Book Reviews, Books

Book Review: Hawthorne & Heathcliff by R.K. Ryals

Author: R.K. Ryals (Website | Twitter)
Publication Date: August 2, 2015



Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.

Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.

Until she meets his shoe.

Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.

His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.



You know you’ve read a good book when you end up musing about your life and how you’re living it. Thank you, R.K. Ryals for crafting, writing and sharing this story to us. Hawthorne and Heathcliff is beautifully written in a poetic and philosophical manner. I was a few chapters in, when the first batch of tears and sniffing came in. There were moments where it got my head and heart spinning from all the metaphors, reading between the lines and the emotions flowing out of the characters.

“The unknown is exciting. Not knowing what you really want to do is an adventure. It’s a chance to go out there and find out what you want, to learn about yourself. Not everyone has it figured out, you know.”

To be honest, it scared the crap out of me to continue reading the book. Why? It’s because behind the story of the main character, there’s just so much truth in it. Truths that all of us can relate to. Truths that seem to scare us but needed to be told or be realized by me, by all of us. Hawthorne and Heathcliff captivates you, douses you with certain truths about life and got your mind and heart working. If you can just look at my Kindle copy, I highlighted so many quotes that resonated to me and touched my heart so deeply.

“Life is downright scary, and if you survive it, no matter how easy you have it, then you’re brave. You don’t live life, you tackle it, jump on top it, and pound the shit out of the earth all while it rains around you.”

It gave me goosebumps how Hawthorne’s mind works and how she looks at things. I might have to say that her character truly helped to look at the littlest of things and gestures in a new light. She touched my heart. Heathcliff touched my heart. Uncle Gregor did. Mams did. Actually, every character in this book left imprints of themselves in my heart. That’s what great about this book, there were so many layers into it and you cannot just wait to unwrap it page by page. It wasn’t just about a story of a girl who was abandoned by her parents and her issues over it but there were other factors in this book that affected the main character and in turn, surprised me. Like her wonderful relationship with her Uncle Gregor, her childhood memories of him, her thoughts about being abandoned, how “Heathcliff” came into her life, brought in changes and how she welcomed & accepted those changes, Heathcliff’s family, the towns people and other relationships Hawthorne gained along the way. See?

“Sometimes love isn’t forever. Sometimes it’s just moments in your life that teach you. If it’s the forever after kind of love, it’ll find you again. If it isn’t, don’t let a broken heart break you. Let it make you love harder. Love is a mistake worth making.”

Hawthorne and Heathcliff is an emotional journey about rediscovery, life, loss, healing, valuing your family and the people who surrounds you and so much more. I’m giving this book a 4.75 stars only because I would’ve wanted an epilogue 2.0 that took place years after the epilogue happened. I would just want to know whatever happened to the characters that I came to love.

For my sake, please do read this book.

PS: Looking at mirrors and shoes won’t ever be same again.



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