Readers’ Comments

. . . About the Series

Don’t read Mara Purl’s Milford-Haven series – unless you want to be captivated!

Nichelle Nichols, Best-Selling Author of Beyond Uhura: Star Trek Memories

Mara Purl tells stories from the heart. Don’t miss her Milford-Haven novels.

Kathy (Mrs. Louis) L’Amour

Girl – you write good!

Jeannie Wilson, Actress, North Hollywood

I have been reading Mara Purl’s national award-winning books for a long time and they are terrific. They’re engrossing and inspiring. Each time a new one is published I can’t wait to start reading her latest!

Ellen Reid, The Expert on Excellence in Publishing

I love the focus on intuition in your stories. It’s not easy to tell a compelling story that also incorporates this idea of an inner voice that guides us–or seeks to. It’s certainly not easy to do without sounding new-agey. I also love the depth of research that bolsters your work. And you make those beautifully picturesque towns in central California come alive with your writing. I’ve visited quite a few of the ones you mention, and the stupendous views I admired came back to me as I was reading your book. And I found myself in awe of your storytelling technique–using multiple POVs to flesh out the story. We’re accustomed to it in television or film, but it’s rather avant-garde for commercial fiction.

Nupur Tustin

Slow down and enjoy! Like life itself, this story takes its time to unfold. Those readers who express disappointment at the lack of a conclusion in the Milford-Haven novels are missing the point – through the ever-developing story lines in these books, we’re treated to real depth in the characters, truly rich descriptions of the surrounding environment and a level of emotional involvement that rivals our own very real lives. This 2nd book in the series is SO much more than the typical romance novel which constitutes what many people consider “women’s fiction” – it’s a joy to savor! I have no doubt that by the end, all questions will be answered – in the meanwhile, just as life is a journey and not a destination, I’m enjoying the pace of THIS journey, which allows me to notice all the details and insights the author so carefully reveals, all in due time!

Marilyn Harris, Award-winning Musician & Song-Writer, Tucson, Arizona

In Mara Purl’s books the writing is crisp and clean, the dialogue realistic, the scenes well described. I salute her ingenuity.

Bob Johnson, Managing Editor, Associated Press

I found your characters very real and lively. I am very much impressed with your ability to weave so many different characters into a meaningful saga!

Janet Wienpahl, Santa Barbara

. . . About Book One, What the Heart Knows

A new series set in coastal California lured me into its depths this weekend. I spent an enjoyable, but sometimes unsettling two days reading What the Heart Knows by Mara Purl, a Milford-Haven novel. Mara Purl delves into the psyche of her characters with numerous paragraphs to reveal a character’s thoughts. I especially like that Mara provides a list of characters at the end of the book, and would appreciate if more authors followed this practice. The scenery swims around the characters in the words of Mara and through the eyes of Miranda Jones, an artist. Cattiness and deception flow from many of the women, and true friendship shimmers in the distance. Ruthlessness and aloofness gush from the men, who hide any hint of feeling. I see the characters on a disastrous journey with the ice berg hiding, but ready to plummet the individuals into chaos. Mara utilizes the scenery and nature in the story to provide a sense of calm and danger, as the reader wonders what has become of Christine Christian.


I just finished reading What the Heart Knows and really liked it. The story was intriguing, the writing excellent, and the way you captured the ambiance of Cambria, superb. I found the “Cast of Characters” in the back of the book very helpful, too. I will definitely read the next book in your series. I think I’m hooked!

Janet Penn Franks, Author, Central Coast Historian

In What the Heart Knows, the author writes powerfully about nature – you know she loves her territory and understands it well – both the environment and the humans. Every character is real – and deep. I was fascinated by and understood their motivations and their quandaries – and what they’re learning about life. It also took me away from my own quandaries, which is sometimes important. Because I cared enough about them all to wish I knew how they would all wind up…eventually. Now I’m hooked, I’ll have to read every sequel.

Kathleen Arc Hebald, Santa Fe

I did purchase What the Heart Knows during your recent internet launch from Haven Books and enjoyed it. You have a new fan!

Mary Osborne, Colorado Springs

I got so involved with your story, I’m dying to read book two!

Jan Mergy, San Diego

Mara Purl is an amazing story teller and What The Heart Knows is a wonderful heart felt story:

The story takes place in a beautiful town in California, Purl pulls you into her world right away. With her smart and sassy characters. A local artist Miranda Jones that is finally getting recognized for her work. And is Zack her total love interest? what are they doing? where are they going? I loved the relationship with Samantha and Jack. Purl brings in total strangers from different parts of the world. Why? Why not? they each have nothing to loose. The stakes are high for each of them as they search and struggle to start each of their lives over again. Purls’ new Milford-Haven series is wonderful. I received the book for an honest review. A lovely illustrated cover and I can see why Purl is a National Award-Winning Author. What The Heart Knows is a perfect story to be book 1 in the Milford-Haven Series.

Toni House

I thoroughly enjoyed What The Heart Knows. I loved the way you entwined the lives of the characters. I look forward to continuing the novel, and trust that you are busy writing to satisfy us, your readers!

Melanie Humphrey, Author, Snowmass Village

I finished What the Heart Knows and . . . found a kinship with . . . your heart for character, especially with the . . . interspersing of spirit and life planning and healing with your truly fine unveiling of story events.I truly enjoyed the book and have just visited your site and ordered the next three!

Jane Kirkpatrick, Author, Wrangler Award; Willa Award

I think What the Heart Knows is damn good. I thought the sex was handled so well: convincing, discreet, intriguing. I felt you were really getting into the minds of these people.

Raymond Purl, Colorado Springs

Thank you for introducing me to Milford-Haven and Mara Purl’s wonderful imagination! I read the first book in one sitting! This will be the beginning of my collection of Mara’s books.

Maggy Magee, Director of Membership, Garden of the Gods Club

Your book was excellent! You’re a wonderful writer, with such vivid descriptions and such gripping characters. But you left me hanging! My goodness I’ve got to have the next book immediately!

Jan Snyder, Los Angeles

I love your book What the Heart Knows! I am so enthralled, I’m trying to read it slowly. It’s so exciting and I just love your characters!

Cindy Beattie, Artist, Yosemite National Park

I was halfway through What the Heart Knows when my bookkeeper insisted on borrowing it. She promised to bring it back tomorrow. You’ve got a gift for dialogue and scene structure. I always count on well-trained actors to understand the nature of both, and you do.

Harriet Rochlin, Author, Los Angeles

I have just read What the Heart Knows with great enjoyment. All your characters are vivid and each one is memorable. Although there are a lot of them, there’s no confusing them. You have excellent control of each one and scatter your hints and clues which I look forward to having explained/ expanded upon. You are well on your way to giving Danielle Steel a run for her money.

Miranda Kenrick, Author, Tokyo

Read your book yesterday at one sitting. There appears to be no end to your talent. Your verbal imagery is very effective. You draw your reader into the story easily. Good work.

Howard Fisher, M.D., Denver

What the Heart Knows is the kind of novel you can curl up with while you enjoy getting to know the different people in the central California town of Milford-Haven, as well as getting to know the town itself. Mara Purl is a skillful storyteller who has written a charming and tantalizing saga about the ways in which lives can intersect and be forever changed. The first novel in the saga, What the Heart Knows, is not-to-be-missed.

Margaret Coel, New York Times best-selling author of The Wind River Mysteries

I can tell you’re a real storyteller, whether you’re doing it through radio drama or novels. As a writer you have a way of making images immediately clear. I love your characters and love your books!

Katy Sullivan, Actress, Los Angeles

Just finished reading the book. What a pleasure! I had no idea, in the beginning, what I would find and if I would read any other books in the series. Now, after finishing the first, I can hardly wait to order the whole series. I want to find out what happens to each one of these interesting people who actually remind me of some of my friends. Mara, I can honestly say that I am extremely impressed by your work. This story is so real. One of the reasons I like your writing is thatI find myself learning things which I didn’t know before. To me, that’s a real turn on. I’ll just give you one example. In the last chapter, where Samantha writes in her journal, it was chock full of information. I could read that over and over. There was so much to think about. All of the feelings she was experiencing and the thoughts she was having. I can see why it is called a book for women. Just to touch the surface: the Myers Briggs test reference I found enlightening; the quotes from Deprak Chopra are fascinating and her thoughts about abandoning her child will really hit home with women who have had to do that or chosen to do that at some point in their lives. You touch on so many emotions and issues. Personally, I just loved reading it. The first thing I noticed is your style of painting pictures for the mind of your readers. You paint colors, textures, scenes that your reader can simply place themselves right into. You make it easy for the reader to participate in these scenes you set for them. Guess I better stop now. It’s 2:00 AM!

Carolyn Arnold, Honolulu

. . . About Book Two, Where the Heart Lives

I have so much fun reading Mara Purl’s books! I just finished Where the Heart Lives, after not having been able to put down What the Heart Knows last weekend. I couldn’t have chosen better books for the pure enjoyment of reading a good story. I’m so glad I read them! Now, please tell the author to get the next Ten in her series written!

Marguerite Lykes, Colorado Springs

I am really enjoying Where the Heart Lives. The drama has intensified in this second book. You are keeping me wanting to READ ON, so you are accomplishing your goal with this reader (me!).

Sue Leonard, Steamboat Springs

The book was most enjoyable! I was certainly left wondering what is to happen to all these people and especially about Chris’s fate. . . . If there are ten more books I suppose a LOT happens to them! The Doobie Brothers concert scenes were masterful.

Porter Halyburton, Rhode Island

I really enjoyed Where the Heart Lives. You’re very good at revealing what goes on in the hidden places of the minds and hearts of your characters – and the tension is good.

Pilulaw Khus, Santa Barbara

You annoyed me with how you left me hanging at the end of Book One – but all is forgiven because I didn’t have to wait too long for Book Two. This is a great story and it keeps getting deeper.

Shirley Catzman, San Diego

Opening a Mara Purl book is akin to opening a travel brochure for the central coast of California! She’s done it again with Where the Heart Lives, the much-awaited sequel to What the Heart Knows. Not only do we get to discover more about beloved characters like Miranda, Zack, and Samantha, we are challenged to understand the motivations behind the actions of sassy, self-absorbed Sally, social climber bombshell Cynthia, savvy but money-obsessed Zelda, and seductive but scarred and scared Susan. We are taken on an eye-opening tour of small town Milford-Haven, as well as on a whirlwind, informative road trip to big-city life in LA and beyond. The natural history of rare butterflies and the migration patterns of disappearing whales are playfully examined right alongside the personal history of people destined to learn and grow no matter how hard they might try to maintain their individual status quo, or hide their past mistakes. Chockfull of delicious details and rife with convoluted plot twists, no one knows what is going to happen next, least of all the characters themselves. We find ourselves cheering on our favorites and cringing at the not-so-nice concoctions the culprits might have hidden up their sleeves. The hardest part of reading Mara Purl’s drama-infused stories is waiting for the next novel in the series to appear!

aurie Wagner Buyer, Author, Spur Award, WILLA Award Finalist, Colorado Book Award Finalist

I enjoyed reading Where the Heart Lives. You have created some wicked characters! It was fun to read.

Melanie Humphrey, Author, Snowmass Village

I finished Where the Heart Lives this weekend and cannot wait to get into book three! Such interesting characters! I enjoyed the descriptive way you’ve carefully developed each one. I especially liked how Miranda and Zack met in the first book. I could see it all so clearly. And I can just see Sally snapping her gum as she works! I really liked how you created the scene of Sally meeting Tony. What an interesting person . . . I hope he reappears. Can we hope for a relationship?!

Mary Helsaple, Artist & Documentarian, Colorado Council on the Arts Governor’s Award, Emmy Award

What I love about this series is how Purl urges me forward with her rich descriptions of locale, her fascinating characters,and a multilayered story of love, murder, jealousy and deceit. Can it get any better than that? In the case of this novel, the answer is yes. Because in addition to an edge-of-your-seat tale, we’re treated to a novel where the writing is surperb. Think: excellent soap opera written as literary fiction. You’ll find yourself stopping, going back, and reading yet again one of many lovely passages.

Victoria Zackheim, author of Exit Laughing and The Other Woman

Where the Heart Lives covers the gamut of romance, glamour and intrigue! This second book in the Milford-Haven series has it all: romance, sex, fashion, mystery, rock’n’roll, art. There’s the crafty and the clueless, the devious and the devoted. The only problem is it all ends too soon! Where’s Book Three?!?!

An Reader, Los Angeles

I recently read Where the Heart Lives. What a delight. I can not tell you how many years I have wondered what a “soap opera” that actually contributed to life, might look like. I am so excited to have had the privilege to partake in one that does. I was upset that I had only brought one of the books with me. Thank you for who you are, and what you give of yourself to life!

Lynn Underhill, Global Administration IT Strategist, Colorado

I got What the Heart Knows over the internet and also a copy of Where the Heart Lives. I enjoyed both. You have a new fan!

Mary Osborne, Colorado Springs

I liked everything about Where the Heart Lives: the environmental issues, the romance, the setting, and most of all, the characters!

a reader

I finished reading your second novel Where the Heart Lives. I was very impressed with your ability to write. Your writing is as good as any of the best selling fiction writers that I have read, which is a good many of them. Your profusion of characters is very interesting and lively. It too is fun for me, the setting of the novel. It is so obvious just how good a writer you are.

Edward Steinfeldt, Santa Barbara

Your book Where the Heart Lives was excellent! You’re a wonder-ful writer, with such vivid descriptions and such gripping characters. But you left me hanging! My goodness I’ve got to have the next book immediately!

Jan Snyder, Sherman Oaks

I absolutely love your newest book, Where the Heart Lives, and it’s so close to home for me, like I was one of your characters. You are great at creating a vivid picture of each one, and the dialog is perfect. Thanks again, I ‘m sending all my e-mail friends my recommendation to get your book! Best wishes, I look forward to many more outstanding stories. Your fan forever.

Jeanne Blessing, Colorado Springs

. . . About When Hummers Dream

I read your series when they first came out and enjoyed them. I had downloaded “When Hummers Dream” quite a while ago, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. When I did, I had a delightful experience with a hummer as I read. I felt as though my hummer was the one in your story and it was really up close and personal. Thank you for a delightful tale of a feathered friend. I love hummers.

Judythe Guarnera

. . . About When Whales Watch

I am only a few chapters into your work, but felt impelled to report how enjoyable AND informative is the read. I knew very little about the whale species. Already, you have increased my knowledge of this fascinating mammal at least ten-fold. Your personification of the mother whale is brilliant writing – in my humble opinion. I can read in your story the love and fascination you have for these great fellow creatures. No doubt, I will fully share that feeling by the novel’s end. On the human side you get how guys think and talk. Glad to have the book handy on my iPad.

David S. Sands, Los Angeles, California

When Whales Watch is the story of unforgettable characters on an exhilarating race towards a life-changing event. I was on the edge of my seat.

Ophelia London, author of Playing at Love and Abby Road

The whale piece is a well written, fine short story. I am much impressed with your whale research. It is accurate and lends great veracity to the story. What’s more, I decided to sample your Milford-Haven serious. Generically the title would not have attracted me. I was curious to know more of your work and the quality of your writing. I have nothing but compliments for you and great respect for the time and discipline required to produce a fine novel (leave alone a series).

Stan Waterman, five-time Emmy-winning cinematographer and underwater film producer; Producer-Photographer Blue Water, White Death; author of Sea Salt

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