In My Heart

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This is my first time reading a Bette Hawkins' novel and I have to be honest..... it won't be my last.

BH really know's how to write, and as a reader she kept hooked, I've never been one for historical fiction but once started I didn't put down

This is a wonderfully written story, the romance between  Dorothy and Alice is enjoyable.

I would certainly recommend this novel, a very good read.
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I went into In My Heart with very low expectations through no fault of the book's own, having just finished another unsatisfying historical f/f romance. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet and slow romance that developed between the two leads, taking into account historical attitudes without falling (too heavily) into period-specific homophobia. Their romance was gentle and believable and left me genuinely rooting for their happy ending. This is a background song of a book that leaves you feeling happier than you arrived.
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This is an outstanding novel on all fronts.  It is a wonderful look into the 1950s country music scene, through the eyes a small town girl with a talent for song writing and aspirations of meeting her singing idol.  The characters are diverse, realistic and interesting.  I loved these people, especially the main characters, and was genuinely invested in the two of them being able to be together.  The main character discovers some pulp novels, so the reader gets a first hand experience of what it may have been like for a young lesbian, who thinks she's the only one, to realize that she's not alone.  That was a lovely touch that really added to the story and to my engagement with the character.  I would and will recommend this romance novel to anyone looking for a little slice of history mixed in with a sweet romance.  Well done Bette Hawkins, I look forward to reading more of your stories..
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Up front, I want to say that I'm a fan of Bette Hawkins' novels.  Her books typically really work for me, but this was a rare exception.  It's not that this was a poor novel, I think it had to do more with the theming.  Let me try to explain...

As you gals probably know by now, I'm usually the first to pick up any book out there that has to do with music.  I devour them.  Historical books though...  not so much.  I was honestly pretty hesitant going into this one just because of the historical factor.  Add in the old school country theme, which I personally just can't stand because my ex just LOVED that style of music and it grates on me, I just knew this one would be a bit difficult for me going in.  So, take my review with a grain of salt!

This book reminded me a lot of the Johnny Cash movie "Walk the Line".  MC Dorothy in particular felt a lot like June Cash, and the whole read felt like I was transported back in time.  Kudos to Hawkins for getting that feeling right!  Unfortunately though, that time period of the 1950's with all it's closeted gayness just isn't my favorite scene to read about personally.  Surprisingly, there was very little angsty / homophobia, it was more that the book was just set in a time where LGBT persons are very closeted.  I was happy to see that Hawkins didn't sit on the hatred of the time, more just about the journey of two women having to deal with being closeted semi-famous musicians.  It's a surprisingly light read for the time period it's set in.

I don't really have any complaints about this book outside of my personal issues with the theming, but this book really didn't wow me either.  It felt very short, clocking in at just over an hour and a half for me to read.  Keep in mind that I read pretty fast though, so your mileage may vary.  The hot and cold of MC Dorothy irritated me somewhat, as did the serious lack of communication between MCs once they finally figured out their feelings, but otherwise, this was a decent story.  It was easy to read and Hawkins did a very good job of transporting me into the time period of this novel, but I just didn't find myself really enjoying it like I had hoped.   There was no point in time where I wanted to skim or stop reading, but I just didn't sink into this read like I wanted to.  

Hawkins is still always going to be an automatic read for me, and I'm really looking forward to her next book, but this one didn't work for me personally.  If you're looking for a historical read that's well done for what it is, this may be right up your alley though.  Hawkins is a wonderful writer, but for me, this one came in at 3 stars.

**Many thanks to Bella for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.**
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3.5* rounded to 4*

It’s 1958 and Alice doesn’t expect much from life. She works at the phone company, she spends time with her aunt May and her new friend Bill whose father owns the record shop, she plays her guitar and writes songs. Then one Friday night on the radio she hears Dorothy. Before falling in love with Dorothy, Alice fell in love with her voice. When she gets to meet her, she falls in love with her. That’s when her life changes completely as Dorothy asks her to join her band as a guitarist and as a songwriter.

In My Heart is a sweet romance. Alce is sweet and innocent, not innocent as in she doesn’t know life, more like she hasn’t let life pollute her hopes. Her story makes for an enjoyable and easy read, with just enough angst to make it interesting.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Alice spends her days working at a phone company in her small town and her spends her spare time with her passion, playing guitar. When she hears Dorthy Long's voice on a record, she's inspired to write her own songs. On whim she travels to hear her and her band play, and she soon finds herself auditioning to be the newest member of the band and resident songwriter. Their feelings towards each other grow as they travel the country together, but is there a place for their relationship in 1958 and in the country music world? 

This is my second book by this author and I enjoyed them both quite a bit. There were a few things that kept this from being a perfect five star read for me, but for the most part I really liked this book. I liked both characters, especially Alice. I felt like the explanation for Dorthy's "moods" was missing and could have added a lot to the story. I loved all the supporting characters, it made for a very warm and cozy read in what I'm sure must have been a trying and harsh environment for a new, female-led, act trying to make it big. The conflict for the ending seemed too dramatic an unrealistic and had me rolling my eyes a little. But in the end I like how the book fulfilled Alice's own dreams from the paperbacks she read. It was a really sweet story, the chemistry was intense,  and I think the writing was well done, drawing us into this historical fiction setting.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I don't know how to rate this book. On the one hand, a story of women who fall in love in the fifties is always an interesting topic for me, taking into account all the difficulties that people who were not heterosexual were forced to live in that time.  To be able to read about those who overcame fanaticism and fought for their true feelings make me feel better about my past and my present.

But on the other hand, the way this book is written has not reached me at all.  I have not felt a hint of Alice's passion in her music and towards Dorothy, much less Dorothy's towards Alice.  I thought it was a quite aseptic story, telling facts without much feeling.  And this is why I can not value the book as I would have liked.  

The story is interesting, there's no doubt about it, but it lacks emotion.
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In My Heart is a fantastic historical novel. The characters and storyline are interesting. The book is well written. I would read more by this author.
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I love to read historical fiction, so In My Heart by Bette Hawkins caught my eye immediately. The cover also got my attention and let me know the story was probably set in the 1950’s. I was correct in my assumption. 

The story is set in 1958 in a small Southern town. The tale is told in first person POV through the eyes of Alice Johnson, a twenty-five year old woman who is still living with her parents. She is an amateur guitarist and songwriter when she is not working as a telephone operator. When she hears a new country artist named Dorothy Long on the radio, she becomes inspired to write songs specifically for her voice. Through a set of circumstances, she gets to meet Dorothy, and everything changes for both of them.

This is my mother’s generation. I was just a baby when this story takes place, and my mother would have been just a few years older than Alice. We also lived in a small town in the deep South, probably not that different from where Alice lives. This is the age where LGBTQ+ folks could not come out publicly. Being out meant you could lose everything from your family to your friends, job, and freedom. On top of this, women had few rights at that time. By Alice’s age, she was supposed to be married and a housewife with children, not working and living with her parents. This is the backdrop of the story and affects how all of the characters in the book act. I liked how the author kept the focus on the romance of the two main characters. The homophobia and misogyny is inferred in the secondary characters and does cause problems for Alice and Dorothy, but never really becomes overt in the novel.

This is a story of survival; of finding happiness in a world that is definitely against LGBTQ+ folks having that. To me it was a positive story, a feel good story in spite of the setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bella Books for an honest review.
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This is the first novel I’ve read by Hawkins and it was a really lovely experience. Alice is a young woman living in a small town in the late 50s. Her love of music, particularly country music, is not something her parents and siblings really understand. Neither is her obvious lack of interest in dating. The record shop owner, Bill, seems to get her though and happily drives her to a nearby town to hear her icon, Dorothy Long, play. Alice dreams of Dorothy and writes songs for her voice but doesn’t expect to ever meet her.

I’m always a little nervous about lesbian romances with a historical setting because I’m never entirely sure that everything is going to work out. This story manages to avoid the expected bigotry while still maintaining the illusion of the time period. Names like Dorothy, Alice, May, Earl and Dirk fitted perfectly into the 50s setting and the occasionally stilted dialogue actually enhanced the atmosphere rather than detracting from it.

The story is told from Alice’s point of view in third person but she notices so much about Dorothy mannerisms and expressions that I didn’t feel like she was an unknown. I enjoyed the way their romance unfolded once they found the courage of expression. I’ll definitely be reading more by Hawkins.

Book received from Netgalley and Bella Books for an honest review.
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Discovering sexual identity in the 1950s. 

Alice is a 24 year-old switchboard operator in a small town. She is also a self taught guitar player who writes songs. She meets the singer she is infatuated with, Dorothy, when attending a concert. After listening to Alice's music and lyrics, Dorothy invites Alice to join the band and go on tour.

This story unfolds entirely from the perspective of Alice.  We are shown her small town life. She lives at home with her parents. Feeling like an outsider, she spends most of her free time with her aunt May. Drinking, listening to shows on the radio, and playing music.  

It was refreshing to have a character that already was aware of her sexual preference. There was no discovery here. Of course, being the 1950s, she had to keep it under wraps.

Dorothy was hot and cold throughout the entire book. And although there were moments of discussion between the two, I didn't think it was ever fully explained. I didn't feel like Dorothy ever did anything to make up for it or give any indication that the behavior would change. This negatively affected how I responded to their growing relationship.  

The author built a real chemistry between the two by having them writing songs together, singing, dancing, shared glances, being in each other's space, touches, etc. 

Side characters were great, but I felt like there was a missed opportunity to have Dirk be a confidant to Alice later in the book.

I wish there would have been dividers between scenes. That threw me off several times while reading.

Overall, I enjoyed this. 

I recommend to those who like romance, music, guitars, honky-tonks, road trips, and hotel rooms.
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This was my first time reading a book by Bette Hawkins and I have to say I enjoyed it. This romance is set in the 50's where it wasn't safe to be queer. Dorothy Long is a country singer. When Alice first heard her, she was a part of a country singing trio with her sisters. She has since gone out on her on as a solo singer. Alice is a lover of music and has self taught herself how to play the guitar. She is also a very talented song writer, but she doesn't think she will go anywhere because she lives in a small town and works at a phone company. One night her and her buddy travels to Mobile to hear Dorothy perform. This trip changes her life as she get the opportunity to write and perform with Dorothy's band.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this one because I haven't read a lot of romances set in the 50's or during the era where being queer meant you had to keep it a secret. The story line was enjoyable and I enjoyed the chemistry and interaction between Dorothy and Alice. Normally I am not a fan of any Angst, but this one works really well. I also enjoyed the supporting characters and how most of the characters were very likable. There really wasn't much that I did not like. If anything the ending seemed a tad bit rushed.

I will gladly rate this one a strong 4 stars.
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Lovely I fell in love with everything in this book. I honestly think I could read it had it been more without getting board. and that only happened with one or 2 writers. 


thank you for the author for giving me the opportunity in exchange of honest new opinion
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In My Heart was set in 1958, a time period in which women were  basically seen as a wife and mother and working outside the home was frowned upon. 
Alice Johnson, 25 and single, worked for the telephone company and wrote songs as a hobby. After listening to a song on the radio, Alice became so enthralled by the singer’s voice that she immediately began writing a song with her in mind.  Dorothy Long was a country music singer who travelled with her band and manager husband, Earl. 
After attending one of Dorothy’s shows, Alice was invited back to the band‘s hotel room to showcase the songs she wrote. Everyone was impressed with Alice and asked her to become part of their band. 
Alice and Dorothy quickly bonded professionally, but their romantic relationship often proved difficult with many emotional meltdowns.   Even though Dorothy’s marriage was in name only, they still needed to be discreet for fear of repercussions - personally and professionally. 

I enjoyed the realistic nature of this story, especially how marriage was used to hide one’s sexuality. If men or women deviated from the norm, they were classified as weird or perverted. Secrets needed to be preserved and only a few could be trusted such as Bill, Alice’s friend who was also gay. At one point, Dorothy’s husband even put pressure on Dorothy to curtail her relationship with Alice. Fear was the motivating factor behind his decision. 

Alice and Dorothy were both strong, intelligent, and courageous women.  Alice was even more so since she did not conform to the pressures of society and her family by getting married and having children. When Alice realized she liked women, she was determined not to let heterosexual values dictate her life. It was a bold move some 61 years ago, but Alice repeatedly held strong to her life choices.

This was a well written story. The author wrote captivating dialogue filled with emotional angst and heart wrenching truth regarding the complications of a forbidden love. I also enjoyed the musical aspect of the story, especially Alice and Dorothy’s songs  “In My Heart” and  “The Two of Us” and how it expressed their love for each other-without being seen as such by their audience. Their love… hidden in plain sight. 

Overall, this was a very entertaining read!
Highly recommended. 
An ARC was given for an honest review next review.
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An extremely well-written sweet, simple story set in the 1950s. This is a slow unfurling romance (distinctly different from slow burn) in keeping time period it is set in.

Alice Johnson is leading a fairly unremarkable life in a small town. She is ‘different’ in the sense that she doesn’t want to get married and that in a day and age when women working was not exactly encouraged, she chooses to work. Despite having a clutch of siblings, Alice is closest to her Aunt May who is just about a decade older. Alice and May work in the phone company and have a little Friday evening ritual of special food and music. On one such Friday, Alice is captivated by a voice in a song by a trio of sisters. She goes hunting for the record the next day and is assisted by Bill in the record store. Bill informs her that one of the sisters, Dorothy Long, has struck out on her own and is going to be playing in a honky-tonk not too far away soon. Alice goes for the show and finds the woman as alluring as the voice that had captivated her. She finds herself writing songs for that voice and for Dorothy. The next time she goes for Dorothy’s show, she is invited for an after-party by the guitarist, Dirk. She plays a couple of her songs for Dirk, catches Dorothy’s ear and soon she is a member of the band. 

The story is uncomplicated but so excellently written that it keeps you turning the pages without any flagging in attention. Dorothy is a complete charmer. Alice is in the coming-of-age phase with all the accompanying emotional gangliness it involves. There is some conflict in the end with Alice behaving in a childish, unreasonable, petulant manner and the conflict being resolved by Dorothy’s sweetness and steadfastness. It’s worth mentioning that Dorothy’s character here becomes even stronger because just like Alice, the whole situation and relationship is a first for Dorothy too. 

This book is definitely recommended.
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Unfortunately this book wasn't for me, but I do very much appreciate reading about gay women. The use of songs and lyrics did not work for me, I didn't realize how big of a part that played in the book overall.
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I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.

Alice feels more like a stranger in her hometown her family wants her to be married with children while she wants to play her guitar and writes songs.

When she here Dorothy singing who was part of band but now striking out on her own she becomes Alice muse and when opportunity to see Dorothy she never imagine she would here her songs and as to be in her band.

 Alice start to feel that she okay with having feelings toward women then she does men and even though she starts to feel more for Dorothy she afraid of acting on it because Dorothy is married to Earl but she doesn't know the reason they are married and when she does and romance between them may happen.

I like how process of writing songs and how some sound better fast or slow I like that Alice wasn't afraid to live her dreams. This was a good read but I like her other book No More Pretending better.
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