All a Heart Needs

Originally Published: 10-12-2020

All a Heart Needs is the 5th book in the Callaways Series by Barbara Freethy.

Remember this series is about the Callaway family, all 8 kids!!

Book Details

All a Heart Needs is Sean’s story.  He’s the odd man out in his large family.  He’s a musician and song writer instead of being a firefighter or a smoke jumper.  

And throughout the whole series, there’s clues to the fact that Sean doesn’t get along with his father, the bigger-than-life Jack Callaway.

It’s classified as both a contemporary romance and a romantic suspense.

And of course, there’s another book cover for this, but it’s almost the same.

You’ll find this book to be a full length novel with no cliff hanger.  There’s a problem to solve that they work together to solve.  

And yes there’s also story loops for future stories and pieces from previous characters so that we know how they are doing.  Basically we hear from the people in the lives of the whole family.

And while this is a romance, the mystery is the bigger part of the plot.  And this one has to do with something that has haunted Sean since he was a child.  And that has shaped who he became.

Book Summary

Sean first met Jessica Schilling in book 4 when his sister Nicole was dealing with the kidnapping of her son as well as Jessica’s son, who just happened to be the brother to her own son.

By this book, it’s several months later and Jessica has moved to San Fran and has been adopted into the Callaway family.  Her and Nicole are co-parenting the boys together as much as they can without living in the same house.

Kyle became the link that Brandon needed to be in the world and to connect with others.  And Kyle got a brother and another set of parents that can be there!

As Jessica was welcomed into the Callaway family, she also was welcomed into all the family business.  And when one gets word that a family friend needs someone to rent her family home, it’s offered to Jessica and Kyle.

But it’s at this house the a fire happened many years before and have been the haunting dreams for as long as Sean can remember.

And it’s with Sean’s insistence that they look into the fire.  He desperately needs answers.  Answers as to why his best friend died and why the fire started in the first place.

And together the start investigating and looking into the past because this fire happened when Sean was just a kid and it shaped who he is and who he became.

Because Sean saw this fire and actually saw his best friend (a little girl) being burned alive, he never wanted to go into firefighting or anything remotely connected to what his family is.  And this caused a lot of friction between him and his father.

Jessica also has her issues.  She’s lost many loved ones and is reluctant to even try to love again.

But the chemical reaction between the two is intense and they fight it for a long time in the novel.  But of course, they finally come together and yes, that includes a love scene with details.

As they really get to know each other and dig into the cause of this fire, danger lurks just beyond the bend.  And they have to fight for each other.  And that helps to solidify what’s happening between them.

In the end, they do solve things around the fire and Sean does get the answers that he so desperately needs.  

And they decide they love each other and decide to live happily ever after, it just take a while to get there!!


I really enjoyed this book.  Sean, as a musician and song writer, is a different character than the rest of the Callaway clan.  He’s softer, less abrasive, more of a thinker instead of a doer.

It’s nice to see a different type of character as a part of this family.  And to see how they fit in with all the different personalities that we’ve gotten to know so far.

This story is much more of mystery.  A sad and troubling mystery.  Sean has been haunted by his best friend’s death since he was just a little kid.  He always blamed himself, even tho he was just a kid.  

With finding all the answers he’s finally to put to rest the things that have been bothering him.  And along the way, him and Jessica find each other and choose to make things work.

So, the mystery is interesting, compelling.  The romance is tender and sweet.  We see each character grow and become what they were meant to be.

Check out the other books in the Callaways Series:

If you liked Falling for a Stranger, you might like: