Allyson Parker would do anything for her younger cousin Connie, even take part in the reality TV show she hopes will jumpstart her career. Ally agrees to be one of the four Queens the show begins with. Only one of them will end up being the Queen of Hearts, (hopefully) proposing to the love of her life, one of the women vying for their interest. Her competition is heiress Virginia Hazelton-Jackson, tech millionaire Rene Santos-Dumont and Pamela, Connie’s sister, a hotshot criminal lawyer in Chicago. Eighteen years older than Connie, Ally and Pam grew up together, first sharing a room then going to the same boarding school. Only college drew them apart, and they’ve always remained close. Ally, used to being overlooked in favour of her prettier and – on the surface – more successful cousin, plans on being eliminated after the first round. She’ll be more than happy to go back to her job as a helicopter pilot and the new airline she and her best friend and business partner KC have bought. However, nothing in reality TV is real and life has a way of getting in the way of the best laid plans anyway.
In the About the Author and on her website, Sheryl Wright explains: “Authors sculpt their works like potters turning out everything from cheap earthenware to fine Wedgewood. While I would love to boast of the skills needed to turn out a literary masterpiece, I find I’m better suited applying myself to the craft in a more approachable way. Think of a potter at a craft fair. Someone with unique and colourful creations you can surprisingly afford to buy. That’s the author I strive to be. I live to create stories which are fresh, sometimes quirky, sometimes challenging, but always from the heart.”
That’s exactly what this one is. It doesn’t try to be something it’s not. It’s sweet and heartwarming, and that’s perfectly fine. More than fine, really.
Queen of Hearts is far from perfect, there are a few repetitions, and some inconsistencies, but not enough to take the warm feeling away. It’s the kind of book where all you have to do is go with the flow and allow yourself to simply enjoy it. If you haven’t read it, keep it for a day when you’re feeling low, or cold, or basically unhappy. It’s like comfort food. It will help.
And just because this wouldn’t really be one of my reviews if I didn’t write anything personal, I have to (seriously, I have to) say that the Queen of Hearts – la Dame de Cœur in French – has always been special to me because we share a name. The Queen of Hearts is Judith, isn’t that cool? What’s even cooler is that while I was looking for a link to an explanation to why she’s called Judith, because I’ve always known we had the same name but had no idea why, I found a whole blog, by yet another Judith, about the name itself. My day is made, thank you.