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My Foolish Heart

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My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren

Reviewed by Sarah Varland

"I love how the lessons the characters are learning in life parallel the lessons they’re learning in football, like in The Blind Side."

Isadora Presley runs a late night talk radio show called “Miss Foolish Heart” and dishes out sage advice on falling in love and dating. The only problem? She’s never actually done either. Traumatized by a tragic accident two years before that left her mother dead and her football coach father in a nursing home, Issy is essentially trapped in her home and garden. She’s afraid to push her boundaries and venture out into the world. Her best friend Lucy, who always does the right thing, helps to take care of her. Lucy’s own life is predictable and slightly monotonous, until the boy who broke her heart in high school comes back to town to try to earn his right to coach the hometown football team. With Seb’s reappearance, Lucy’s life becomes a little more complicated as she battles regrets from the past with her hope to rekindle a relationship with Seb in the future.

Issy’s own world gets a little wider when a new neighbor moves in and they bond over a stray dog. Her neighbor Caleb—who’s in town to try out for the position of head football coach— has his own scars that he’s not willing to talk about, which helps them relate to each other. Issy has always said that “your perfect love might be right next door,” and she’s starting to see how true that can be as she starts to fall for Caleb. There’s only one problem with this new relationship of Issy’s—as the relationship between Caleb and herself deepens, so does the relationship Issy has with a caller on her show, BoyNextDoor. As Issy tries to sort out her feelings for this caller and her neighbor, Lucy is fighting to save her business and the two friends find themselves on different sides of the tryouts for football coach. Lucy wants Seb to get the job so that he’ll stay in town and feel like he’s redeemed himself, and Issy wants Caleb to get it because it’s his dream.

Football movies have always been some of my favorites. I love how the lessons the characters are learning in life parallel the lessons they’re learning in football, like in The Blind Side. I’ve never read a football book, so I was surprised to see football play such a major role in My Foolish Heart. I’m a huge football fan and personally loved the detailed football references but one of the things I appreciated about this story is the way Susie has made football accessible to the average reader who might not understand the finer points of the game. It’s such a major part of the characters’ lives and she has made the parallels easy to understand.

The concept behind the story seemed fresh and original to me, which I liked, and the plot took twists and turns that I didn’t expect. I found myself torn between several different ways I wanted the book to end, and the way it ended satisfied all of those. The only thing I could have asked for more of was more time with the characters—there were four point of view characters and I would have loved if two of them could have had their own book where their story was told. But I can see how their parallel stories needed to all be told together and hopefully there will be more Deep Haven books and I can get my fix of Issy, Lucy, Caleb and Seb and their cozy lakeside town.

Sarah VarlandSarah Varland lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and two dogs. When she's not busy teaching high school English or walking around with her nose stuck in a book, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors doing things like hiking and kayaking. Sarah is currently pursuing publication as a novelist and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can read some of her thoughts on life, books, and the ministry fishbowl at her blog.