Breath of Dawn, by Kristen Heitzmann, is a long-awaited continuation to the story of Morgan Spencer and his family. We met Morgan and his brother Rick in Rush of Wings, and The Still of Night, originally published 9 years ago. This third book picks up after Morgan has lost his wife Jill, and has escaped to Rick and Noelle's cabin, once again, to heal and care for his infant daughter. Quinn Reilly has landed in Juniper Falls after leaving the church community that effectively shunned her after she sent their "prophet," to jail for fraud and embezzlement. Markham Wilder, the so-called prophet, is now out of jail and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his perfect plan. Morgan is known for solving problems, both large-scale corporate failures, and individuals who need rescued. How far will he go to save Quinn, and will it be enough to save them both?
I was so excited to see a new release from Kristen Heitzmann, and extra excited to see that it involved some of her former characters, that I immediately re-read the Spencer brothers' stories from nine years ago so that I could brush up on the details before diving into the newest installment. If you haven't read the previous two books, this review may contain spoilers that I find unavoidable in order to give a complete review. Having just re-read the story of Morgan and Jill, and their love that waited 15 years to be reunited, I found it really difficult to transition immediately to Jill's death, and Morgan's interest in another woman. Even though 2 years had passed in novel time, the story of Jill and Morgan was still so fresh to me that it was disconcerting to read a second love story for him. As much as I loved Quinn, though, I eventually settled into the new story and wanted them to find true love and healing together.
I believe that I have read every book that Kristen Heitzmann has had published, and I find that her stories are becoming darker and darker. This one was a continuation in that pattern, with the vengeful Markham, and the inclusion of a possibly haunted former asylum that included stories of previous patients and staff workers suffering unexplained accidents and testifying to strange occurrences. As such, this was not my favorite of her writings, and I found myself disappointed in the content of the story. I still loved the characters, and I was excited to have the extended Spencer family included to help complete the story. However, I can only give this book 3 stars, based on the rough transition of Morgan's storyline, and the wish for some deeper redemptive revelations for the new characters.
On a positive note, I do think that this novel would suffice as a stand-alone novel, perhaps even better than as a conclusion to the Spencer story if you've read and loved them from the first two books. There was enough basic information included that I don't think a new reader would feel lost, but she also did not go overboard in rehashing the details of the past. If you're a Kristen Heitzmann fan, or looking to try a new semi-suspense, semi-romance author, I think this one's worth a read.
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I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.