Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Tangled Tale of Hart's, Heart's Haven

From the Column:
"Falls Facts & Foibles"

by Belle Eyre
Angel Falls Trumpet, Staff Writer

Angels? Yes, of course! At least one per person…

Love? Well, rumor has it this place is some kind of mystical “gateway to romance.” No one who lives here is immune…and sometimes even visitors fall under its power, completely unprepared and often unwillingly.

Family legend? Oh, yeah. And a beautiful little quote to keep it living on and on forever.

All that, in one little rental complex, nestled in the shadow of the Angelina National Forest in East Texas? Absolutely—if the rental complex in question is Heart’s Haven.

The place is owned by landlord Andrew Hart. (He doesn’t like cameras, but think Clint Eastwood in his more mature days.) He’s a crusty old bachelor, not big on conversation, but some folks believe he does speak with angels. While Hart doesn’t bother to so much as acknowledge those whispered rumors, neither does he deny them. And more than one reliable witness has seen the man talking to…well, nobody!

Hart lives in a huge old manor that fronts the property. When his grandparents opened a boardinghouse there, back in the 1800s, it was known as Hart House. Andrew and Lily Hart did well at the business, and Lily made the best chicken pot pie—to say nothing of her apple pies!—for miles around. Yet, not a bachelor in the area would allow himself to be tempted by the lady’s culinary expertise, because it seemed every time a man stepped through the door of Hart House, he came back out with a gal on his arm. Truth, folks!

Lily lovingly stitched a tapestry—it still hangs in the big house—with the words, “May love find all who enter here.” The current Andrew had those words carved into lovely wooden signs that hang over the trellised gates of all the rental cottages. And even today, they seem to have some kind of…I don’t know…love magic? Seriously. Most of the tenants do fall in love while living there—and quite often, they fall for each other. (Good thing most of them aren’t aware of the Heart’s Haven legend before they move in! Chances are, those lovely little apartments would sit empty a great deal of the time. Now that would be doggone shame…!)

Oh, and about the name of this place. You see, Andrew Hart
meant to name his little rental community Hart’s Heaven. His name, and his opinion about the heavenly beauty of the area—to say nothing of his stunningly beautiful flower gardens. But when he called someone out to carve the big sign that hangs out front, next to the main highway leading into Angel Falls, something (Someone?) must have had other ideas. You see, the sign maker turned up three sheets to the wind, and put the ‘e’ in the wrong word. The result was Heart’s Haven, and old Hart—frustrated and completely out of sorts—never bothered to have it changed.

You can watch folks fall in love, despite themselves, starting with Pia and David in Jewels for the Kingdom by Delia Latham. The other three books in our introductory collection are Operation Breathless (by Marianne Evans); Leap of Faith (by Tanya Stowe); and Dance with Me (by Mary Manners)

But the fun doesn’t stop there. With those first eight tenants almost certainly becoming just four couples, Old Hart faced the prospect of some empty cabins and placed an ad in the Angel Falls Trumpet. Needless to say, he had no trouble getting folks to move into those charming little cottages. Soon enough, four more stories just begged to be told—and they were, in the second collection, Heart’s Haven Holidays. They are: Lexi’s Heart (by Delia Latham); Love Notions (by Mary Manners); Haunted Hearts (by Tanya Stowe); and Maria’s Angel (by Marianne Evans).

Look like Old Hart’s gonna be a regular customer here at the Trumpet. If you’d like a tour of his heavenly little complex out there at the edge of the Angelina National Forest, I know he’d be happy to show you around. Just remember, sometimes the romance of the Haven touches visitors too…

© Delia Latham 2012

Special Note, July 2014:

Heart's Haven has suffered some deep losses in the time since this article was written. I'll leave that bit of news for the writers to reveal in their novels. However, I will say that it appears the Heart's Haven angels never take a break. Another collection of romantic tales came to life during Easter of this year, with: Jodie's Song by Marianne Evans; Wounded Grace by Tanya Stowe; Designed by Love by Mary Manners; and Love in the WINGS by Delia Latham.

This reporter can hardly wait to see what happens next at Heart's Haven!

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