing and then you bring in a cast of wonderful characters. If you read Courtney’s book Paper Hearts you will be overjoyed to revisit some characters from that book in this one. But there are also several new characters as well. Evelyn is a woman looking for her identity after everything comes down with her husband. His betrayal is deep and she quickly learns he can’t be trusted and doesn’t want to change. I love when she stood up to him. Trevor has always loved Evelyn but has tried to move on with little success, but there are added layers here that will keep you guessing as to how this will all play out. A great romance that will have your heart aching for the characters. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an hon
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
I was hooked to this story from the start. Evie and Trevor are written in a way that just draws you in, and I was totally invested in their outcome. Unrequited love has such a potential for passion and angst, which was fully tapped without crossing the line into melodramatic. I loved the themes of rediscovering your dreams and reinventing yourself as Evie realized that it was time for her to focus on herself and not her self-absorbed husband. The ladies that befriend her in her time of need each have their own quirks but provide support and help as Evie gets her feet back under her. I also enjoyed Trevor's aunt who gardens on his farm and gives him a little push when he needs it. It was quite the journey as Evie and Trevor's relationship ebbs and flows, shifts and changes, but always moving toward something special. (Thank you to Tyndale Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
CaraPutman More than 1 year ago
Courtney writes these amazing contemporary romance novels set in the Colorado mountains. That's enough to make me very happy from page one. Then you add in complex characters, a heart-tugging history, and sweet romance, and it is perfection. Absolute perfection. I adored Change of Heart. Courtney Walsh has a gift for creating novels that illustrate some aspect of love. With Paper Hearts, it was cherishing the good and the bad. With Change of Hearts it's pulling out the weeds that have grown up in our lives to rediscover who we are. It's also about true surrender of the dream of love. The story is so sweet and the characters compelling. I truly loved this story and can't wait for Courtney's next book. She truly has a style I enjoy with the secondary characters and setting that move a story from good to wonderful. This book is perfection for those who adore contemporary romance with complex underlying issues that must be dealt with, but doesn't quite hit a women's fiction tone. A lovely read.
Becky6 More than 1 year ago
Change of Heart is inspiring, romantic, and draws the reader closer to God. It's a story where characters will learn to forgive and let go. It's a story of redemption. Evelyn is also trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to become. She relearns her passions and learns to make real friends who will truly care about her well-being. It also has all of the feels. I laughed. I cried. I rejoiced. All of the characters of Loves Park felt as if they were my own friends and family. I wanted to scream at the characters when they did something stupid. Trust me, Evelyn and Trevor can be quite stubborn. However, they grow a lot through this story. Who they were in the beginning isn't who they are once the story closes. It really is a story about a change of heart. Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
PinkStar More than 1 year ago
Once again Courtney Walsh did not disappoint! I have read her Sweethaven series and Paper Hearts, loving each one. Change of Heart was a little different considering it's christian fiction. A few times I had to set the book aside and process the story line only because it was too much like my own life a few years back and it brought back a lot of unpleasant memories. I could relate to the main character Evelyn many times throughout this story. This form of betrayal is devastating and like Evelyn, I wanted to just disappear from my life. I too had turned away from God feeling He wasn't there for me in my most difficult times. With that being said, I am so glad I stuck with this story because in so many ways this story was very healing for me and has once again brought me back to my relationship with God. Ms. Walsh does a beautiful job of describing the characters and scenery. Maybe one day I will be just like Ursula - the tell it like it is older woman :) I would like to have seen a little more interaction with the two main characters from the first book in this series Paper Hearts but maybe they will all come together in another book?? The Note from the Author at the end touched me tremendously. I had tears streaming down my face as I read it and am so grateful for her message! I received this book from Tyndale Fiction for an honest review of this book.
Laura Bos More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with the little town of Loves Park, CO when I read Paper Hearts just over a year ago. So when Courtney Walsh’s new book, also set in Loves Park, came out, I couldn’t wait to read it! And, as with all of Courtney’s books, I was then sad to finish it because I loved the characters and story so much. While Change of Heart is a stand-alone book, I enjoyed the appearances by the familiar characters of Paper Hearts. The story centered on Evelyn, who had a very small role in Paper Hearts. Her struggles in Change of Heart were big and looming, but with her faith and her friends she persevered. It took no time at all to connect with all the characters and the story line, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Can’t wait to read more by Courtney!
jebsweetpea More than 1 year ago
Nutshell: Evelyn Brandt is the picture perfect wife of the young Colorado state senator, Christopher Brandt. She hosts the perfect parties, dresses perfectly, is the perfect wife with the perfectly decorated house and the perfect life. And she has no idea who she is and is dying inside. She dislikes hosting parties, her house doesn't feel like her home, she'd rather wear sweats and her husband is rarely home. Life looks fantastic looking in with the "perfect" image. All that swiftly comes to a halt while hosting a party of other government wives, the FBI shows up, ransacking her house and saying her husband has been arrested for embezzlement. Her perfect like shatters around her and she is left the outcast. She has one friend, Trevor Whitney, her husband's former best friend. And he gives her refuge on his farm. Evelyn now has to rebuild her life. After a swift divorce from a delusional husband who believed his lies to be truth, she seeks to find her former self. But there are secrets still lurking out there of which come to light and may just shatter hearts all over again. Pro's: Such a sweet, sweet book. Some would call it fluff, but I would say it is beyond fluff. This book is more about rediscovery. Think of a soft warm summer breeze through the heart of a story line that is filled with tender words which weave a story of love. That is this book. Con's: The minor characters seemed to have just been plopped in to the storyline and seemed a bit out of place. Recommendation: If you enjoyed Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh, you will definitely enjoy this book! Tyndale Publishing sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.
justmeWY More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much that I read it in one evening. I have read every book Courtney Walsh has written, and I have never been disappointed. The amazing character development she began in Paper Hearts continues on in this second book in the series. Evelyn Brandt's world comes crashing down around her when, during a society luncheon, the FBI shows up on her doorstep with news that her husband (a Colorado State Senator) has been arrested for embezzlement. As the story unfolds, she discovers her husband has many other hidden secrets. After hiding from the world to try to regain her footing, Evelyn begins to slowly find herself again. She discovers she is stronger than she realized, and gains an inner confidence she never had. Her friends and her faith help her overcome many obstacles and setbacks. I highly recommend this beautifully written series.
SusanSnodgrassBookworm More than 1 year ago
Put plainly, this was an excellent book! I devoured it. Courtney Walsh goes back to the small town of Loves Park for this second installment of her Paper Hearts series. Evelyn Brandt, wife of senator Christopher Brandt is shocked when the FBI come to her door to search her house. Her husband has just been arrested for embezzlement and it seems that her life has pretty much been a lie for the last ten years. Evelyn withdraws from the public eye, living in the guest house of Trevor Whitney, her husband's former best friend. Trevor is short with her and she wonders why he is helping her when he can't even be civil to her. Walsh has created a town that makes the reader want to actually visit and the inhabitants are just the folks you'd want to see in church on Sundays and meet on the street while going about your daily business. I especially love the Valentine Volunteers, the group of ladies who go about doing good and matchmaking. The spiritual lessons here are tremendous, too. Surrender. To God. The only way to do it right. In her notes at the end of the book, Walsh says, "...this book is about surrendering our will to whatever God has for us. Even when the answers aren't ones we want to hear. Even when everything seems to go completely wrong. Even when every choice we make seems to be opposite of what we should've made." And again, 'I don't want to be the one who has everything all figured out because it leaves no room for God to work in me.' Wow. Pretty powerful stuff that. I've also learned that, even though we may think it is not the way we want it to be, being in God's will is the absolute best place to be. Always. I highly recommend this book. It's worth every penny I paid for it. And I'd do it again.
kp68 More than 1 year ago
On the opening pages of Change of Heart, written by Courtney Walsh, you meet Evelyn Brand as she is preparing for a society luncheon. Evelyn is barely keeping it together in the midst of these catty women in her home when the doorbell begins ringing. Two FBI agents are suddenly standing face-to-face with Evelyn at her front door! Evelyn cannot believe it when she learns that her husband, the up-and-coming Colorado senator, Christopher Brand, is being arrested for embezzlement! Evelyn does not know which way to turn; however, she is so thankful when Trevor Whitney shows up on the scene to whisk her away. Trevor is a former friend of both Evelyn and Christopher, who has stayed away since they married. Evelyn is not the only one who does not which way to turn, Trevor has also spent years trying to hide the unresolved feelings he has for Evelyn! When Evelyn learns that her husband has also been involved with other women, both before and throughout their marriage, she must stop and take a hard look at who she presently is and who she wants to become. After Evelyn becomes shunned by the public at large, it seems her only true friends are Trevor and the philanthropic group, the Valentine Volunteers! Between these two sources, Evelyn slowly seems to find herself again as she walks through the rubble her life has become! Will Evelyn end up following her long-lost dream of becoming a great artist, or will she finally discover the love that Trevor has had for her all of these years? It is interesting to see which road Evelyn will chose, or if God has even bigger plans to bring both to fruition! I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased http://penlessreview.blogspot.com/