Keep your promise or follow your heart, the choice determines the future.Nora Kavanagh, an Irish immigrant to America, fines kindness where least expected. A new life, filled with unlimited possibilities, has opened her eyes and set her heart soaring. When love blooms will it be too late?The characters from the first book continue to grow and develop and take on new personalities. The story unfolds with clear details easy to visualize. The struggle of the heart is portrayed with realism and accuracy. Young love, renewed love, and unspoken love struggle to be expressed. Heart of the Lonely Exile opens your eyes to early immigrant troubles and fills your heart with compassion.
Heart of the Lonely Exile by B.J. Hoff is the second book in the Emerald Ballad series. Nora Kavanagh and her son Daniel have finally made it to safety in New York, along with orphans Katie, Johanna, and Tom who are under her care, and Englishman Evan Whittaker who became a close friend on the ship across the Atlantic. Sara Farmington and her wealthy father have taken the family into their home and soon find themselves wrapped up in the family's drama. Nora's childhood friend Michael Burke, a police sergeant, proposed marriage to her in a letter before they left Ireland in hopes that he could offer her a safe home, but Nora still doesn't love him as anything more than a friend. Sara and Michael have feelings for each other neither is willing to face as long as Nora is single, but Evan is hoping to do something about that. Hoff adds even more characters in this epic story about the aftermath of the Irish potato famine. There is sweeping romance, major drama as Tierney and Daniel grow to become young men and get caught up in the underworld of the city. Hoff's writing is thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing.
Book 2 in the Emerald Ballad series covers the first year that Nora and her family live in America. Who will she marry, Michael or Evan? Will Morgan survive an assassination attempt? Who is the urchin who follows him from Belfast to Dublin and what effect will the giant man-servant from the West Indies have on him. A great romantic story proving that faith can help provide a healthy sustainable environment no matter what is going on around you. Rather than focusing on the famine in Ireland as the first book did, this one focuses on the horrible conditions many of the Irish immigrants encountered in New York City due to the greed of landlords and the total revulsion of the rest of the population towards them. It also follows the fanatical turn that the Young Irish Party takes in Ireland This second book is a much happier book than the first one but just as interesting and gripping.
I was more impressed with book 2 than I was with Song of the Silent Harp. This picked up where the first book left off, wasn't as slow. I was able to follow along easier and become more engrossed in the story so I could enjoy the setting and characters more.This part of the series still takes place during the Famine era, but is more centered around America than Ireland, unlike book 1. We still get to follow Nora as she is searching for where her heart belongs...with Michael who has always loved her, with Morgan who is Ireland and professed his love for her before she set out for America, or Evan-sweet Evan- who has been there for her and has become her dearest friend. Michael is struggling with convincing Nora to marry him, and Morgan...well he's simply Morgan over in Ireland. Evan is such a sweet character and I found myself pulled to him the most in this story. He had difficulties and I prayed for him so much through this story. While all these emotions and struggles are going on in this continuance, the powerful message of following your heart, and seeking God's guidance in all you do, and forgiveness and letting go, is beautifully set among the lines of this book. I felt closer to the characters in this story and felt more a part of history as I read through this second book in this series.This is worthy of 5 stars. BJ Hoff's talent really shined through in this book! I'm so happy that I gave this one a chance after all, it's one I definitely recommend! I will be giving book 3- Land of a Thousand Dreams- a chance in the future, also, and hope this series keeps getting better and better!*This book was provided for review by Harvest House Publishers*