cover image The Heart Principle

The Heart Principle

Helen Hoang. Berkley, $16 Trade Paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-49084-1

A classical musician struggling with professional burnout, family judgment, and a faithless long-term boyfriend gets her groove back in the beautifully melancholy and meditative latest from Hoang (The Bride Test). Violinist Anna Sun is already in a major professional rut when, instead of the marriage proposal she expects, her parent-approved long-term boyfriend proposes that they experiment with an open relationship. Given what he perceives as Anna’s lack of interest in sex, he doesn’t expect that the experiment will go both ways. But then Anna meets sexy, tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep. Quan quickly proves that he only looks like a bad boy; he’s patient, kind, and supportive as both a friend and sexual partner and, sweetly, brings food for Anna’s unwelcoming family when her dad lands in the hospital. Hoang strikes a more somber tone in this outing, giving Anna daunting challenges to overcome, including some serious hang-ups around sex. Readers shouldn’t expect a typical rom-com, but many will still swoon for this sensitive love story. Agent: Kim Lionetti, Bookends Literary. (Aug.)