Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

This good novel begins with the tragic drowning of the lighthouse keeper at Windmill Point, Michigan, as his children stand helpless on the shore. Caroline, the oldest, had been doing most of the lighthouse work anyway so continued on with the work. She was dismayed when the superintendent of the lighthouses told her she would have to leave. It was no job for a woman, he said. With so many men returning from the recently ended Civil War, a war veteran had been hired to take over. She was given a week, then she and her siblings would have to be gone.

Ryan, the war veteran replacement shows up early. After an embarrassing misunderstanding at their meeting, he agrees to let her and her siblings stay in the house for a time. He'll sleep in the shed as it was better accommodations than he'd had in a while. She could help him learn the operation of maintaining the light. It would at least giver her and her younger siblings a short time to plan for their future.

The tension in the story increases as an affection develops between Ryan and Caroline while it becomes clear that there is someone who wants Caroline gone. Initially the underhanded tactics to force her out are just troubling. But then they turn potentially deadly.

I really liked this book. Ryan is a wonderfully flawed character. Though he survived the war, one hand was terribly mangled with a loss of several fingers. When he arrives at the lighthouse he is hooked on alcohol and opium pills to deal with the pain. Caroline soon realizes, though, that deep inside Ryan was a good man. She knew there was “a decent man buried somewhere beneath his layers of heartache.” His character development was great. Hedlund did a wonder job of helping us see the suffering associated with being in war and the difficulty of getting off pain killers. There are other concerns in the book too, such as opposition to cockfighting and the oppression of women.

Hedlund is a master of writing scenes that draw emotion from the reader. That is quite a gift. She is also a master at writing the characters into a situation that seems absolutely hopeless. This novel has emotional depth and is a recommended book to read.

This is book two in in Hedlund's Beacon of Hope series, although it can stand alone. The first book in the series is Love Unexpected. You can download a free ebook novella, Out of the Storm, here.

I am taking part in a blog review of this book and you can read other reviews here.

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels. She has won the Carol Award for Historical Fiction and the Award of Excellence. She has a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's from University of Wisconsin. She and her husband and their five children live in Midland, Michigan. You can find out more at http://jodyhedlund.com/.

Bethany Fellowship, 384 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Post a Comment