Reviewed by Michelle S.

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw, is a modern retelling of Henry Wadsworth’s epic love poem “Evangeline”: the tale of Evangeline and her beloved Gabriel – with a twist. The novel alternates between the modern day, voiced by Eva, and the past, voiced by Gabriel.

Eva lives in modern day Maine with her father and cares for her neighbor, Ada. Out of the blue, her estranged best friend from childhood, Gabe, comes back into her life – only to disappear again.

Gabriel lives in Maine, centuries before Eva. His story is one of his love for childhood friend Evangeline. The two are wed, only to be separated by an attack on their village. Gabriel is determined to reunite with her, no matter what it takes.

I thought both Eva and Gabriel’s stories were interesting to read. Gabriel’s side is a more thorough telling of the actual poem “Evangeline”, while Eva’s side explores her modern life.

I enjoyed reading about Eva’s interactions with Ada, and about the strong bond shared by Evangeline and Gabriel. However, I wish that there had been more character and plot development. Too much, in my opinion, was left to the imagination. While I imagine I understand Gabe’s motivation in running away, it didn’t make complete sense. Eva’s complete acceptance of Gabe after ignoring each other since they were children was also hard to understand. Additionally, I didn’t feel like I understood Gabriel very well, either. Gabriel rarely interacted with Evangeline, choosing to watch her from a distance, making me wonder if he truly loved her, or was just obsessed with her.

Overall, Anxious Hearts was a fun read, though it lacked in depth and soul.

Michelle recently returned to her West Virginia roots to re-invent herself. She is the principal (okay, only) web and graphic designer at Michelle My Belle Designs and uses the rest of her free time to write her own book blog 52 Self-help Books. Putting up with her madness is her husband Jason, dog Leo, and rabbit Macchiato.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Amulet Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.