Publisher: Harlequin
Released: March 22, 2011
Source: Review copy from publisher

Each and every one of us has the ability to effect change—to make our world a better place. The dedicated women selected as this year’s recipients of Harlequin’s More Than Words award have changed lives, one good deed at a time. To celebrate their accomplishments, some of our bestselling authors have honored the winners by writing stories inspired by these real-life heroines.

In Carly Phillips’s Compassion Can’t Wait, two high school sweet hearts are reunited years later, as if by fate, and discover that if you believe in yourself and each other, anything is possible.

Donna Hill’s Someplace Like Home tells the story of how one woman’s dream becomes reality, as three special people learn that it’s never too late to form a loving family.

In Jill Shalvis’s What the Heart Wants, an honorable man must learn to forgive himself to regain the trust of the dedicated teacher who is the love of his life.

More Than Words, Volume 7 is a collection of three fictional stories inspired by remarkable real-life heroines dedicated to helping children. Though short in length, each one had an uplifting message and a sweet romance. Here’s a brief look at each one:

Carly Phillips’ Compassion Can’t Wait is the story of two long lost loves, a hospital social worker and a famous baseball player, coming together to help a young teen in need. This story was inspired by a charity called the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation. They provide financial assistance to single parents of seriously ill children so they can be with them in their time of need. What touched me the most about this story was that it focused on the healthy sibling of a sick child. When a parent has one child who is very sick, that child becomes the parent’s center of attention and understandably so. This means that sometimes healthy siblings are pushed to the side when they too need attention. In Compassion Can’t Wait, Julia and Kyle are able to give that to a teen whose brother has leukemia. This was an emotionally-charged story about compassion and forgiveness. I give it 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Donna Hill’s Someplace Like Home was inspired by the Family Reconnect Program in Toronto, an organization that works to reunite troubled youths with their families. Verna worked for Children’s Services for many years, but left to start Someplace Like Home. Home is a special residence for troubled teens being shuffled through the foster care system, a sanctuary in an unsure world. Ronald is a high school guidance counselor who volunteers to help out. Verna and Ronald have an immediate attraction, but their relationship becomes rocky over a complex and emotional dilemma with one of Home’s residents. Someplace Like Home was a touching story with a nice twist at the end. I give it 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Jill Shalvis’ What the Heart Wants is probably my favorite of the collection. It was a bit edgier, and I connected more with these characters. This story was inspired by the Women’s Expressive Theatre in New York that has a program for empowering at-risk teenage girls. The main character Ellie benefited from this program when she was young, and now she runs her own organization for helping teenage girls. Ellie and Jack were friends in high school who lost touch when he left town years ago. Now he’s back and running a self defense studio. It happens that Ellie needs someone to teach her girls self defense when threats are made. Enter Jack, the sexy bad boy who turned his life around. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Ellie and Jack. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.