REVIEW: The Trail of Lost Hearts by Tracey Garvis Graves

Posted March 27th, 2024 by in Blog, HJ Recommends, Review / 6 comments


In The Trail of Lost Hearts by Tracey Garvis Graves, Wren Waters has always tried to stay positive and upbeat with anything the universe handed her. And now in her mid-thirties, she would normally say any challenges we face are there to teach us a lesson. But after having her entire world come crashing down on her–twice in one day–well, Wren is a complete and utter wreck. It takes some prodding and coercing on her best friend Steph’s part to get her out of bed and out into the world again. And she has to admit that getting back into nature on their hike did help. So, when Wren decides to strike out on her own geocaching in the Pacific Northwest, she heads out with the intent to find her footing again–literally and figuratively. She just didn’t realize she’d need to be rescued on the first trail she chooses.

‘Geocaching is sometimes described as the feeling of purpose in the middle of nowhere, and nothing had ever summed up my current situation so completely and succinctly.’

Psychologist Marshall Hendricks turns out to be Wren’s savior on that Oregon trail when things go sideways. A guy who is fighting his own grief over recent losses, he offers to travel for a while with her–as friends only. Agreeing that there is safety in numbers, Wren slowly gets to know her travel companion with every quest they go on and with every wall Marshall breaks down around her heart. Before they know it, the time has come to part ways. But Wren isn’t quite sure she’s ready to write Marshall out of her life for good. Could long distance work where she lives in Ohio, and he lives on the West coast? Not to mention, when another shock lands in her life, can Wren balance everything going on and not make the same mistakes as she has in the past?

“Anger is just sadness coming out sideways, Wren.”
His statement renders me speechless, and tears fill my eyes. It is the most profound and relatable explanation of grief that I have ever heard.

Tracey Garvis Graves always delivers. And THE TRAIL OF LOST HEARTS is no exception. A story that will have readers laughing, crying, and everything else in between, this was a tender look at grief, starting over, and the endless possibilities we’re sent by the universe–if we pay attention.

‘Maybe the universe wasn’t trying to send Marshall to me after all; maybe the universe was trying to send me to him.’

CW: View Spoiler »

THE TRAIL OF LOST HEARTS was classic Tracey Garvis Graves. Told from our heroine Wren’s first person POV, we followed along as she tried to overcome a couple of huge life-shattering events by slowly getting back out into the world. I loved that it was geocaching that helped her put aside her grief and devastation for a while. Such a cool hobby. And the fact that it was outdoors in the fresh air, something she could do anywhere, made Wren feel a tiny bit like her nature-loving old self again. It was her serendipitous meeting of Marshall–a fellow geocacher who was also healing after two big losses–that put her on a totally different path. One that she never could have foreseen.

Garvis Graves wrote Wren and Marshall’s story with the utmost of care and sensitivity while still fully exploring all the raw feelings, adding details that brought their predicaments completely to life on the pages. They were both in their mid-thirties. And that maturity was innately part of Marshall and Wren’s thoughts, actions, and decisions. That was why, even when they made mistakes or weren’t able to let each other in emotionally, it didn’t bother me. I knew that eventually they would apologize or make things right in their own way. And that made it so easy for me to hope Wren and Marshall would end up together. Because as out of control as their lives felt, when they were supporting one another and in each other’s arms, everything stabilized for them.

It was after one more surprising situation for Wren that she realized the universe had given her all she needed to stand on her own feet but to also allow the possibility of letting someone all the way into her heart again. And with a touching finale worthy of both a few tears and smiles, I think readers will be oh so happy with the path Wren’s life took.

QOTD: Have you or someone you know ever done any geocaching?

Book Info:

Publication: Published: March 26th, 2024 | St. Martin’s Press |

New York Times bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves takes readers on a life affirming journey, where two lost souls find the unexpected courage to love again.

Thirty-four-year-old Wren Waters believes that if you pay attention, the universe will send you exactly what you need. But her worldview shatters when the universe delivers two life-altering blows she didn’t see coming, and all she wants to do is put the whole heartbreaking mess behind her. No one is more surprised than Wren when she discovers that geocaching―the outdoor activity of using GPS to look for hidden objects―is the only thing getting her out of bed and out of her head. She decides that a weeklong solo quest geocaching in Oregon is exactly what she needs to take back control of her life.

Enter Marshall Hendricks, a psychologist searching for distraction as he struggles with a life-altering blow of his own. Though Wren initially rebuffs Marshall’s attempt at hiker small talk, she’s beyond grateful when he rescues her from a horrifying encounter farther down the trail. In the interest of safety, Marshall suggests partnering up to look for additional caches. Wren’s no longer quite so trusting of the universe―or men in general―but her inner circle might argue that a smart, charismatic psychologist isn’t the worst thing the universe could place in her path.

What begins as a platonic road trip gradually blossoms into something deeper, and the more Wren learns about Marshall, the more she wants to know. Now all she can do is hope that the universe gets it right this time.



6 Responses to “REVIEW: The Trail of Lost Hearts by Tracey Garvis Graves”

  1. Amy R

    Have you or someone you know ever done any geocaching? No
    Thanks for the review.

  2. psu1493

    I’ve never heard of geocaching before, but it sounds interesting. Thank you for the review. This story sounds good.