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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