About the Book:
A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected – and the man she enlists to help her – in this heartfelt new romance by the bestselling author of The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang.
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her long-time boyfriend announces that he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex-he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just begun to understand.
However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family, she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that they also have to fight for themselves.
Published by Allen & Unwin
Released 31st August 2021
Five heartfelt stars to The Heart Principle by the amazingly talented Helen Hoang. I have read and loved Helen’s previous novels, The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test, but this one, just wow. So much raw emotion and depth to the characters and their struggles. Quan Diep is a character who has appeared in a supporting role in Helen’s previous two novels and it was wonderful to see him get his own story out there into the world this time around. He’s always been a bit of a favourite of mine. I’ll just chip in now though and point out that while these novels are linked through mutual characters, they are not a series in the sense that you need to read each one to appreciate the next. They are standalone stories, but I guarantee that once you have read one you will be rushing to read them all.
Anna and Quan were just an amazing couple from the get-go, even before they became a couple. While this novel is billed as romance, it’s definitely not your standard romance and doesn’t follow the traditional romance story arc either. Both characters had things they were struggling with, things they needed to work through, things they needed to take care of each other about. What I really enjoyed was the honesty between this couple, right from the outset, and it was apparent just how well suited they were when you saw them interacting with others compared to how they interacted with each other – particularly in Anna’s case.
Anna’s story is such an important one. It deals with the diagnosis of Autism in adult females and how this being missed for so long can have such profound effects upon a woman’s life, particularly in terms of how women form coping techniques, such as masking, that can eventually take a heavy toll upon both their mental and physical health. There’s a lot of raw and very deep emotion within this novel that to me, really took it to the next level within the genre of romance fiction. This novel also takes a very close look at being a carer, specifically within your own family for a close family member, the toll this takes on yourself, the relationships between the family members doing the caring, and the impact upon the person being cared for, particularly if they are unable to clearly make their wishes known. There were many heartbreaking scenes within this novel that just rang so true. Even more impactful is the author note where we learn just how autobiographical many parts of this novel were.
The Heart Principle is a standout novel that I highly recommend, even if, like me, you are not usually inclined towards reading romance novels. I am genuinely excited to see what Helen Hoang writes next, she really has firmly inserted herself onto my auto buy list of favourite authors. Bravo Helen Hoang, this novel was worth waiting for.
‘I need her to love me enough to acknowledge when she’s hurt me and try not to do it again. I need her to attempt to understand me. I need her to accept my differences. Hiding and masking, trying to please other people, trying to please her, has been destroying me, and I can’t live that way anymore.’
Thanks to the publisher for the copy.