Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason

This novel is a delightful sequel to Irish Meadows (see my review of that book here). Irish Meadows set the stage for the O'Leary family and gave us the story of Brianna and Colleen. If you haven't read Irish Meadows you may want to do so to get the full enjoyment from this novel.

As this novel opens, Colleen is married to Rylan Montgomery. He had come to America from Ireland to study for the priesthood but was captivated by Colleen. Rylan's siblings, Maggie and Gabe, arrive from Ireland to visit America.

Maggie has come to America with more in mind than a mere visit. She is escaping the unwanted attentions of a man to whom she was engaged. She meets Colleen's brother, Adam, recently released from prison. She is kind to him even when his own family holds him at a distance, embarrassed to have a convict in the family.

Gabe is a fire fighter in Ireland and is interested in the techniques of the American counterparts. In the course of visiting and helping out at the nearby fire station, he meets Aurora, the woman to whom Gil had been engaged for a while.

I liked Maggie, a focus of this novel. She is a strong female character who knows what she wants. Her befriending Adam is frowned upon but Maggie sees something in him that others miss. Adam was a bit of a scoundrel in the first book and it was fun to see his character develop in this one. I ended up really liking him as well.

The setting of the novel added interest to the plot. It is 1914 in New York and Long Island. Rylan manages an orphanage and there is drama when a baby is left under a bush by the door. We find out some about the society that would foster a woman with a child she could not keep. There is also a break out of typhoid fever and it was interesting to read about how it was treated.

The novel contains some serious issues. Adam was mentored by a pastor while in prison but his family wants nothing to do with him, especially his father. Adam wasn't even to be seen in the presence of a woman as it would taint her reputation. There is the serious issue of forgiveness and restoration that needs to take place. Another issue is one we also saw in the first book in this series, that of women finding a career instead of quickly entering into marriage.

I recommend this novel to those who enjoy historical Christian romances. There is intrigue and drama and danger included. Adam finds strength in his Christian faith, a clear aspect of the story. The romance is not overly done and is a good element of the storyline.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Susan Anne Mason lives outside of Toronto, Ontario. This is her first historical novel. It won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Authors chapter of RWA. Mason is married with two children. You can find out more atwww.SusanAnneMason.com.

Bethany House Publishers, 400 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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