Hearts Made Whole
By Jody Hedlund
Published by Bethany House
384 pages

Back Cover: 1865 Windmill Point, Michigan

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

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 secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels 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?

REVIEW: This novel takes place in and around windmill Point Lighthouse in Michigan 1865. Caroline Taylor has fallen on hard times she’s become the sole supporter of her family. She’s been named the acting keeper of the lighthouse. She had helped her father quite a bit, so she was no stranger to heard work around the light house. Mr. Finck barks at her, “You know women are not allowed to paint the tower, Miss Taylor. Lighthouse regulations strictly forbid it.”

“She opened her mouth to object, but then quickly clamped her lips closed. She’d painted the tower in years past, and she’d never had any trouble. But she knew her experiences wasn’t the issue. The real trouble was that she was a woman. And women were prevented from painting the tower because they were skirts.”

“Of course, she agreed that standing on a ladder in a skirt was inappropriate and immodest. But she couldn’t tell Mr. Finck that she always changed into a pair of her father’s trousers when she painted.  Mr. Finck would likely fall over with a heart attack if she even hinted that she donned men’s clothes.”

Caroline found herself in a tough spot. This was a man’s world. She knew she was qualified for the job - she’d been doing it for years. Maybe Mr. Finck was right maybe she should look at getting married and managing her household. But she came with three siblings. Who would provide for them all if not for her? She needed a job and a place for her and her family to live.

Caroline’s replacement shows up early. Ryan Chambers reports to the Lighthouse and accidently shakes things up on his arrival. No one expected him. He had the dates mixed up. He told everyone that he was flexible. He needed a job but didn’t need to sleep in the house. A short time ago he was in the war and slept on the ground.

Caroline and Ryan are sensitive to each other’s situation. Ryan is in no hurry to throw Caroline and her family out on the street. He goes to sleep in the boat house. He’d slept in the boat house it was moving up in his mind.

Caroline starts to think seriously about marriage. “Love and Passion.” She flushed as the words left her lips aren’t nearly as important as duty, loyalty to my family! She looked at Ryan’s face as she spoke.”

“That’s what I mean. “ His voice was exasperated. “You’re taking care of everyone else and not considering yourself.”

“It’s called sacrifice. Maybe that’s not something you care about but I do. “

“Of course I care about it!”…”Lets’ go…You aren’t marrying Arnie. You don't love him.” Ryan wondered if a woman could ever love him.

Mysterious and creepy things start happening at the lighthouse and the living quarters they can’t explain.

Ryan takes care of Caroline and feels he needs to be more watchful after they find an animal killed and placed on their yard as a sign. Of what they weren’t sure.

This story is full of tender moments, heart felt drama, suspense. I also liked learning about the light house and how it worked and what the keepers’ job was. Interesting. The authors note tells readers “it’s my hope that through this story, Like Caroline and Ryan, you will learn to turn to God with every need you have. He wants the cry of your heart to be, “Lord, I need you, how I need you. Every hour, I need you.”

I loved how this author naturally wove the above message and other inspirational themes into this story you won’t soon forget. I highly recommend this as an interesting heart-felt read. It would make a good book club pick too. It’s a rich story with much to discuss!

I received a review copy from the publisher for an honest review. I'm excited that TBCN will be giving away 10 copies of this book starting JUNE 20th at TBCN Mark your calendars!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
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