A Worthy Heart
By Susan Anne Mason
Published by: Bethany House
392 Pages

Back Cover: Can an Irish Lass with a Dream for America Find True Love?
Maggie Montgomery's long-held wish to see America is finally coming true. She'll visit her beloved brother Rylan and his wife, Colleen, and at the same time, escape Neill Fitzgerald's unwanted attention. In addition, Maggie has a secret! She plans to remain in America to seek her fortune and to hopefully find love. While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man whom she thinks is a stable hand. Only when Rylan demands she stay away from Adam O'Leary does she realize he's Colleen's brother, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can't seem to make her heart conform to her brother's request.

Adam O'Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Spending time in jail only reinforces his belief. Now that he's free, Adam hopes to make amends and earn back his family's trust. Falling in love with Maggie Montgomery, however, was never in his plans.

Despite everyone's effort to keep them apart, the two develop a bond nothing can break--but has Adam truly changed, or will the sins of his past prove too much for Maggie to overcome?

REVIEW: This is the sequel to Irish Meadows the author’s debut novel. This writer takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride. Adam O’Leary is featured in this book. He’s the black sheep of the family. I liked what the author said in her note to readers  about Adam, “A Worthy Heart was a challenging story to write…I have to confess…In the beginning, I did not like Adam O’Leary, not one little bit…I basically banished him from Irish Meadows altogether, hinting that he was on the outs with his father and was potentially involved in some “less than legal” undertakings…The more I delved into Adam’s back story and his true nature, the more I came to love Adam. I had hoped readers would too…It took a strong woman like Maggie Montgomery to see past Adam’s mistakes and love him anyway, Mirroring the way God loves his children unconditionally.”

She was right I did like Adam and felt for his situation. This author pens a powerful story that shows a family trying to do the right thing by showing unconditional love to everyone. Even their enemies.

It was great fun to have all the cast members from the first book in the mix as the focus of this novel was Adam O’Leary, Maggie Montgomery and her brother Gabe who’ve come to visit their older brother Rylan in America. (He’s married to Colleen O’Leary, Adam’s sister.)

The world changed dramatically in three years and so had he. Adam met Christ in jail through a man named John. Adam quickly discerns it’s one thing to learn scripture, and understand the truth, it was quite another to put faith into practice. Adam, prays, “I know I’m supposed to love my father, but does it have to be so hard? Help e to find it in my heart to forgive him and me. Help me to be humble and accept the consequences of my actions and if you’re handing out miracles, allow me to make amends to my family…if that’s even possible.”

Adam felt like the prodigal son going home begging his father for a job as a stable boy. He’d do this just for a while until he could find his own way. He’s not ready for how others and his father will treat him. He’s astounded at how deep his relationship with his father has soured.

His father yells at Adam, “Don’t you realize that simply being seen with you could ruin Maggie Montgomery’s reputation? Or do social niceties not matter to you anymore?”

“I’m sorry father, I didn’t think….” Adam manages to say.

“That’s half your problem, boy. You never think before you act. You certainly never considered the consequences of your actions on others. Ruin your life if you must, but leaven the rest of us out of it.”

I felt for this family and the secrets they kept. Circumstances arise that allow confidences from the past to be revealed during the hardships their family endures. It opens their eyes to viewing family members differently.

I enjoyed this story that helped me imagine America’s as a new beginning for so many. Themes of faith, hope, love, forgiveness, second chances, and the importance of family and woven naturally into this story. This novel will at your heart strings and make you glad to know the O’Leary and Montgomery families.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Susan lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website 

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Bethany House Publishers
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
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