Review

The Breath of Dawn

by Kristen Heitzmann

Two years ago, Morgan Spencer lost his wife to a tragic accident. The only thing that has kept him from falling off the deep end of depression is his two-year-old daughter, Olivia. Morgan and Livie currently reside with Morgan’s brother, Rick, sister-in-law Noelle, and nephew Liam in Colorado. Noelle has become like a mother to Livie, but Morgan feels the time has come for him to start breaking away from the only stability his daughter has ever known and move back home to California. But he dreads facing the life he shared with his late wife.

Four years ago, Quinn Reilly testified against Markham Wilder, a man who cheated her father’s church out of a large amount of money. Her testimony put the man in prison and alienated Quinn from her family. She moved away from home and now runs an eBay store, selling items she finds at estate sales. This allows her the anonymity she needs. She suspects it’s only a matter of time before the man she sent away is released from prison and will seek revenge, and she’s not taking any chances.

Sure enough, Quinn is shaken when she starts receiving threatening texts and calls from Markham, who is now apparently a free man. He’s obviously determined to make Quinn pay for what she did.

"THE BREATH OF DAWN is one of those books that is extremely hard to put down. Kristen Heitzmann does a fabulous job of creating characters so real you can’t bear to leave them. The storyline is imaginative, layered with multi-faceted elements and sub-plots that keep you hanging on..."

While visiting a local estate sale, Quinn meets the daughter of the deceased, who is from out-of-state and overwhelmed with the daunting task of cleaning out her mother’s home. Quinn offers to do it for her, in exchange for items she can sell online. She is soon introduced to neighbors Rick, Noelle and Morgan. She strikes up a friendship with Noelle, who invites her to their ranch for Thanksgiving. After a delicious turkey dinner, a blizzard hits and snows them in. Quinn has no choice but to stay in one of the Spencer cabins until the roads are clear enough for her to get home. It is during this stay that she finds herself more and more drawn to Morgan.

So begins the romance. Only it’s not your typical love story. Although Morgan and Quinn are attracted to one another, they each have personal issues of their own causing them to resist. But when it becomes clear that Quinn is in real danger, Morgan comes up with a solution that shocks everyone, especially Quinn.

THE BREATH OF DAWN is one of those books that is extremely hard to put down. Kristen Heitzmann does a fabulous job of creating characters so real you can’t bear to leave them. The storyline is imaginative, layered with multi-faceted elements and sub-plots that keep you hanging on: Quinn’s past, involving a church scandal, her sister’s mental instability, and her parents’ twisted view of reality. Add to that a house holding insane secrets and an unconventional romance, and you have the makings of a thoroughly gripping story.

Clocking in at over 400 pages, this is a hefty read, but I found myself disappointed when it ended and I had to say goodbye to Quinn and Morgan. The only consolation was discovering that THE BREATH OF DAWN is the third book in a series, and knowing I could go back and read the others that came before it. I did not feel as though I missed anything by reading this book first, as it definitely stood on its own. I want to read the others not so much because I want the backstory I’m sure is included in A RUSH OF WINGS and THE STILL OF NIGHT, but simply because of Heitzmann’s ability to tell a riveting story. She expertly writes with a smooth, almost poetic style, balancing just the right amounts of drama, suspense, and even humor.

In this reviewer’s opinion, THE BREATH OF DAWN is romantic suspense at its finest, and I look forward to reading more from this outstanding author.

Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on February 13, 2013

The Breath of Dawn
by Kristen Heitzmann