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‘The Artisan Heart’ by Dean Mayes
First Lines / Book Beginnings



Cover Image of The Book 'The Artisan Heart' By Author Dean Mayes


High on the emergency-department wall, a large digital clock flashed 6:00 p.m. The inner-city children’s hospital was a beehive of activity this evening, with people rushing to and fro, the noise of conversation and instruction competing with the mechanised sounds of medical monitors.

Each of the eleven cubicles, arranged in a herringbone formation around a central, glass-partitioned station dubbed the fishbowl, was occupied by ailing children and their guardians.

Nursing and medical staff passed in and out, undertaking initial examinations, recording observations, performing procedures. Other employees moved between the fishbowl and the cubicles, armed with request forms for radiology, pathology, or allied health consultations, or ferrying newly arrived results to the medical team.

The activity was frenetic, though not unusual, for this time on a Friday. It was chaos, but it was organised chaos.


Cover Image of The Book 'The Artisan Heart' By Author Dean MayesHayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette.

When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.

A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.

As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.



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Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • As an Intensive Care Nurse, I am sure that the book’s author, Dean Mayes, has seen more than his fair share of emergency departments. Although I do wonder if he is in fact describing one of the units in the hospital where he works, which must not only make the description of the physical place more accurate and detailed, but also help to make the description of the tension and atmosphere more vivid and real.

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading this weekend 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments Laurel and sharing your impressions. To answer Yvonne’s question (below), I can confirm that I based this early scene on an emergency department where I worked. It was often a frenetic environment and we, as nurses, were always go, go, go. A few of the scenes in the novel, which take place in the hospital, were drawn from actual experiences.

    • Don’t ask me. I couldn’t cope with either job on its own, let alone both together!

      Dean doesn’t churn out novels one after the other, but believe me, the three previous books he has written, have been amazing and all of them an emotional roller coaster in their own unique way.

      Thanks for visiting today and have a great weekend 🙂

      • Hi Roberta! Thanks for commenting. Yes, it’s true – I am an ICU Nurse and yes – I’m probably crazy but I actually manage to juggle my dual careers reasonably well. As any good nurse will tell you, time management is everything (and I actually have set hours, which makes planning a lot easier).

  • As far as romances go, this sounds quite good and gets off to a great start with these opening lines. I did enjoy The Recipient, so I know I like how he writes. I’ll keep this in mind. 🙂

    • I don’t know if you ever read Dean’s first romantic novel ‘The Hambledown Dream’, but it really was so good. If this story is even half as emotionally charged, it will be an amazing read.

      Happy Reading (and puzzling) 🙂

    • Hi Kelly – It’s always a thrill to see readers who have read my previous novels! Rest assured, The Artisan Heart isn’t your by the numbers romance. I think I’ve mixed it up a bit effectively so that it reads as a fresh take on the genre.

    • If you enjoy a novel written with a thoughtful and sensitive storyline at its core, underpinned by a cast of strong, well defined charcaters, then that sums up Dean’s writing style in a nutshell, no matter which genre he chooses for his novel and definitely ticks all the right boxes for me.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • It does sound as though Hayden was very much the ‘injured party’ in his marriage, although being married to a consultant was probably not a walk in the park, with the long hours and shifts he must have worked.

      I am wondering if the turning point for Hayden was not just in his personal life, but in a professional capacity as well – perhaps the ‘traumatic confrontation’?

      Knowing how meticulous Dean is for crafting a great storyline and characters, I just know that there will be plenty of emotional twists and turns along the way before Hayden finds happiness again.

      Thanks for the visit and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

    • Imagine James Norton (Grantchester) and that’s Hayden.

      I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I drew on some personal experiences to craft Hayden’s character and background. I hope it adds gravitas to the story and makes him seem more real.

      I am not anything like James Norton however…

Written by Yvonne