Anchored Hearts | By Priscilla Oliveras
Book Review | Contemporary Romance
Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years–not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind–the one who was supposed to be by his side all along…
Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave–not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as motherly meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?
Narrative and Plot
Anchored Hearts is a second-chance romance that follows the high school sweethearts Anna Maria and Alejandro. I always enjoy love stories where we get both perspectives. It gives better insight into the story and depth of the characters.
The plot is pretty much your basic romantic comedy. However, there is ample history between the main characters that justify the second chance. The pacing of the story was great. It just took you through this holiday destination while telling a love story.
Characters and Conflicts
Annamaria and Alejandro blame each other for the failure of their relationship in the past. While Annamaria is finally following her passion, Alejandro is struggling to find his place back home after he left everything behind to chase his dreams.
The two main characters have quite opposite individual character arcs. While we can clearly see Alejandro’s arc developing, Annamaria’s individual journey felt passive. Of course, she is taking steps to grow, but I missed her moment of glory like the one Alejandro got.
Also, as an Indian woman who grew up with meddling but “well-meaning” adults, the meddling matriarchs didn’t get any points from me. It feels like the kids are being smothered (tracking the location of your adult children is not cute!). Many cultures with overbearing parents are now at a stage where they are struggling to find a place while balancing expectations. So, to romanticize that as meaning well is not ok for me.
The chemistry between the two leads is great, and there is so much tension that just keeps building up. It all makes for a great reading experience.
However, as a story, there are no big revelations in the end. In short, there is no equivalent to a last-minute epiphany and rushing to the airport kind of scene. Something like Bunny at the airport in the climax scene from the Hindi film “Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani” and realizing where he wants to spend the New Year’s Eve.
This one didn’t have that. As a reader, it would have been a much more satisfying journey if there was a great payoff about how they are both in a different place now and things could actually work this time other than because the story says so.
Overall, I enjoyed the premise, the banter, and the characters in the book. This is a fun beach read if you are looking for a light read with a bit of depth. I might not re-read it, but I would recommend it to someone taking a beach vacation.