My Review of Catherine Lane’s ‘Heartwood’

Good morning and welcome to you all!  Today I’m sharing my review of Catherine Lane’s ‘Heartwood.’  I found out about this adventure from the author herself and want to thank her.  This is another story you don’t want to miss, especially if you love some mystery.  Come on in and join us.


Beth Walker is a writer who has a lot of books under her name. In fact, the whole little town where she lives worships her work. Unfortunately, she is a recluse with no friends. I could see that underneath her protective armor, she is smart, witty, and has a caring heart. She is intelligent and a success in many people’s eyes, including mine. One can’t help but wonder what happened.

The story backtracks to 1960 when Beth was in her youth. At the time, she is a bit naïve and unsure of her life’s ambitions. All she knows is the sheltered life she lives with her birth family. During the day she helps out with the family business. Deep inside she has a dream that is itching to come forth.

Soon Beth is introduced to an older actress, Dawn. Dawn and her husband have just bought a nice house in the little town that Beth lives in and he wanted her to have a companion so he hires her.   He is off filming for weeks on end.

Dawn is in an arranged marriage and doesn’t love her husband; her heart is sad, yet she does what she can to keep up appearances. At the same time, they are having a baby together. Dawn is scared, yet I felt a motherly vibe from her and know that she was going to love motherhood. The author did an excellent job describing Dawn’s emotions during her pregnancy.

Dawn grew up in a loveless household, so it is no wonder that she found a career where she could act out the emotions she was never allowed to show growing up. At the same time, I get that she resents being a known person in the entertainment business. This would explain why the big house in the unknown town.

The sensual scenes were very romantic, and hot. The descriptions flow just right and they really tugged at my heartstrings. The love is definitely there which really deepens the scenes.

Then the story returns to the present. A mystery comes forth that kept me on edge the entire ride.   As it unfolds so does the intensity of the mood. Needless to say be prepared for page turning scenes. The way they were described pulled me in and got my adrenaline going.

Bring in Nikka. She is a go-getter who lives by her father’s words, “Winners embrace opportunity, big or small.” She is a mid-level associate for a law firm and works for a Lea Truman, an attorney who is handling Beth Walker’s affairs to the best of everyone’s knowledge.

The characters are so well written, that I was turned off by one of them, right from the start. Immediately, I felt her razor sharp nails as they scratched the chalkboard.

Maggie is a former personal chef for Ms. Walker whom I feel was wrongfully terminated. She was perfect for the main character as she cared for her wellbeing and went out of her way to make her meals special. However, Maggie is independent and doesn’t like to work for too many people. I can see how she may have ruffled the feathers of others along the way.

Maggie always attacked life as if she were climbing a mountain: finding her route as she moves forward, only looking up to the top, not waiting for others to catch up. She is fearless and doesn’t let rules stop her in any way. Once she makes up her mind, she finds all the hoops to go through.

Nikka and Maggie don’t know it, but their love and dedication toward Beth, deeply impresses upon her heart. Their actions and words are genuine and not guided by some self-fulfilling agenda. Their strengths as a team are shown in various places throughout the story.

Another strong supporting character, Josie, emerges during the story. Her heart is as big as the world and she is not afraid to go the extra mile to accomplish what she sets out to do. Josie is someone everyone deserves to have as a friend as she is the real deal. Her role is small, but important and with her come secrets from the past.

Be prepared. There are a few scenes that were very disturbing and it took me some time to get through them. One truth that came forward got me crying because I know how messed up things are. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt and was crushed when I read about the extent of the madness in the story. What was frightening was that the scenes were so real that I felt like I was there witnessing them.

I am waiting for a sequel to this story.

I would suggest that you carve out some time to read the book and not feel rushed. Keep a box of tissues nearby as there are some scenes where you’re going to need them. When I was finished I was left thinking about how a single moment can change the course of life. Everyone deserves fulfillment and love and Beth Walker was full of love and I enjoyed watching her emerge as the strong woman she is. She is her own hero and should be proud of herself.


Here is an excerpt:

After lunch, Beth and Dawn strode deep into the redwoods behind the house. Tall trees towered over them, their branches creating a protective canopy over the green moss and ferns and a little path that disappeared deep into the grove. Afternoon sunlight filtered down among the leaves and dappled their shoulders and heads with an almost magical glow. 

Dawn stretched out her arms and whirled around, spinning in the light. “This is like a fairyland. I can hear the music. The trees are singing.” 

“So you can read plants as well as people?” Beth cringed. Had she gone too far? 

Dawn laughed and patted the nearest tree, a grand giant disappearing into the blue sky. “You don’t need any special skills to know how happy they are here. You probably just have stopped noticing. You’ve lived here all your life, right?” 

“Is it that obvious?” 

“Yeah, it is. Look at you. You walk as if you belong here. Nothing timid about the way you move in the forest. You should move through life like that.”

Five Stars.

Until Next Time,


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