cover image What the Heart Knows%E2%80%A8

What the Heart Knows%E2%80%A8

Mara Purl. Bellekeep Books (Midpoint Trade, dist.), $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-936878-01-7%E2%80%A8

Former Days of Our Lives star Purl presents the first novel in her Milford-Haven series, which, like most women's fiction, features a setting of unadulterated beauty%E2%80%94the small coastal town of Milford-Haven, CA in the prosperous mid-90s%E2%80%94and a cast of%C2%A0successful, sexy, sometimes quirkily independent%C2%A0characters. Protagonist Miranda Jones%E2%80%94a young, beautiful artist nearing the end of her "struggling" phase%E2%80%94has recently escaped from city life. The town and community provide many possible future story lines, and Purl introduces 26 characters here. Readers will find%C2%A0details galore%E2%80%94simple activities or outfits get a whole paragraph%E2%80%94and the novel's many inner monologues reveal%C2%A0scheming, secretly confused, or%C2%A0flawed personalities. Thus far, Miford-Haven offers depictions of daily life, hints of possible future%C2%A0romance, the threat of scandal, and carefully parsed out mystery.%C2%A0Considering all of the problems and questions so cleverly left unanswered, the novel is poised to convince readers to continue with the series. (Sept.)