What the Heart Knows: A Milford-Haven Novel - Book One



“… in Mara Purl’s enchanting novel
What the Heart Knows …
although the picturesque, seaside setting of Milford-Haven plays an important role in the novel, the cast of interesting and eccentric characters is what really draws the reader into the book. Purl skillfully tackles tough environmental issues such as land development and offshore oil drilling through the lives of her characters and the events that unfold. Detailed descriptions of scenic settings, eccentric characters, and tantalizing storylines combine to make this book one that fans of romance will enjoy.”

– BookWire

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

– Bob Johnson
Former Managing Editor, The Associated Press

“Mara Purl’s
What the Heart Knows
is a first class novel by a very talented writer with strong believable characters, a rapid-pace delivery of story, and very tight writing that make this novel such a delight to read. Purl and Milford-Haven are off to a great start. I look forward to seeing other titles in this impressive series.”

Gary Roen,
Nationally Syndicated Book Reviewer

“I read Mara Purl’s
What the Heart Knows
and loved the book—just devoured it, in fact—and can’t wait to read the next installment.”

– Anne L Holmes, APR
National Association of Baby Boomer Women

“Every reader who enjoys book series about small town life has a treat to anticipate in … Mara Purl’s
Milford-Haven Novels.”

– Dee Ann Ray, The Clinton Daily News

“Mara Purl’s characters have become old friends and I keep expecting one of them to give me a call!”

– Nanci Cone, Ventura Breeze

“… in a series of romantic novels centered in the fictional California coastal town of Milford-Haven, we meet … an intrigu[ing] cast of diverse characters.”

– Fred Klein, Santa Barbara News Press



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

“Mara Purl tells stories from the heart. Don’t miss her

Kathy (Mrs. Louis) L’Amour

“I curled up in an arm chair and had a delicious read. Loved it from cover to cover. You hooked me with your characters, took me on an adventure of discovery and romance, and left me wanting more. I’m celebrating the beautiful work you created in
What the Heart Knows.”

– Erin Gray, Actress, Author, Producer
Buck Rogers in the 25
Act Right: A Manual for the On-Camera Actor

“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 the Central Coast, superb. I think I’m hooked!”

– JanetPenn Franks
California Central Coast Author, Historian & Photographer

“Don’t read Mara Purl’s
series—unless you want to be captivated!”

Nicheiie Nichols
Best-Selling Author of “Beyond Uhura-Star Trek Memories”

Milford-Haven Novels
… are hitting all the right things. Well-drawn characters, fun style of prose … now I’m just waiting to see how the next plot unravels. Beautiful work!”

– Katherine Shirek Doughtier
Award-winning Author

Winner - Silver - Benjamin Franklin Award - Adult Fiction/Audio


audio book of What the Heart Knows
is a thoroughly satisfying and engrossing listen! Your marvelous vocal character delineations (I loved the gravelly ‘Jack’ and the quirky Southern ‘Sally’)—and your plot twists and turns—kept me ‘all ears’ for many hours of entertainment!”

– Stephanie Zimbalist, Actress, Los Angeles

“I just loved,
your book on tape. I am a real fan of yours now. One gets so drawn into the stories and the characters that you’ve created. I couldn’t wait to get into the car and to listen to it.”

– Linda Meadows, Artist, Los Angeles

the hit BBC radio series


“Mara Purl’s mix of a soap-opera format … is a smash hit in Britain.”

– The Los Angeles Times

“A sudsy look at today’s toughest issues.”

The Hollywood Reporter

“A slice of life in ’small-town U.S.A.’ includes well-known cast members and music artists like the Doobie Brothers.”


What the Heart Knows



When Hummers Dream:
A Milford-Haven Story

Christmas Angels:
A Milford-Haven Story Collection

The Milford-Haven Novels:
Early Editions

Non- Fiction

Act Right: A Manual for the On-Camera Actor
(with Erin Gray)

Kenneth Leventhal&Co.:
A History of the Firm

S.T.A.R -Student Theatre & Radio
High School Curriculum; College Curriculum


Mary Shelley-In Her Own Words
(with Sydney Swire)

Dracula’s Last Tour

Screenplays & Teleplays

The Meridian Factor
(with Verne Nobles)

Welcome to Milford-Haven
(with Katherine Doughtie Nolan)

Guiding Light

Radio Plays

(100 episodes)

Green Valley

Haven Ten

S.T.A.R. Teleplay

Only A Test

S.T.A.R. Radio Plays

America the
Ashton Valley
Boom Caught in a Web
The Curse of Santa
Deep Freeze
Fountain Hills Mall
Frozen Hearts
The Game
Going Somewhere
In or Out
The Journal
Love Child Love Resolutions
The New Girl
The Peak Mystery
San Fefiz
Tokyo Time Travel
Westland High Wrong Way

What the Heart Knows

Mara Purl

Book One

A Milford-Haven Novel

Bellekeep Books


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental. The names of actual persons are used by permission.

What the Heart Knows
© 2011 by Mara Purl
New Edition
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
For information address: Bellekeep Books
Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Front Cover – Original Watercolor by Mary Helsaple © 2009
Front, Back Covers and Jacket design by Tara Goff, Bellekeep Books & Kevin Meyer, Amalgamated Pixels
© 2011 by Milford-Haven Enterprises, LLC.
Copy Editor: Vicki Werkley. Proofreader: Lenore Hotchkiss.
Author photos: Lesley Bohm.

Milford-Haven PUBLISHING, RECORDING & BROADCASTING HISTORY This book is based in part upon the original radio drama Milford-Haven © 1987 by Mara Purl, Library of Congress numbers SR188828, SR19Q79Q, SR194010; and upon the original radio drama Milford-Haven, U.S.A. © 1992 by Mara Purl, Library of Congress number SR232-483, broadcast by the British Broadcasting Company’s BBC Radio 5 Network, and which is also currently in release in audio formats as Milford-Haven, U.S.A. © 1992 by Mara Purl. Portions of this material also appear on the Milford-Haven Web Site,
© by Mara Purl
All rights reserved.
Portions of this work were published in early editions
Test-Marketing Novelization Edition Copyright © 1997 by Mara Purl
Library of Congress Txu-766-374
Early Edition Copyright © 2005 by Mara Purl
Library of Congress TX 6-452-073

The Library of Congress has catalogued this book as follows:
Purl, Mara.

What the heart knows / Mara Purl. -- New ed.
    p.; cm. -- (A Milford-Haven novel; Book one)


Based on the original radio dramas Milford-Haven and Milford-Haven U.S.A., broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Network.

Portions also appear on the World Wide Web at

ISBN: 978-1-936878-01-7

1. City and town life--California--Fiction. 2. Man-woman relationships--Fiction. 3. California--Fiction. 4. Mystery fiction. I. Title. II. Title: Milford-Haven U.S.A. (Radio program) III. Title: Milford-Haven (Radio program) PS3566.U75 W453 2011 813/.54

Published in the U.S. by Bellekeep Books, New York
Distributed by Midpoint Trade Books, New York
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America

This book is dedicated to the towns of Cambria, California, and Milford Haven, Wales, whose people, history, and geography have given to me bountifully of their riches. May their precious environmental beauty be forever unpolluted and unspoiled


The New Edition

Thanks to my new publishers: Margot Atwell for vision, guidance and faith from day one; and to Patrice Samara and Kara Johnson at the new Bellekeep imprint. Eric Kampmann and the entire team at Midpoint Trade Books. Thanks to my gifted editorial team: Vicki Hessel Werkley, editor; Lenore Hotchkiss, proofreader. Thanks to Mary Helsaple for exquisite watercolors for my book covers, and to Kevin Meyer and Amalgamated Pixels for superb cover design and graphics.

Thanks to my marketing team: Dianemarie and Doug Collins at DM Productions for PR and marketing; Jonatha King for MH Novels list-building; Wendy Wilkinson for national magazine articles; Sue Leonard and Kelly Johnson for Internet wizardry; Sky Esser and Robert Sokol for web design.

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