It's time to find out what happened to Leo Hoffman. When we last heard from him in Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm, Leo was leaving his daughter Maddy behind in New York. Leo was set to embark on life as a spy. Why abandon his child? Does Maddy feel abandoned? It was all for a purpose. Maddy's safety would be ensured as long as she wasn't with Leo.
I was sad for them at the end of the first book. They went through the perils of war in Shanghai. Now at the height of World War II, Leo can't be with his daughter without completing a spy mission in North Africa. There is lots of action at this juncture, including a dangerous rescue mission at a Jewish work camp.
Back in New York, Maddy is dying inside to feel like she belongs. Reuniting with her mother's family isn't enough to fill the hole that her father left. By the time Leo returns, it's too late for them. This is where I got a little mad. What made me love the first book so much, was the close relationship between all the characters. The love between Leo and his wife Martha (read the first book if you want to know what happened to her!) oozed through the pages. Maddy was also close to both her parents. I didn't feel that connection with the characters this time around.
Maddy moves on, but lacks confidence in herself and her relationships. She has this belief that she's not good enough. She settles for what's available rather than going for what she's worth. In some cases that has deadly consequences. This lack of confidence in herself isn't resolved by the end, but there is hope for Maddy.
The book spans several continents and decades. Some major and minor characters are introduced, but then they disappear for long periods. It just felt like there was too much going on. Just when you wonder what happened to Leo, he pops up again. Leo was at the heart of the first book, but in this one I didn't think there was enough of him. Heart of Deception is more Maddy's story, but I wish Leo had a bigger role.
Rating: Give it a try
Notes: I received a copy from the publisher (HarperCollins) at the request of Authors On The Web. For more information on author M.L. Malcolm visit: http://mlmalcolm.com/