The Heart Principle Review: Creative Burnout & a Not so Casual Fling

November 8, 2021 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

The Heart Principle Review: Creative Burnout & a Not so Casual FlingThe Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Published by Allen and Unwin on August 31, 2021
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

Ahhh I loved The Heart Principle so much! This is definitely my favourite of the series so far.

Anna and Quan are the sweetest couple ever, despite having so many things in their way, like Anna being in a relationship with another guy!

Reading some of Anna’s thoughts regarding people pleasing, masking real self in the presence of others, and her creative block – and even how she is in bed was so heartfelt and relatable. I’ve definitely had some of the same thoughts that she has, making me wonder how the author could’ve plucked these very thoughts from my own head.

After her Youtube video went viral, Anna can’t seem to keep playing the violin, even though she’s extremely talented and clearly has a passion for it. She’s suffering from performance anxiety as her craft suddenly becomes about being palatable to others, rather than about playing for herself. It’s clear many of the thoughts on her creative burn out is something that the author related to herself when writing this book – as shared through the author’s note at the end.

Anna also goes to therapy, and it was fascinating reading her therapist’s diagnosis of her being on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), seeing as it was never something she considered for herself. This series really does dispel misconceptions about ASD, particularly with how it’s experienced differently through females – which is so appreciated.

“I do wonder if she’s acting just like I am. How much of what people say is genuine and how much is politeness? Is anyone really living their life or are we all reading lines from a giant script written by other people?”

Her father also falls ill to a stroke, where Anna, her sister and her mother take over caring duties for him at home. Her family (particularly her sister) is extremely overbearing, which forces Anna to sacrifice her own needs and opinion in favour of looking after the family, of being a filial daughter – which eventually leads to burn out.

Thankfully there’s Quan, who is super sweet! While he may look menacing with his tattoos and large, muscular figure, he’s actually the sweetest and knows exactly how to handle Anna and her quirks. I loved seeing the two together, the conversations they had, and the healthy relationship they had in the bedroom which lead to mutual satisfaction. Evolving from a one nigght stand, it wasn’t particularly what they signed up for, but I loved how their relationship was stemmed from friendship, support and attraction.

“All I can do is go forward, and to do that, I must stop chasing perfection. It doesn’t exist. I can never please everyone. It’s hard enough just pleasing myself. Instead, I must focus on giving what I have, not what people want, because that is all I can give.”

Anna could be regarded as passive and putting other’s needs before her own, particularly her boyfriend Julian’s and her overbearing Chinese family, but it’s clear Anna is a tough cookie. She’s experiencing so much in her head, masking herself, pretending to be something she’s not that she eventually reaches a peak where she can’t get out of bed. The book portrays her daily struggle just doing things she doesn’t want to do, without the power to say what she wants, and having to deal with that on top of everything else sounds extremely exhausting.

The Heart Principle is a novel dealing with burnout, another representation of ASD, being a carer and an overbearing family – and you can tell it’s written from the heart! It is definitely my favourite of the series and I loved getting to know Anna and Quan.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thanks to Allen + Unwin Australia for sending me a review copy! 

The Heart Principle is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$22.99.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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