***** (5 stars) A wonderful book – a perfect book boyfriend, emotional connections, and conflict.
I have finally found a character that I would consider to be a book boyfriend. Cooper is the perfect book boyfriend. He is perfect because he is not a goody two shoes or a knight in shining armor—a character that is so perfect he seems unreal. All the things with Cooper at the end add to his being perfect. Perfect isn’t really perfect – he had issues, just like everyone else. He didn’t always make the best, or right, choice, but he was willing to admit he messed up, and would make the changes he needed to. Essentially, he is perfectly imperfect.
Cooper has both strengths and weaknesses. Heather Dahlgren did a wonderful job in creating a character that has both positives and negatives. Cooper might have several amazing qualities such as the amount of responsibilities he has taken on at a young age, taking care of his mom, the relationships with his friends, his caring for Emma, and the way he treats Emma, but he also has weaknesses and personal conflicts. One of his biggest weaknesses is something that he has overcome, yet still struggles with, and added to his character and showed more strength. Cooper had several personal conflicts going on, each one handled in different ways, but they showed the type of person he was and that everyone has something they have to deal with that could affect them personally, as well as affect their relationships.
I loved Emma’s character. Yes, she is young and you can see that with some of the things she does, but she is a sweetheart, and is someone I could see being friends with and relating to. She has some issues, primarily with trust, but there is a reason for it; however, she recognizes these issues, and even when the past catches up with the present and she has moments of doubt, you can still see her growth in her responses and actions. I enjoyed seeing Emma’s personal growth with how she handled herself and the situations that came up.
Heather did a wonderful job with developing a connection between readers and the characters in Dancing Hearts. There were several times that I felt the same emotions the characters did, whether it was sadness and crying, anger, or happiness. I particularly enjoyed how with a few words, Heather showed (not told) readers exactly what kind of person a character was. Not only were the characters well-developed, but the sub-plots were equally well-developed and added to the main plot. In many ways, the sub-plots were crucial to the relationships and development of the characters.
There were a few difficult moments for me in this book. One of the personal issues that Cooper and Emma had to deal with centered on Cooper’s mom, and it hit close to home. I can honestly say that Heather Dahlgren did a wonderful job in the descriptions of what was going on without giving away exactly what was going on with Cooper’s mom. The details she gave were true and correct, yet she handled it in a tactful way, was not negative, and once the final outcome was revealed, everything fell into place.
Overall, I felt Dancing Hearts had it all—an amazing couple, steamy scenes, emotional connections to the characters, issues the characters had to work out both alone and together, moments of suspense and wondering if Cooper and Emma would have their HEA, and an ending that tied everything together.