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Book Review: Voices From The Heart by Jonikay Pace

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Voices from the Heart is an absorbing tale from the very first few pages. On one hand, it is a story of the warmest love and respect found within the hearts of several human beings. It is their passion to reach out and touch the troubled.

On the other hand, the story reveals the hideous hatred buried deep within a few individuals who place themselves above others and ignore the law. They live for themselves. Often, their demon lives seem inspired by Satan.

Voices from the Heart highlights this contrast between good and evil. A young 17-year old girl, Clara, has run away from home because of a father who is abusive both physically and emotionally. Hank, Clara’s brother, has escaped the farm home with her but they’ve gone separate ways hoping their violent father could not easily trace them.

"If he ever gets into his head that you think he had something to do with Mamma's death … then he'll shut you up permanently.”

Both teenagers suspect their father killed his wife in a fit of rage, even though police reports listed her death as accidental. Suspecting no evil, police had made a superficial examination of the washhouse where Clara and Hank’s mother was found dead.

To authorities, it appeared she had slipped in soapsuds and fallen, banging her temple against a nail sticking out from a loose wall board. Little did they know the murdered woman had been clobbered by the board before it was nailed back in place.

With no real resources, runaway Clara meets an extremely charitable woman who is caretaker of an apartment building in Dallas. The building is owned by a wealthy, generous man. Although neither knows much about Clara’s past, both befriend her. They become her lifelong confidants rejoicing when Clara earns her GED and lands a respectable job.

Voices from the Heart tells how Clara’s gentle, somewhat effeminate brother, Hank, becomes the partner of a selfless man whose father is wealthy. The gay couple enjoys an enduring faithful relationship. It is Hank’s good fortune that his mate pays him an allowance to remain at home managing their household affairs. Both enjoy plays, good food, shopping, parties, vacations, and yearly ski outings in Colorado – the good life.

But while working as a Courthouse clerk, Clara meets an arrogant, egotistical law student who realizes he can sponge off her if he merely pretends love. True to his nature, Clara’s beau finds her an additional job as a waitress. With Clara’s funds, now he can complete law school. Swept off her feet by this one sided love affair, they marry.

Quickly, this unsacred union degenerates into mental and moral abuse toward Clara. Her husband seems delighted to belittle her both alone and in public. He tells people her mind is simple because of her bumpkin-like upbringing and trite GED accomplishment. Her meager intelligence cannot compare to his profound college graduate wisdom: “I am the best thing that ever happened to you. I am the only good thing that ever happened to you.”

Furthermore, Clara’s husband is regularly unfaithful. He thinks he has fostered a daughter and later a son by two different women. Clara’s inability to conceive only reinforces his low opinion of her. She is a worthless barren albatross.

At a ball-like party, Clara overhears her husband planning a new sexual escapade with another partygoer. He flatters this woman’s wit, charm, and beauty, telling her he married Clara so she could pay his law school tuition. "How about if I take the old lady home then see you back here in twenty minutes?"

After 20 years, Clara’s husband is earning big money but not nearly the amount his enormous ego demands. He divorces Clara who learns that the children her macho husband thought he produced by two other women cannot be his. For years, the man blamed her for his inability to produce sperm.

The woman and man who helped down-and-out Clara so many years ago when she first arrived in the big city have passed away now. To her incredible surprise, Clara is the recipient of the wealthy man’s huge fortune. But the wealth does not change her personality. Clara is quick to volunteer at a homeless shelter. She begins to use her money to help those in need.

Hank has not been so fortunate. His intimate relationship abruptly ends when his loving partner is killed in an automobile accident.

"I'm thinking I should have Daddy's attorneys write up a will that takes care of you in case of my death."

Although the couple had pledged to write a will, it never happened. Hank slowly recovers from his injuries but is penniless. Released from the hospital, when he slips with his crutches and pitches headlong to the icy sidewalk, authorities take him to a homeless shelter.

Voices from the Heart is one of those stories you read and don’t forget. Its characters are well painted into your imagination. The heartless people — Clara’s father and her hurtful, condescending husband — are such loathsome beings, you’ll hope they get their just due.

You can’t help but encourage Clara, Hank, and those who loved them – those who helped them find their way. You’ll find yourself hoping that their kindness and love for others will help heal deep emotional scars before Voices from the Heart ends.

I’d put this book on a “To Read” list for both female and male readers looking for a good mystery. It is a tale that reveals the incredible trials some people endure, trying to carve a purposeful life for themselves. It is a tale that offers encouragement to anyone coping with emotional wounds left from a deeply troubled childhood.

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