Heart of Stone, Irish Angel Series #1   -     By: Jill Marie Landis
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Heart of Stone, Irish Angel Series #1

Zondervan / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Description

Even after four years of posing as a respectable widow in Glory, Texas, Laura Foster is still afraid somebody will reveal her true identity. So she resists Reverend Brand McCormick's courtship, knowing his reputation would be shattered if her former life is discovered. But will Brand's own past bring him down instead? 352 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310293693
ISBN-13: 9780310293699
Availability: In Stock
Series: Irish Angel

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Publisher's Description

She had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand's reputation would be ruined. But it's not only Laura's past that threatens to bring Brand down---it's also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand's future? Or is it worth risking his name---and her heart---by telling him the truth?

Author Bio

Jill Marie Landis' twenty-five novels have earned distinguished awards and recognition on national bestseller lists like USA TODAY Top 50 Best Sellers and the New York Times Best Sellers Plus. She is a seven-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award in Single Title and Contemporary Romance as well as a Golden Heart and RITA Award winner. Jill Marie resides in Hawaii with her husband. When she's not writing or sitting on the beach reading, she enjoys visiting with family and friends, raising orchids, working in her garden, plunking on the ukulele, dancing the hula and quilting.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis is a Hosea-Gomer redemption story with a slight twist: this Gomer thinks she’s 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 Brand’s own surprising past comes to stand face-to-face with him, threatening his position as a minister. Then an old acquaintance of Laura’s 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 author’s strength is not plotting, but Landis does manage to keep readers interested in the story’s events. Landis does a better job with characterization and relationships, painting a fairly believable relationship between Laura and Brand. Brand’s relationships with his children from his first wife, as well as Laura’s 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 it’s a little mundane, Heart of Stone consistently shows godly values.

Laura’s character has depth -- she’s 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. Brand’s personality is just barely more interesting than a one-dimensional character. He’s cheerful, forgiving, and strong, and he serves as a foil for Laura. He leads her to God and shows her what love really means. Brand’s 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 reader’s face beforehand. Also, the climax is over-the-top emotionally—it’s 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 didn’t 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

Publisher's Weekly

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 won’t be put off. Both characters have much to reveal that will test their love, faith, and loyalty to one another. Landis’s 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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