Her Perfect Life
“An incredibly emotional read. Have Kleenex handy–you’ll need it. C.D. and Katie are wonderful protagonists and their story is the reason why one picks up a romance novel.” TOP PICK AWARDKristi Albers
“Her Perfect Life is the perfect read. From the very first sentence, I was hooked by this engaging and heartfelt story of a woman’s journey through danger, adventure and romance.”Susan Wiggs
In Her Perfect Life, ex-POW Katie Slater is finally rescued. But coming home isn’t the sweet reunion she’d dreamed it would be. Everything that had made her life perfect is gone. Her husband’s remarried, her kids are strangers who call another woman mom, and her former co-pilot and best friend, C.D. Quade—the sexy best friend who’d deserted her in the desert—is all she has left. How is she supposed to cobble together any kind of life?
Katie struggles to determine what’s real and what are tricks of the mind, to build a new life and rebuild relationships, and she makes an astounding discovery. Her perfect life hadn’t been so perfect. But when she sees C.D.’s memorial to her—that she forever walks in his soul—Katie realizes this new life holds promise and could be perfect—if she has the courage to face her past and claim her future. If she has the courage to dare to love…
Books in the Hearts Reunited Series:
Her Perfect Life, #1
Mind Reader, #2
PRAISE for Vicki Hinze Novels:
Her Perfect Life Awards:
RITA® Award Finalist, Best Novel with a Romantic Element
RT Career Achievement Award Nomination for Series Romantic Adventure
Reviewers’ Choice Award
Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, Best Book of the Year
Holt Medallion Award Finalist, Best Mainstream Novel of the Year
“Her Perfect Life is the perfect read. From the very first sentence, I was hooked by this engaging and heartfelt story of a woman’s journey through danger, adventure and romance.” –Susan Wiggs
“An incredibly emotional read. Have Kleenex handy–you’ll need it. C.D. and Katie are wonderful protagonists and their story is the reason why one picks up a romance novel.” TOP PICK AWARD –RT Book Club
“I know I can always count on Vicki for an absorbing story I’ll remember long after I’ve closed the book…” –Kay Hooper
“[A] talent for transforming the unlikely into something beautiful.” –Publishers Weekly
“Her Perfect Life was emotional, romantic, and just an all around poignant read. It made me angry, laugh, cry, and then smile for a job well done. I feel Ms. Hinze honors the bravest of the brave with Her Perfect Life and I am proud to have read it.” –JoyfullyReviewed.com
“Occasionally a book is written which profoundly touches anyone who reads it, and the story penned by Vicki Hinze is constantly thought-provoking and engaging.” –Cataromance
“Genuinely moving… If you want to read a book which will leave you happier about life when you finish it, try this one.” –MarianneM, All About Romance
- RITA® Award Finalist, Best Novel with a Romantic Element
- RT Career Achievement Award Nomination for Series Romantic Adventure
- Winner of the 2006 Single Title Reviewers’ Choice Award
- Harlequin Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, Best Book of the Year
- Holt Medallion Award Finalist, Best Mainstream Novel of the Year
Readers’ Group Discussion Guide Questions
1.There have been women prisoners of war in every American conflict. However, before the late 20th century, women were not deliberately put into combat situations. Major Rhonda Cornum’s stalwart conduct as a POW in the first Gulf War in 1992 helped reshape the debate on women in the military. The 1994 repeal of the “risk rule” barring women from combat launched a national debate over a woman’s fitness to serve and the danger her perceived weaknesses posed to male co-combatants. Presently, one in seven military personnel in Iraq is a female. After reading Captain Katie Cole Slater’s story, do you have a stronger position on women in combat? Have your feelings about this issue changed?
2.If you had created a list at the age of fifteen, eighteen, twenty-five or thirty-five, what items would you have included to create your “perfect life?” If you should have to suddenly start over and build yourself a new life, what would you change? Relationships, money, prestige, possessions?) Do you believe that, as we accumulate life experience, our priorities broaden and grow more meaningful and our goals turn less materialistic?
3.If you created a perfect life list right now, what five goals or qualities would you include?
4.During captivity, Katie’s mantra was: “That which is endured is conquered.” Do you feel this is true? How can a strongly held belief such as this one keep hope alive? Many of us have a saying, motto, Bible verse or a phrase that captures our personal philosophy and serves as our talisman during times of trouble. Do you have one?
5.Katie and C.D. have a strong bond from working closely together in a difficult environment. Through mutual respect and trust, they come to love each other. But at first they are not “in love” with each other. In your life, have you loved and not been in love? Been in love and not loved? Does the added element of a sexual relationship add to or cloud this issue? Given a choice, would you rather “be in love” or “love” someone?
6.As one would expect, given her circumstances, Katie suffers many of the challenging symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or Syndrome). One of the most disturbing is repeated nightmares involving her captivity. Reportedly, the best treatment for these nightmares isn’t medication but a mental technique where the sufferer changes the ending of the nightmare while awake so that the ending ceases being upsetting. Do you think this kind of healing takes a great deal of personal determination and concentration? Does a person’s self esteem impact this kind of challenge?
7.Could Katie have defeated her dream demons any earlier? How? Did defeating those demons take becoming involved in a stable, loving relationship with C.J.? Did Katie have to first determine her children were safe before she could allow herself to heal?
8.Katie is angry with the doctors trying to help her. Anger and blame—unreasonable and unearned—is normal in these situations. The person often feels betrayed—in Katie’s case, for her military peers leaving her behind. Have you ever experienced these emotions in this way?
Katie refuses to talk about her experiences as a prisoner, including being raped. Because rape is a crime not of sex but of violence and control, it’s very common reaction for rape victims to refuse to discuss the rape. For many, each time they do discuss it, they relive it, and that makes it impossible to go on and live a “normal” life. Yet it’s equally important that they deal with the issue and not slide into denial, which is emotionally unhealthy. Katie refuses to give her captors another second of her life by dwelling on that which cannot be changed. In her position, would you feel compelled to talk about the experience, or not? Why?
“Katie Slater’s whole life is a war story, literally and figuratively, and her only weapons have been ripped from her soul. To fight her way to freedom, she dons an emotional armor that only love can pierce.” –Joyce Holland, Northwest Florida Daily News
“Her Perfect Life is the perfect read. From the very first sentence, I was hooked by this engaging and heartfelt story of a woman’s journey through danger, adventure and romance.” –Susan Wiggs, best-selling author
“Her Perfect Life by Vicki Hinze absolutely tore my heart out. I can’t imagine being in Katie’s shoes and the fact that story is so realistic made Her Perfect Life dearer to me. I wanted to choke her husband Sam but then couldn’t fault him for decisions he made. As much as I couldn’t stand Sam, I loved C.D. Patient, kind, and extremely supportive, I thought him the perfect love for Katie. As for Katie, if she were a real person, I would honor her bravery and service. Her character was that well written. Her Perfect Life was emotional, romantic, and just an all around poignant read. It made me angry, laugh, cry, and then smile for a job well done. I feel Ms. Hinze honors the bravest of the brave with Her Perfect Life and I am proud to have read it. –JoyfullyReviewed.com
“Occasionally a book is written which profoundly touches anyone who reads it, and the story penned by Vicki Hinze is constantly thought-provoking and engaging. From the first page until the last compelling word is read, this story captures a reader’s thoughts and brings forth a myriad of feelings. Her Perfect Life keeps one emotionally connected to each vividly portrayed moment in the life of one extraordinary woman. Regardless of the subject which Vicki Hinze chooses to explore, she always creates a story with convincing realistic scenes and lifelike characters. Her Perfect Life is an unforgettable story which will stay with readers long after the book is closed.” –Cataromance
“This is a well written book about a horrendous time in our country’s history. There is a sensitivity conveyed that only a real writer can produce. Congratulations, Ms. Hinze, you are an excellent author.” –Rendezvous
“An incredibly emotional read. Have Kleenex handy–you’ll need it. C.D. and Katie are wonderful protagonists and their story is the reason why one picks up a romance novel.” TOP PICK AWARD –Kristi Ablers, RT Book Club
“Her Perfect Life is a tense character study that grips readers.” FIVE STARS! –Harriet Klausner
“During our recent ordeal of Hurricane Ike, when we had no electric power for eleven days and the temperatures were in the 90s most of the time, I read Vicki Hinze’s Her Perfect Life. I had bought it some time ago but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I picked it up, hoping for some distraction from the heat, and I got it in spades. This is a quite wonderful book … not sentimental, but genuinely moving. The premise is that the heroine, a military pilot shot down in the Mid-East six years previously and imprisoned in a “tribal” prison where she is tortured and humiliated, is rescued and returned home. She finds that her husband, who was told she was dead, has remarried, and her two children, who were very young when she was shot down, are older and don’t know if they want to know her. Everyone has mourned her and moved on with their lives. Now I know that this sounds incredibly depressing. But it wasn’t, because of Hinze’s writing skills. What it is, is touching, satisfying because of the way the heroine keeps fighting for “her perfect life” as she imagined it long ago in her girlhood, and ultimately optimistic and moving because of the way she, and her hero, who is her co-pilot, not her husband, find their way to happiness and a new “perfect life.” What is outstanding is that there are no black and white characters. Her husband, who is pretty much of a superficial control freak, has his actions modified and moderated by his fine, kind second wife. Her children are far more flexible and optimistic than some I have known, and they want to give her a chance to know them. And the HEA is a believable one, achieved by her own courage and determination. And the compassion of her co-pilot hero. If you want to read a book which will leave you happier about life when you finish it, try this one.” –MarianneM, All About Romance