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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2010
Series: Irish Angel
In the first book of the Irish Angels series, we meet Laura Foster, a woman with the darkest of pasts, and Reverend Brand McCormick, a man with everything to lose by loving her. Having escaped a life she never chose, Laura Foster is finally living her dream. But even after four years of posing as a respectable widow in Glory, Texas, she is always afraid someone from her past might reveal her true identity. Believing no man could love her if he knew the truth, Laura tries to resist Brands courtship. His reputation would be shattered if Lauras former life is discovered. But its not only Lauras past that threatens to bring him downits also his own. As they open their hearts to love and faith, will Laura and Brand find the depth and power of forgiveness from their community?
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
i blog 4 books4 Stars Out Of 5Historical Fiction with Depth and EmotionJuly 9, 2012i blog 4 booksLaura Foster runs a respectable boarding house in Glory, Texas. She has kept her distance from almost everyone in town for fear that her devastating childhood and checkered past would be discovered. When Reverend Brand McCormick begins calling on herÃ¢â¬âand refuses to be turned downÃ¢â¬âshe begins to open up to him. When someone from her past arrives in town, she fears she will lose everything and ruin Brand as well.
The opening pages of Heart of Stone tell the story of Laura's childhood, and I was immediately captivated and couldn't wait to see what the rest of the story was going to be like. Jumping forward to the "present," I found myself liking Laura despite her prickly personality. Her character isn't as perfect as many "heroines" are. She has tons of flaws and many hurdles to overcome. As the story progressed, I loved seeing her friendships with Brand and others in town blossom and help her work through her problems and realize what true faith is.
At times I was more interested with the story of Laura and her sisters than the current story line, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Also, don't let the "romance" label throw you off if you're not a huge fan of the genre. I felt like the romance was more subtle and took a backseat to the other aspects of the story. Landis writes with depth and emotion and I look forward to more from her in the future! [4 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my fair and honest review.
beverly GriderOklahoma City, OKAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Wonderful readNovember 20, 2011beverly GriderOklahoma City, OKAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is book one of the "Irish Angels" series and was released in March 2010 by Zondervan.
Laura Foster had an unspeakable childhood in New Orleans shortly after the end of the Civil War, one she has struggled to overcome. She now runs a boarding house in Glory, Texas, where she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. When the Reverend Brand McCormick begins calling on Laura, she fears that her past life will come to light and she will be forced to move on again.
Reverend Brand McCormick is the pastor in Glory. He has two young children from his first marriage, but his wife is deceased. Brand falls in love with Laura, yet he can tell she is haunted by something in her past. Although Laura is friendly, Brand's attempts to court her are met with coolness. This just proves to make Brand more determined to win her heart.
Just when Laura seems to be warming to Brand, two strangers show up. These strangers prove to hold power that can ruin both Brand and Laura's reputations. Brandi is determined his faith will see them through the rough times, but Laura is afraid it will spell the end for all she has struggled to build.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading my first book of Ms. Landis' and look forward to reading more by her. The characters were well written, the storyline flowed easily and the message of faith and forgiveness is one that everyone needs to read.
There is an excerpt from the second book of the series at the end. This story is about Laura's sister Megan, and I look forward to reading it. You can learn more about the author, Jill Marie Landis, by visiting her website, http://www.jillmarielandis.com/.
donPRochester Hills, MiAge: Over 65Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Redemption and restorationMarch 11, 2011donPRochester Hills, MiAge: Over 65Gender: maleQuality: 5Meets Expectations: 4Well written with sound Christian values. I especially enjoyed reading it on my Nook.
serg1056Talladega, ALAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Love this book!March 7, 2011serg1056Talladega, ALAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Great story! I love Historical Romance and this story tells us that, regardless of past circumstances, God will forgive us and that we CAN move on to a better life. Just finished the second book, Heart of Lies, and cant wait for the next one to come out!
Michele TalleyMichiganAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5This book has a great plot!March 2, 2011Michele TalleyMichiganAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book was great! If you like to read to relax then
I would recommend this book to you!