THE ARTISAN HEART Dean Mayes
Perfect 10
Central Avenue Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-77168-142-1 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-77168-143-8 (E-book)
September 2018
Contemporary Romance

Adelaide and Walhalla, Australia

Doctor Hayden Luschcombe, an emergency paediatrician in the city of Adelaide in the South Australia territory, is married to event planner Bernadette Magnion. As he is about to leave the hospital for one of her events, for which he has promised he would arrive on time, an emergency calls him. It is not the first time Bernadette had found him wanting, but when he comes home and finds her in bed with another man, he leaves his house. Then another emergency has Hayden fending off the attack of a father whose daughter Hayden suspects suffers not from an accidental failure to test the bath's water temperature, as claimed by the mother, but a purposeful scalding of the little girl's lower body. The hospital releases him from duty until the case can be sorted out. Escaping his life, Hayden travels to the village of Walhalla in the mountains of New South Wales. Here is the cottage where his parents lived, where he grew up, and which he closed up three years ago when his father died.

While working on the cottage's leaking roof, a small girl, this one deaf, attacks Hayden. He knows sign language because his mother was deaf. He learns her name is  Genevieve , and he recognizes her mother, Isabelle Sampi, who as a young girl taunted and tormented the young, shy child Hayden. She is a baker now, trying to reestablish a bakery in an old and dilapidated nineteenth century building. What neither Hayden nor Isabelle knows is how much they share, including love for the mischievous but kind and intelligent  Genevieve .

The Artisan Heart is a riveting romance whose protagonists have troubled pasts but find the courage to start again in the small, close-knit community of Walhalla. Serious danger comes from Isabelle's past, and certainly Bernadette has an agenda to encourage Hayden to continue their marriage, which creates some great drama. Author Dean Mayes, who lives in Adelaide, wonderfully presents the Australian setting. While many romances share some plot points, Hayden's perspective made this story different and unique. All the characters in THE ARTISAN HEART read as real people, another wonderful aspect of the story that earns it a Perfect 10.

Robin Lee