Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House, June 2015)
After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s been given the post as lighthouse keeper, and the isolation where he can drown in drink and hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s none-too-pleased to be giving up her position. They both quickly realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but Ryan’s unwilling to let anyone close, ravaged by memories and guilt. Caroline’s drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?
Hearts made whole—an appropriate title for a novel that, by the end of reading it, made me feel as if I had a renewed relationship with Christ. From its gorgeous cover to its deep storylines of faith, love, hope, and family, every aspect about Hearts Made Whole drives readers towards a fulfilling spiritual and emotional connection with God. Jody Hedlund, known for her rich historical dramas within the CBA, has crafted a novel that I predict will go on to win many awards in 2016. Readers who enjoy deep emotional novels set in times gone by will want to read Hearts Made Whole as soon as possible.
I have long wanted to read Jody Hedlund’s novels because since I have been involved with the CBA industry I have heard all positive things about her writing. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reviewing her first young adult novel—while I enjoyed An Uncertain Choice, I held such high expectations for her books that I felt a bit let down by this book. That response was purely a personal opinion of reading level and interest and of having too high expectations for a person whose is just that—a person, not perfect. Nevertheless, my interest in Hedlund’s adult novels remained high, and oh am I so glad I read Hearts Made Whole. This book is, in my opinion, just about perfect. In fact, it just might be my favorite book of the year (along with Pepper Basham’s The Thorn Bearer).
I loved each and every scene, character, and setting in Hearts Made Whole. From learning about lighthouses along the Michigan waters, which I found fascinating; to experiencing the political strife over women’s rights in post-Civil-War Michigan; to family drama between siblings; to the romance between the main characters, every page drew me deeply into Hedlund’s story. In fact, this rich storytelling, which is what I yearned for in her young adult book, is just what makes Hearts Made Whole and Basham’s The Thorn Bearer my favorite novels of 2015. Hedlund writes stories that make adult readers truly consider the world around them; she doesn’t shy away from challenging situations, and she uses her stories to draw her readers closer to God through characters and scenes that teach readers that people from times gone by experienced incredibly difficult situations and still made it through with their faith intact.
It should be a testament to how much I loved Hearts Made Whole that before I even finished the novel I ordered the rest of Hedlund’s novels. I’ve even pre-ordered her upcoming novel, Luther and Katharina, coming out in October of 2015. I cannot wait to read each of Hedlund’s novels—they’re beckoning me from upon my bookshelf, where I can see them in all their beautiful glory—but I plan to read the first book in her Beacons of Hope series, Love Unexpected, first, followed by her Carol Award winning novel, A Noble Groom. Another testament to my love of Hearts Made Whole is my new interest in lighthouses and Michigan history. My only wish now is that the third novel in Hedlund’s Beacons of Hope series, Undaunted Hope, could be published sooner than early 2016.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of nine novels, including Captured By Love, Rebellious Heart, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award and INSPYs Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.
Find Jody online at the following sites: