When the Heart Listens

The award-winning Prequel in the Milford-Haven Saga


What a perfect title for this novella. Once again Purl pulls out all the stops and goes straight to the heart of the story. This is the where it all began – Miranda’s quest for the life she wasn’t aware she wanted and needed. The descriptions are so spot on you can almost feel you are in the flower fields in Central California, I could taste the food at French Laundry, and could picture the murals in Miranda’s space in the house she shares with her sister. Sibling relationships are complicated at best, and Purl offers the perfect mix of closeness and rivalry. I’ve been a follower of Mara Purl’s work for years and am so happy to now know the back story of Miranda’s life. It’s also very comforting to know that listening to your heart over your common sense is, at times, the right thing to do.
Linda Thompson, Host of TheAuthorsShow.com

“When the Heart Listens by Mara Purl is a novel featuring two wildly different sisters. Miranda is beyond artistic, working as a landscape artist expressing herself through lovely works of art. Her sister, Meredith, on the other hand, works as a successful financial investment advisor. When their mother cooks up a scheme to bring the pair closer together, they experience arguments, new love interests, career opportunities, and most importantly strengthen their beautiful bond. This book highlights the importance of maintaining family bonds even in one’s adult life as we are taken through the many highs and lows of the Jones family and the relationship between the Jones sisters. Above all, the message of following your heart and dreams is embedded very well in this story and will undoubtedly influence readers in a positive way. Overall, Mara Purl’s family saga is a captivating story with a fully developed plot, detailed descriptions, and heartwarming characters.
Elite Choice Awards (Winner-Gold-Fiction)



Winner – USA Best Book Award, Novella
Winner – Book Excellence Award, Faction
Winner – Pinnacle Award, Novella
Winner – Elite Choice Award, Women’s Fiction
Silver – Global eBook Award, Short Story
Finalist – American Fiction Award, Women’s Lit




Can the heart be telling us something we can’t quite hear?

Landscape artist Miranda Jones thought she was on track. Yet something feels off kilter. The subjects of her work all live in nature, yet she herself lives in the city. Her rep and her family emphasize money as the benchmark of success, yet her own goals have to do with the professional challenges of excellence, adventure, and authenticity. She plans a brief trip to join plein air artists in the Carrizo Plain to paint this year’s extraordinary super bloom. Yet what she experiences is a journey that opens a chapter into a new life. At least it will, if she considers what might happen . . . when the heart listens.

Read the novella of protagonist Miranda before the saga begins! Though the book stands alone, it also extends the Milford-Haven Novels, the critically acclaimed, best-selling series, a multi-generational saga. Based on Purl’s BBC Radio drama Milford-Haven U.S.A.

This novella introduces many of the central characters of the Milford-Haven series and explains how big-city girl Miranda winds up in the small central CA coast town. The story has a touch of romance, along with key background information that sets the stage for much of the action to come in the book series, while remaining an insightful look at the pressures of being a modern working woman and truly felt family dynamics – a most satisfying read!
Marilyn Harris, Vail, Arizona

This might be the most awesome book in the Milford-Haven series so far. While reading, I was envying artist-protagonist Miranda’s discovery of finding her sense of place. And reading the plein air painting chapter gave me little chilblains down my arms and made my painting fingers twitch. Nice Job!”
Mary Helsaple, Water media IX Silver Medal Award, Washington Ad Press
Silver Award for World Wildlife brochure, Artist for Grand Canyon Land Trust, Artists in Normandy, Milford-Haven Novels

“Sinking into the world of Milford-Haven’s core family, it’s such fun to get to know them better and learn that I like them all, albeit for different reasons. There is a true brilliance to your work, your vision, and the only thing needed is to carry on and finish each segment and braid them all together. I am cheering you on!”
Laurie Jameson, WILLA award-winning author

“I have enjoyed so much reading When the Heart Listens. It was so lovely I didn’t want it to end . . . and I see the series doesn’t end! I will continue to read your beautiful writing! And I will share with my mom and my sister and friends!”
Julie Scroggs, Seattle

Reading When the Heart Listens made me realize how important it was for me to have [the protagonist’s] history. I am really captivated by Miranda. [Having read some of your books before,] now I’m at a place where I want to go back and really read them in order from start to finish.
Carol Schmidt, Shell Beach, California

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