5 Stars Out Of 5
Beautiful Historical Christian Fiction
January 17, 2016
Hearts Made Whole is a historical novel set in post-Civil War Michigan at the Windmill Point Lighthouse. I very much enjoyed everything about this novel, from the setting to the characters and the story itself. It grabbed my heart from the beginning and didnt let go.
A storm was setting in on Lake St. Clair, and Carolines father had to take the doctor back to town, crossing the lake in a little rowboat. Quite a distance from shore, before the eyes of Caroline, her sister Tessa and twin brothers, the rowboat overturned. As hard as he fought to grab the boat, he was no match for the storm. They mourned and grieved, and Caroline took over the lighthouse duties.
The lighthouse inspector brought not only the bad news that Caroline could not keep on as acting the acting lightkeeper, but that the little family, including her bedridden, ill sister, had a week to pack up and leave the cottage as a man returning from the war would take over the position. Caroline had nowhere to go unless she married the son of the local tavern owner and smuggler.
When Ryan, the new lightkeeper arrived, they had not yet moved. He was in no condition to manage the position; Caroline offered to show him the job and he slept in an outbuilding for propriety. Tessas deceitful scheme was about to cost Caroline the man she was coming to respect and deeply care for. The explosive situation could also cost her and her younger siblings everything. Where was God in all of this?
This riveting historical drama is even better than I had imagined. Caroline, Tessa, then Ryan were very well developed with the progress of the story. The tavern keeper, his son, and other townspeople were as developed as necessary for their roles as evidenced in their speech and behaviors. Caroline and her siblings, then Ryan, experienced their rich heritage of faith, but were very honest about their feelings and struggles with the Lord in light of their situations. When the novel was through, I wasnt it was hard to leave especially Caroline behind!
The story itself demonstrated the historical time period, not in the dry words of dusty history tomes but showing with glowing word pictures the beauty and wild-ness of the location, the culture, and surrounding details. There was not a dull sentence, and every word was chosen well. The second in Jody Hedlunds Beacon of Hope series, it is easily read as a standalone. The title, Hearts Made Whole, sums up what is needed for the aching hearts and broken spirits of the protagonists, and reflects how their faith might be used. It was easy to be swept away to the lighthouse, see the value of women at that time and the expectations on those as the country struggled to recover from the war. It is not, however, predictable; various plot twists change the landscape of the story with stunning intensity. I highly recommend this admirable, exciting novel to women who appreciate Christian historical fiction of the time period, strong women protagonists, romance, and even mystery. It is one of the best Christian historical dramas I read in 2015, and one that I could absolutely enjoy again.
With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the For Readers Only group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.