Spotlight and Review for Hearts in the Storm by Elmer Seward!


Title: Hearts in the Storm

Author: Elmer Seward

Published: May 2014

Word Count: 35,400

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Content Warning: Mild profanity and “off camera” sexual situations

Age Recommendation: 18+

Struggling with loss and regret, Trista sets out for North Carolina’s Outer Banks, hoping to find peace in her stormy life. Fate and an old golden retriever set her on a path toward healing with an unlikely hero, the man that the locals call “Duck.” Despite his careless and irresponsible behavior, Trista is drawn to him.

Trista discovers that Duck is haunted by the ghosts of his own shattered past. Desperate for help, she is faced with the necessity of placing her hopes and her life in the hands of this man that many blame for the death of his best friend. As Hurricane Renee bears down on the Outer Banks, Trista and Duck drive a wave-battered boat into the teeth of the storm. Each one hopes to conquer the tempest that rages around them and the tempest that rages within.

About the Author
Elmer Seward was born and raised along the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia. Growing up, the cemetery behind his house was his playground. The metaphorical theme of death and rebirth that figures prominently in his novels is probably influenced in some way by the time that his mother heard, through the screened window, a small voice crying for help. Rushing from the house and through the yard, she discovered her all-too-curious six-year-old son at the bottom of a freshly dug grave. In that moment, he discovered that trouble is much easier to get into than it is to get out of. Sometimes we need help getting out of the hole that we jump into willingly.

He is blessed to have a blended family of six children and four grandchildren. He is also the reluctant servant of two crazy dogs, a Maltese and a Japanese Chin. All of these strongly influence the characters and events in his novels; however, his beautiful wife, Mitzi, is the true inspiration for the tender hearted but determined women in his stories.


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Review of Hearts in the Storm

Throughout my entire life, my mother has always had a one sentence fits all solution to any situation I seemed to find myself in when it came to feeling sorrow or loss. Whether it was enduring what I thought was the greatest heartache I would ever know in the fifth grade when the boy I liked didn’t return those same feelings, to being all grown up on the outside, but still feeling like that fifth grader on the inside and feeling like you somehow still don’t measure up after a series of unfortunate losses, my mother would always gently whisper to me, “Honey, I know that what you are feeling right now feels like the end of the world, and that you are all alone, but look around you. The world has not stopped turning and you have never been alone. You are neither the first nor the last to feel the way that you do. Everyone has something.” Those last three words have stuck with me my whole life, even in moments when my mother hasn’t been able to offer me comfort, her words from so many years ago still do. In Hearts in the Storm by Elmer Seward, the theme of broken hearts is explored with such literary finesse and heart wrenching story-telling, and if there were anything I could say to the characters within these pages, it would be that everyone has something.

Seward has an unmatched talent for showing the vulnerabilities of the human heart and all the different shapes and shades it creates and the shadows that seem to haunt us as a result of having lived life. No one comes out of this world unscathed, yet it is our human nature to want to hide the hurt and deem them flaws. We relegate ourselves to traveling the path of a wounded soul alone, deeming ourselves unworthy of being the recipient of anything good until out scars have faded and the gaping gashes have healed. But Seward has such insight into the human condition that he shows that no matter who you are or what you have been through, there is never a moment that you are not worth the very best of an emotional life. Just because life has happened in a way you did not expect, does not mean you did anything to deserve it. We are the victims of a fickle universe, not the exactors of ever y aspect of our lives. By way of his characters, Seward breaks open the already broken hearts in his work, so that the crack can be large enough to let love back in, not simply let grief and self-shaming seep out and by connection he shows us how to break our hearts open and allow love to come back into our lives as well.

Seward’s capability for creating characters that you want to get to know is spectacular. From the very first page, you are intrigued by the nature of Duck, when he experiences his nightmare, and then on the very next page acts as a mischievous young boy when his sister comes to the house to check on him. Duck is controlled by his past, and lives his life in a way that demonstrates as much. Trista as well lives a life governed by her past, and when it is discovered that she has taken up residence next door for a little while, we wonder what kind of relationship is going to form between these two characters from there very first interaction together, which is refreshingly not the normal meet cute that so many other authors rely on as the perfect meeting. Theirs is so awkward and uncomfortable for both parties that it reeks of authenticity which sets the tone for the rest of the work. This book seethes authenticity, and its stormy winds carry with it the fragrance of a fresh perspective.

Throughout the story, small flashes of the past of each character are revealed. Normally I am not a huge fan of a flash back structure, because it just never felt genuine. I have now read a book that can slow in and out of time and space and still truly feel genuine and connected. The flashbacks keep you on the edge of your seat and always leave you wanting more, encouraging you to turn page after page until you have forgotten you are turning pages at all because you are lost in the emotional peaks and valleys of these characters lives. When suddenly all is revealed, you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you and yet a burden has been lifted from you all at the same time. This is a book that takes you on a journey of your own alongside these characters as they are on a journey of discovery of their own. Seward does a fabulous job of transferring what his characters are feeling from the page into our hearts, and that is the reason us readers even pick up a book to begin with. I also appreciated the parallel of the storm coming to shore in the Outer Banks, and the storms that were raging inside the characters. That detail was a stunning and perfect bow to encase such an immaculate work.

I am obviously all about the meaning of things over here at The Moral of Our Stories, so the purpose that this book aims to accomplish directly lines up with what I love. This is writing for a purpose in action, not simply writing to tell a story because you happen to be good with words. I feel that Seward did not simply set out to write a book, but he set out to help mend hearts, in which in my case at least, he has been successful. I give this book 5 out of 5 morals. There was not a thing that I would change, which is the highest of praise coming from a perfectionist. Thank you Mr. Seward for writing this book and sharing your creativity and heart with the world. It is an honor to host your work on my site.