Author: Emily Madden
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Publication Date: August 19, 2019
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher and Beauty and Lace
RRP: $29.99

Heart of the Cross is the latest offering of Australian author Emily Madden and it’s one I have been looking forward to ever since my first glimpse at the cover, months ago. I loved her previous novels and in my opinion her writing just gets better.

Already, I’m behind with my reviews and it’s been a while, and 2 more books, since I finished this one.

Heart of the Cross is the somewhat heartbreaking tale of three generations of strong Hart women spanning decades and continents.

We begin in Ireland in 1959 with a young Rosie Hart, newly married and a new mother, biding her time until she can cross the seas to build a new life in Australia with her husband. The pair married quickly before he left to prepare the way for their new life together and it’s three long years before she heads off to meet him. The husband she finds in Kings Cross is not the one that left her in Ireland and Rosie is forced to fight for the future she wants for her child, and herself.

Brianna is Rosie’s granddaughter, a photo journalist who travels the world for work and hasn’t called Sydney home in years. She returns in devastating circumstances after the death of her beloved grandmother in 2017 and finds there was a lot more to Rosie Hart than she ever could have imagined.

Maggie Hart inhabits the neon nightlife of the early 1980’s, daughter of a very protective Rosie who has big plans for Maggie’s future, but Maggie decides to forge her own path.

Heart of the Cross is told across three timelines and there is a sense of mystery throughout the story as we try to tie together the three very different versions of Rosie Hart. Madden expertly weaves the three timelines into a cohesive story that slowly unravels the enigma that is Rosie Hart and the life experiences that transformed the bright and hopeful young wife into the business savvy and beloved grandmother.

Ultimately Heart of the Cross is a tale of strength and resilience but it is also a tale filled with heartbreak for three generations of Hart women. Madden managed to draw out the final pieces until very late in the story, so it wasn’t until the end that we had the full picture of how Rosie became the woman she was.

I was also left with questions because there was an aspect of the story that cropped up and played out in the background that was then tied up too neatly, seemingly creating a lot of stress for little information. I think it was integral to the story so it couldn’t have been left out but maybe explored in a little more depth.

Maggie lived in quite an infamous time for the Cross so there were some exciting little cameos that had me wondering how things would play out.

Overall Heart of the Cross is a tale with an awful lot of heart and it had me near tears, if not in them, more than once. I was definitely left wondering how much heartbreak is too much for one heart to bear. Rosie was a fascinating woman with a lot of stories to tell, it’s just a shame that those who came after her couldn’t find out about them in her own words.

Heart of the Cross is a fascinating exploration of Kings Cross, family, relationships and the many different versions of ourselves there are in a lifetime. A beautiful read for lovers of historicals, multiple timelines, love stories…. there’s something in there for everyone and I loved it.

Thank you to the Publisher for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

This was read for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2019… book number… I’m not sure, I lost count. But perhaps I best chase them down. 😉

Emily Madden can be found on her Website and Facebook.