Wounded Hearts Take a Chance

19 July 2023

Wounded Hearts Take a Chance
by Debbie Quigley
Published by Endless Sky Books
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$9.99 ISBN 9781989398722

Wounded Hearts Take A Chance is an attractive book with a positive message: women can recover from intense heartbreak and love again. Written by Debbie Quigley, a “retired healthcare worker” who writes “simple and real” poetry in what she calls her “whisper-art form,” this 28-page softcover is a poetic self-help read for those “whose wounded hearts have been shattered into pieces, those who are afraid to take a chance on loving another man”.

Across pages topped with light floral graphics, Quigley unfolds the narrative of a woman who has been “Keeping walls around her heart” and “Drying her own tears,” but, she writes, “Gazing at the stars at night” and “Holding a warm hand” are what “We all want,” and she encourages the reader to “Let someone in [their] life!”.

The thirteen free verse poems are ordered chronologically as a new relationship blossoms, beginning with a “first-glance attraction” that results in a dinner date. After this, “Exhilarated excitement enters her focus/Words of trust being built/Each word a brick of trust/Bringing her to the point of slowly tearing down the walls/around her heart”. Once one has “[Packed] away the luggage of the past,” she is able to “Write the next chapters in [her] life”.

The strongest piece in this slim book is “Walk in the Woods,” as it contains several concrete images, sensory details, a simile and a metaphor. In these woods “Trees the size of skyscrapers touch the sky” and the tails of the accompanying dogs wave “like flags in the air”. We hear the twigs snap “as each footstep was taken,” and see that “Mushrooms of all hues added colour bright/To nature’s browns on the deep-woods floor”. Poetry is all in the details.

The author places high value on the humble act of holding hands. In her poem “Hand to Hold,” she writes about holding her father’s hand as a child, “A hand of safety”. Throughout the years, if we’re lucky, we hold numerous hands, but “Many of us wait a lifetime for that special hand”.

It would seem that Debbie Quigley has indeed found “that special hand,” and the joy in that has resulted in this, her second book. Wind Whispers, her first collection of poetry, is available on Amazon. If you’d like to read more work by this Ontario author – who “lives in a small hamlet surrounded by nature and wildlife” – her poetry also appears on Author’s Den and in Spiritual Writers Network publications.

Wounded Hearts Take A Chance was published by Endless Sky Books, founded by Regina author Edward Willett. Endless Sky Books “is an eclectic hybrid publisher of all kinds of books, from children’s books to poetry to fiction to nonfiction”. To learn more about Endless Sky Books – and perhaps learn how you can turn your own experiences into published poetry – see endless-sky-books.com.

Reading Quigley’s book of gentle poems is like having a friend assure you that despite your sorrow, if you can open your heart to love again, everything will be fine.


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