Sunday, February 17, 2013

When the Heart Heals
Sisters at Heart - #2
By Ann Shorey
352 pages
Pub Date: February 2013
Readers are invited to travel back to 1867, to the town of Noble Springs, Missouri, for an engrossing story of love's  tentative first steps and fragile future in the face of opposition. With tenderness and grace, Ann Shorey tells the story of Rosemary, a sympathetic but strong woman determined to thrive in a world that doesn't always understand. 
Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and downright vulgar. Although she would like to put her experiences as a nurse behind her, she must support herself. She takes a position with Dr. Elijah Stewart and a mutual attraction begins to develop. But when a sophisticated woman arrives in town claiming to be Elijah's fiancée, a heartbroken Rosemary decides to leave Noble Springs and start fresh. Can Elijah convince her of the mystery woman's deception before he loses her forever?
Ann Shorey is the author of Where Wildflowers Bloom, The Edge of Light, The Promise of Morning, and The Dawn of a Dream. She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul. Ann and her husband make their home in southwestern Oregon.
My review:
A son and daughter born of a Southern mother return from serving with the Union Army during the Civil War, are shunned by their parents and must make their own way. They move a few hours from St. Louis, Missouri to Noble Springs. The second book of the Sisters at Heart series picks up after Rosemary Saxon’s brother Curt has married and moved to his wife’s home, leaving Rosemary alone in the small house. Rosemary may be on her way to spinsterhood, but she values her independence above all else. In an era where women are expected to work at home, or in gentle pursuits, perhaps with a family business, Rosemary can offer the only work she truly knows, that of nursing wounded soldiers, and preparing herbal remedies from her mother’s recipe files.
With Curt gone and a new doctor in town, Rosemary puts on her courage and visits Elijah Stewart, a doctor she’d worked with only a few weeks in St. Louis before he’d been shipped out to the front. He doesn’t remember her at first, but is convinced having a nurse involved in his practice is wholly unnecessary. Until he thinks about it, and decides perhaps someone like Rosemary in the office, greeting patients, keeping records and tidying up the place would work in their favor, never mind the fact that they’re attracted to one another. When he learns Rosemary takes in stray people, and has been mixing up and dishing out herbal remedies, he is naturally on his guard and disapproving, again, until he thinks about it.
Several issues hamper this couple’s courtship, including potential love interests on both sides who wreak havoc with everyone’s emotions, along with a mysterious stalker and vandal who accuses Rosemary of awful things, and Elijah’s father who would rather have his son in Chicago.
Shorey’s characters are unconventional, certainly; Rosemary teeters on the likeable scale, even after we get to know her. The author reminds readers people are people, and not always sweet and even-tempered and romantic. Noble Springs feels like a cozy community, but peopled with fallible souls who are quick to listen to gossip. Love triangles that don’t  go anywhere, and a main character who is as quick to judge as the townspeople who hurt her don’t truly deflect from the story, which is, after all, about love and redemption. Rosemary learns forgiveness is a two-way street, and independence is good, but a soul mate to depend upon is better. Told from both Rosemary and Elijah’s viewpoints, the story is built across a number of entwining subplots of romance, mystery, and danger, the author leaves plenty of room to explore what’s sure to be another sequel.
“Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lisa, I enjoyed your review of When the Heart Heals. Thank you so much!