Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review of Take Heart by Willa Okati


Rating; 2.5 stars out of 5

takeheart_exlarge_PNG-210x336Dr Brendan West arrives at St. Hawk’s Medical Center for two reasons: first, because he’s onboard as a temp in the ER to cover for another doctor on leave, and second, because he’s heard great things about this area— stories that made him feel that there’s a charm to the town that brings good things to good people. He starts to feel the peace and serenity of the area and enjoy the charm of the town but is afraid to jump in wholeheartedly because he knows his time here is only temporary.

He meets Evan, a heart transplant patient who’s there for an annual checkup and is immediately attracted, then disappointed that Evan is taken when his partner, Griff, walks in. Griff is sending signals that Brendan is afraid he might be misinterpreting. He feels Griff checking him out but that couldn’t be—because he and Evan are a couple, aren’t they? It turns out that Griff and Evan have been known to take on a third over the years and they would like Brendan to join them for a night, or more, of ménage. He finally takes them up on their offer, and it’s more than he could have hoped for. They want him to stay permanently, but he’s sets his boundaries knowing he’s going to be leaving. The story is mostly about that push-pull struggle to decide what to do, i.e. self-inflicted angst as Brendan hovers between wanting to commit to them and wanting to stay detached.

It’s hard to put into words why this story didn’t grab me, but the easiest way to describe it is that it was as if I went to see a movie where the characters spoke quietly in short, staccato sentences, grunts, and mumbles, and the videographer set the scene too dark to be able to make out which characters were speaking, and then to top it all off, it was hard to see what they were actually doing at the time. I had to reread passages and entire pages multiple times to verify who was speaking. I also had trouble visualizing exactly what position each character was in during the sex scenes, but that may have been complicated by the fact that I wasn’t sure who was speaking so it was just hard to imagine. And why have a sex scene if the reader can’t visualize it?

There were many secondary characters in the story so I kept expecting that some action would take place with them, but they either weren’t important to the story or the interaction didn’t take place on page. One example is Brendan’s boss, Dr. Gabriel. We see him outside of office hours but the “important meeting” he’s supposed to have with Brendan is glossed over in that scene. Most men in the story were apparently gay as well, so perhaps the author was introducing characters who will be featured in future installments of this St. Hawk’s Medical Center series.

And my last issue is that I never really understood why Evan and Griff felt that Brendan was so different that they wanted to make the offer to join them permanent. They certainly had no reason to do so from the beginning since they really didn’t even know him at first, and they had previously played with other men in a threesome, so why he was special just didn’t seem to make sense. Perhaps if the author had filled in more on their background or indicated in some way that they had been searching for a permanent third for a long time, it would have made a bit more sense when they got together with him.

The more I write this review, the more I realize that it feels like I’m trying to remember details of a fuzzy dream, and they aren’t coming to me. I’m going to assume that’s because of my above description of how difficult it was to follow the storyline. So I’ll just end the review by saying that if you love ménage, you might like this, but it’s not something that I would recommend to others looking for a romance novel with a strong storyline.

Cover Art by Posh Gosh depicts a handsome, bare-chested man with a scenic landscape background. Although the cover is attractive, it does not depict details of the story.

Sales Links:  Totally Bound Books    All Romance (ARe)   Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

Novella, word count: 34341
ISBN: 9781784303891
genres: gay, menage, contemporary, series

St. Hawk’s Medical Series:

  • Take Heart
  • Give Chase

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