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Heart of Stone: A Novel - eBook
Zondervan / 2010 / ePub
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Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of over twenty-five novels. She has won numerous awards for her sweeping emotional romances, such as Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek. With her toes in the sand and head in the clouds, Jill now lives in Hawaii with her husband, Steve.
Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis is a Hosea-Gomer redemption story with a slight twist: this Gomer thinks shes fine all alone, and this Hosea has his own haunting past. Laura Foster was sold into prostitution as a child, as revealed in the first chapter, but she has bought her way out and now lives a respectable life as a widow in the small town of Glory, Texas. However, when Reverend Brand McCormick tries to court her, she must unwillingly close off her heart and push him away in order to protect them both from her socially unacceptable past.
Despite her best intentions, Laura begins to fall for Brand as he gently pursues her. But soon Brands own surprising past comes to stand face-to-face with him, threatening his position as a minister. Then an old acquaintance of Lauras comes to town and threatens to undo her pleasant charade. Laura must decide whether to flee or face her past sins. Ultimately, she seems to learn the truth of Psalm 130:7, which says that with the Lord is an unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
The plot arc is completely predictable for readers of the genre, or just about anyone. The authors strength is not plotting, but Landis does manage to keep readers interested in the storys events. Landis does a better job with characterization and relationships, painting a fairly believable relationship between Laura and Brand. Brands relationships with his children from his first wife, as well as Lauras relationship with his children, are probably the truest and most believable parts of the book. They illustrate various character flaws and strengths in each character involved, as well as strong parental love. If at times its a little mundane, Heart of Stone consistently shows godly values.
Lauras character has depth -- shes strong and proud on the outside but haunted within. Although she has made a home for herself, she feels constantly isolated from her friends by her secrets. She also believes she can never be forgiven for her sins. Brands personality is just barely more interesting than a one-dimensional character. Hes cheerful, forgiving, and strong, and he serves as a foil for Laura. He leads her to God and shows her what love really means. Brands children show personal dignity but also a need for a mother. The other townspeople are variations of good Samaritan and hypocritical Pharisee.
This book is fairly nice but a bit predictable. Nothing impressed me tremendously about it, and a major turning point of the book is based on a red herring the author waved liberally in the readers face beforehand. Also, the climax is over-the-top emotionallyits a pretty strong about-face from how the townspeople had previously behaved. I had to wonder what exactly happened to change these characters, or why they didnt speak up before if they truly meant what they are saying now. There were also several historical inaccuracies that would bother readers who value authenticity. The best thing in this book is the message of forgiveness and redemption. Although not a challenging book, Heart of Stone does provide readers with entertainment. Corinne Hills, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Landis, inspirational fiction author of more than 20 novels, offers readers who value gentle love stories this first title in the Irish Angels series. Laura Foster (aka Lovie Lane), wealthy widowed owner of a refined boardinghouse in Glory, Tex., is running from her tainted past and ruined childhood in a tale set in the 1870s. Laura does everything in her power to overcome the odds and create a life free of shame and abuse. Partly succeeding, she is thrown off-kilter when handsome Rev. Brand McCormick, a widower, takes a romantic interest in her. Laura knows with dead certainty that Brand would never come calling if he knew the truth of her past, so she rebuffs his attention at every turn. But the good reverend just wont be put off. Both characters have much to reveal that will test their love, faith, and loyalty to one another. Landiss writing is crisp and neatly presented; however, much of the story is too formulaic for discerning genre readers. (Mar.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information
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