Book Review: Cross My Heart by Pamela Cook

Cross My Heart…

About the Book:

When a promise kept means a life is broke…

Tessa De Santis’s child-free marriage in inner-city Sydney is ordered and comfortable, and she likes it that way.

When tragedy strikes and her childhood friend Skye Whittaker dies, Tess is bound to honour a promise to become foster-mother to Skye’s ten-year-old daughter, Grace, throwing her life upside down.

Leaving her husband and work-driven life behind, Tess travels to an isolated property where the realities of her friend’s life – and death – hit hard. The idyllic landscape and an unexpected form of therapy ease her fears, and her relationship with Grace begins to blossom.

But a secret from her earlier life with Skye refuses to remain hidden, and Tess is forced into a decision that will either right the wrongs of the past, or completely destroy her future.

Cross My Heart is a haunting story of guilt, redemption and friendship set in the beautiful central west of New South Wales.

My Thoughts:

Not being a reader of rural fiction, I hadn’t previously read any of Pamela Cook’s novels. If Cross My Heart is anything to go by, then this might just be an oversight on my part. In this moving story, Pamela reminds us of the fragility of children and the elasticity of friendship.

I found this novel profoundly moving and despite the sadness that this story is built upon, surprisingly heartwarming and life affirming. Dealing with trauma is difficult, but when you’re navigating your way through it with a child you barely know, then a whole different set of rules is required. What I loved most about this novel was the very human element, the realistic way in which the characters responded to events and situations. It was instinctive, and as such, leant great credibility to the story itself.

I am particularly fond of novels that feature horses and their ability to assist with helping people, so I was very engaged with this aspect of the story and impressed with the knowledge of these practices that was infused into the narrative. I felt the trauma revealed within the latter part of the story was handled with sensitivity and despite the distressing nature of it, Pamela’s treatment of this topic meant that I was not distressed while reading it. I really appreciate this because I find at times that there is a tendency for authors to employ the ‘shock value’ technique when dealing with difficult issues. Personally, I favour novels that choose the more sensitive path, which in my opinion, can often have greater impact, as is the case here.

Cross My Heart is a novel that I will happily recommend to all readers. I have certainly added Pamela Cook to my list of authors to follow and read from here on in. This one kept me up late and reading while on the go – one of ‘those’ novels, you know, the one we can’t put down.


Thanks is extended to the author for providing me with a copy of Cross My Heart for review.

Cross My Heart
Released September 2019

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