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Heart Like Mine

Heart Like Mine

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again. But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover that there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451640571 | 
  • March 2013
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Read an Excerpt

Heart Like Mine Grace
Later, I would look back and wonder what I was doing the exact moment Kelli died.

When I left the house for work that morning, nothing was different. There was no sense of impending doom, no ominous soundtrack playing in the back of my mind warning me that my world was about to change. There was only Victor asleep in our bed, and me, as usual, trying my best not to wake him as I kissed him good-bye.

It was a Friday in late October, and I drove my usual route downtown, taking in the dark... see more
Heart Like Mine Ava
After Dad moved out, Saturday mornings were the hardest. Saturdays used to be when he didn’t have to get up early and head to the restaurant; Saturdays were when he woke us with the buttery smell of his special homemade vanilla-bean waffles toasting on the griddle and smoky bacon sizzling on the stove. I loved to lie in my bed, breathing in the tendrils of those familiar scents, feeling them wrap around me, warm and comforting as my father’s arms.

“Breakfast, kiddos!” he... see more

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Heart Like Mine includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Consider the two epigraphs that Hatvany opens the novel with. How do they frame the novel? How do you interpret the title, Heart Like Mine, in relation to these two quotations?

2. On the surface, Kelli and Grace are very different characters. What do they share? How do their upbringings shape the kind of women they become?

3. Heart Like Mine is narrated by the three women in Victor’s life—but we never hear from him directly. As a group, discuss your impressions of Victor. How does each narrator present a different side of him?

4. While family dynamics are at the heart of this novel, friendships are also integral to these characters’ lives. Discuss the role of female friendship. What do Kelli, Grace, and Ava each get from a friend that they can’t get from a significant other or a family member? How do you experience this in your own life?

5. How are mothers and fathers portrayed differently in the novel? What do you think the author is saying about the signi see more

More Books from this Author

About the Author

Amy Hatvany
Author photograph © 2014 Alison Rosa

Amy Hatvany

Amy Hatvany is the author of Best Kept Secret, Outside the Lines, The Language of Sisters, Heart Like Mine,and Safe with Me. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her family.

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