A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach is part of the Quilts of Love series published by Abingdon Press. I found it to be an enjoyable and relaxing read, set in the beautiful Bozeman, Montana area, and dealing with some relevant life issues.
Workaholic, Mara Keegan, must heal her heart from loss and a heart attack before she can love again. But she has to trust her business to the one man that tried to destroy it.
A heart attack has stopped Mara Keegan in her tracks, leaving her daughter's unfinished photo memory quilt hanging by a thread. Little does Mara know, this quiltâ€”and the memories it bolstersâ€”are the key to her rehabilitation. But Mara's heart needs to be healed in more ways than one. And Joel Ryan is fraying her last nerve. With her daughter's graduation fast approaching, even Mara starts to wonder if sheâ€”and her faithâ€”can mend in time.
With its focus on the Keegan family, creation of a memory quilt, and the Bozeman, Montana setting, A Healing Heart has a warm, cozy feel to it. Angela did a great job of creating a sense of place, as the characters interact in the Bozeman community, snowmobile the Bridger Mountain Range, and dance at the Museum Ball in the Museum of the Rockies.
Mara is an appealing, well developed character. Her husband's death in a snowmobiling accident and a promise made to him left her in charge of "25 employees, business loans, and a dream built for two." Anyone who has ever been guilty of putting work ahead of family can relate to Mara as she strives to become everything to everyone. But as is often the case, that goal wasn't achieved very well at home.
Business coach Joel, brought in to assist Bridger Pack and Rescue, is a completely likeable character - intelligent, trustworthy, lives out his faith, and is good with Mara's children. I liked how Joel appreciated Mara's art for its beauty rather than as a marketing commodity.
It's interesting how the title, A Healing Heart, has a double meaning, as Mara heals both physically and emotionally. She has some important things to work through - care of her physical heart, learn to delegate, make peace with the past, and grow close to her children again. The construction of the memory quilt is woven beautifully throughout the narrative, and tells the story of Cadence's life through family pictures. A statement of Joel's sums the theme up nicely: "Our lives are woven together with what feels like scrap pieces. We can see clearly what's happened in the memories of our past. But the future is all about hope."
I enjoyed A Healing Heart and recommend it to all who enjoy inspirational fiction. A sequel is in the works, tentatively titled Climb Every Mountain. It's the story of Cadence Keegan, all grown up as a fitness coach with her own gym.
Learn more about Angela and her books at angelabreidenbach.com.
This book was provided by Abingdon Press through BookFun.org in exchange for my honest review.
A Healing Heart, one of the Quilts of Love series, is a very good read. So many things happen and have already happened to Mara, so it is no surprise that she has trouble keeping her family and her business together. She feels the need to keep total control of the business started with her deceased husband, but feels so much stress from it that her health suffers. Her children feel her lack of time and attention to them. How could she know that her biggest help would come from a former enemy?
"Joel picked up the pile of quilt blocks off the couch. He laid one out over his large hand. "Is this Davis?" The man stood next to a yellow and black snowmobile and wore a medal over his yellow and black winter gear. Louie sat at his feet with a yellow and black dog coat.
"Yes." Mara's stomach clenched at the site of the snowmobile. She hated, hated, hated that thing!
"By the look on your face, you didn't approve of his racing?"
She inhaled and closed her eyes. "It wasn't his racing. Although that should have been more enough." She left the next thought unsaid. How could I speak ill of the man I loved? She blew out her breath with careful control. Still she fought for balance on this topic. They'd argued when he bought the dumb thing. He seemed to thrive on pushing more and more adrenaline through his body. He should have been a stuntman. "It was his risk-taking."
"Oh, I see."
"No, you don't. He won a lot of races. But they weren't enough. When extreme sports started getting popular, David took it to the next level. He and his buddies took their snowmobiles into the backcountry of the Bridgers. Then, according to the rescue patrol, they ignored the posted warnings."
She knew her voice took on an icy edge, but she couldn't help it. "He died because he was hill climbing on that machine and ended up racing ahead of an avalanche. But his avalanche beacon malfuctioned. It took a long time to find him. When the guys dug David out, he was barely alive. The snowmobile landed on top of b him and created an air pocket. In fact, David lived almost two days after that. One lung had been crushed, several of his bones were broken, and the doctor said his spine was crushed."
"I can't imagine what you went through."
Tears choked her words, "He asked me to kiss him and let him go. He thought a man who couldn't walk, couldn't feed himself, and couldn't be a husband..." She reached for the glass of tea and sipped to relieve the clogged burning in her throat. "But I'd have rather had him here, walking or not." A tear rolled from her cheek and plopped into the glass. She set it back down, embarrassed. Who cried in her tea?
"Mara, I'm so sorry." Joel took her free hand in both of his. "Why would you put this photo on a quilt block when it causes you so much pain?"
"Cadence chose it. She wanted to remember him as strong and fearless. Not the broken man in the hospital."
"Ah, that makes alot of sense."
"Joel, the nurses worked hard to clean him up enough not to scare the kids. The hard snowpack ripped his helmet right off. He was a mess. Bruises and scraped skin everywhere. His face was so raw I asked the nurses to cover David's face before the kids saw him. They couldn't even cast his arms and legs for all the open wounds.The nurse helped me hold a sheet above him to hide the worst from the kids." She looked at the photo. "I loved him so much. I can't believe he risked everything for a thrill. But he did, Joel. And by doing that, he broke his promise to me. To our family. And God let him."
Joel moved closer to Mara and put his arms around her.
She cried there, safe against his shoulder. "God let him."
Meet The Characters:
Mara Keegan: Mara was determined, driven and desperate to keep her promise to her deceased husband David. She was a loving mother and designer of beautiful quilts. Her crow ancestors taught her the craft and it was a great love of hers. She was at peace when she was designing and crafting quilts.
Joel Ryan: Joel has a past of being hard and unfeeling in his business transactions. I love the new Joel that centers his life around God. Because of it, he has become a loving, kind and generous man that is full of faith and an overwhelming desire to help. He builds a great relationship with Mara's kids.
Cadence, Marisa and Toby Keegan: Mara's kids. Very well behaved and well mannered. Their only problem is missing spending time with their mother.
Mrs. Calder: The quirky next-door neighbor. She was actually pretty cute and adorable and a great help in their time of need.
Louie: The beloved family dog.
Mara Keegan is owner of Bridger Pack and Rescue, a company she started with her husband David before his passing. With the business expanding, her days are filled with attending to the business matters and everything else has pretty much fallen by the wayside, including time with her kids and the quilting she loves so much. Mara is under a great deal of stress and pressure to fulfill the promise she made to David and doesn't realize just what that stress is doing to her... Until that fateful day she has a heart attack. Mara slowly comes to realize she needs help. Her help comes in the form of Joel Ryan.
Joel Ryan has a history with Mara only she doesn't know it yet. When his boss sends him to coach Mara in how to grow her business, he fears she will turn him away for his past mistakes. Joel used to be a fortune hunter and tried to issue a hostile takeover of Mara's company. Although Mara wants nothing more than to send Joel packing, she feels she needs to give him a chance to prove he has changed. When Mara has a heart attack, Joel steps up and takes over the handling of the company until Mara is well. They soon realize they are developing feelings for each but can Mara let go of David's memory and move forward? Can Joel compete with her dead husband's legacy? Like the stitching woven through the quilt Mara is making for her daughter, Cadence, Joel soon becomes woven in each of their lives.
I can't tell you how this book warmed my heart. There were several "scenes" I wanted to share but decided not to because I didn't want to give away any important details. You'll have to read the book and discover them for yourself. There were a few times I cried and continued to cry for several minutes after reading certain scenes. This was a very touching story that dealt with love, friendship, family, healing and a deeper relationship with the"Big Guy". It also dealt with Heart disease, one of the number one killers in America. A Healing Heart was so well written the words just flowed from page to page. Hat's off to Angela Breidenbach for an amazing story.
Three years ago, Mara lost her husband in an avalanche accident in Colorado. Left alone to raise three children, a business to run that was running her in to the ground, a broken ankle and possible takeover of the company she promised her husband she'd keep successful and to top it all off, finding time, somehow, to work on a memory quilt she promised her oldest daughter. Where was God now and why did he find it all right to run amok with her life?
What a well-written story of getting lost from faith and finding the right path back to God's intentions. I loved this book. I loved the characters, the settings, the situations! I laughed out loud _ LITERALLY!
I'd recommend this book to anyone who has ever doubted God's plan and to anyone who never failed to believe.
Thank you Angela Breidenbach and bookfun.org for letting me read and review this book. I actually had FUN reading it!
"A Healing Heart" Angela Breidenbach is just as the title reflects. It is a wonderful interwoven story of a super driven woman that balances career and motherhood as she tries live with the heart wrenching loss of her husband and business partner. She not only is healing emotionally but also has to heal physically and above all, spiritually. Mara Keeper, like many women, questions why God would allow so much heartache in our lives yet like the picture quilt she has promised to make her oldest daughter, there is so much interwoven between the lines. Memories, loss, laughter, trust and relationships are the underlying themes. It shows how God uses all things for good even when we can only see the bad. It is a beautiful love story.
From the first page, the writer had me captured. I could not put the book down and actually read it in two days! It will make you cry and laugh. It draws your own life out in front of your eyes. It receives the highest rating from me. This is the first book I have read by this author and I will definitely read more of her books. I received this book from bookfun.org in return for my honest opinion.