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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Angela Williams Reviews Shirley Melis's "Banged-Up Heart"

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing, guest blogger Angela Williams, and Mari from Artotems as well as Shirley Melis. Without these amazing friends this lovely post would not be possible!


Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss

Review by Angela Williams

I was skeptical when I was asked to review the book Banged up Heart. It is not a type of book that I would normally pick up and read all on my own. I am a person that likes a good mystery or thriller. My attention has to be captured within the first few chapters or I will never pick up the book again. I am not a person that reads about love stories. That was immediately what I thought this book was going to be all about. At first, it was a little bit of a struggle to get myself to read it. I think that was because of my preconceived expectations. Before I knew it, I was done with the book.

This book is more than just a love story. It is more about how two people can battle odds together and become closer than ever. It also is about how to deal with emotions after a loss. For anyone that has suffered any type of personal loss, I think it would be an easy story to relate to. It is heartbreaking and exciting all at the same time. It made me think about how I would handle a situation similar. It really made me sort of evaluate myself. Could I be strong? How would I process the emotions that Shirley was feeling? Would I have handled it the same way?

It was very well written and easy to read, once I got in to it. I think this would be the perfect book for anyone that likes books that tug at the heart strings a little.

Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 193828870X
ISBN-13: 978-1938288708

Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.

About Shirley

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Shirley can also be found online at:




Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!

Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:

Feb 23 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Don't miss today's interview between memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro and Shirley Melis. Find out more about Melis and her memoir Banged Up Heart.

Feb 23 @ Writer’s Pay it Forward
MC Simon interviews Shirley Melis about her novel Banged Up Heart for readers at Writers Pay it Forward. Don't miss this courageous memoir.

Feb 24 @ Memoir Writers Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler shares her thoughts with readers of Memoir Writer's Journey - find out what Pooler has to say about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.

Feb 27 @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Educator and Entrepreneur Cathy Hansen reads and reviews Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis. You'll want to stop by Bring On Lemons today for your chance to learn more about this touching and encouraging memoir.

Feb 28 @ Bring on Lemons with Cindi Ashbeck
Cindi Ashbeck shares her thoughts after reading the touching story Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.

March 1 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.

March 2 @ Book Santa Fe with Tange Dudet
Avid reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudet shares her thoughts and feelings after reading the touching memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.

March 3 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis's book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question - it's great hearing from YOU!

About today’s reviewer:
Angie Williams is a simple girl living in a complicated world. She grew up on a family dairy farm in rural Wisconsin and loves her family and has a soft spot for all animals, but especially cows. She works at the beautiful Lighthouse Inn on the shores of Lake Michigan. When she's not cheering on the Dallas Cowboys you can find Angie hanging out with her husband, children, and extended family.


  1. Angela, thank you for your review of Banged-Up Heart for WOW! Women on Writing. I'm delighted that you found my memoir, once you got into it, worth reading and pondering.