For young widow Evie Bennett, moving forward will mean deciding what to leave behind…and what to keep.
Widowed at the age of twenty-five when her firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, Evie Bennett has spent the last thirteen years raising their son, Cody, in the close-knit community of Banister Falls. As the women’s ministry director of her church, Evie encourages women to boldly pursue God’s plan for their future…while she is content with her memories of the past. But Evie’s well-ordered life begins to change when she meets Jack Vale.
As Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe and predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems in the community…but will Evie open her heart to love again?
Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.
The Hearts We Mend is the second of Kathryn Springer’s Bannister Falls novels, coming after The Dandelion Field. I became a huge fan of Kathryn’s after reading that first novel, so I have been dying to read this novel for quite some time now. However, I never expected I would love it as much as I did. I really, really enjoyed The Dandelion Field, and even put it on my all-time favorites list, but I liked this one ten times better than the first! I’m not entirely sure how that’s even possible, but apparently it is! Reading The Hearts We Mend, I laughed, I cried, and I was faced with the injustice of innocent children being punished for something they never had a part of in ways they could never deserve: the sins of their parents.
Evie Bennet wasn’t my favorite character in the previous book. I’m just going to admit it. I saw her as a bit stuffy, a bit of a boring stick in the mud, and not exactly as Christ-like as those who work with her at Hope Community would like to believe. However, all of that changed as soon as I started reading this book. I saw her for what she is, a gorgeous woman with an even more beautiful soul that is still struggling with what it means to move on after her husband’s death without forgetting him or dishonoring his memory. I loved watching Evie grow through her blossoming friendship with Jack, her adjusting to Cody’s marrying and moving out of her house, and in the new calling God was placing on her life.
Jack Vale, on the other hand, I did like from the very beginning. Though, I will confess I never saw his true identity coming, once it was made plain to me it made so much sense and I realized I liked him even then (that sentence will make more sense to you once you read the book). Anyway, Jack is truly a hero in this book, especially to all those he opens his home to, and to his niece Lily, his brother’s sister-in-law Nicki, and her three kids. He has a heart of gold that constantly has him helping people, and I cannot help but believe that it is that fact that originally drew Evie to him.
Now for what I mentioned earlier about parents and their children. Throughout the course of this book I watched Lily –and cried over her—because of all that she went through at the hands of her parents. I’m not going to go into detail so that I don’t ruin this story for you, but I couldn’t help crying for Lily’s pain and the injustice of it all. It is stories like these that make me wish people like Jack’s brother and his wife weren’t allowed to have children until they could get themselves straight enough to care for them, and made me thankful that some kids have people like Jack in their lives to pick up their parents’ slack.
At the end of the day, I cannot sing Kathryn’s praises loudly enough with regard to this book. It is so touching, so emotionally heavy, so inspiring, and I couldn’t help but love it immensely. I am so thankful that I have a copy of this novel, as I know I will be reading it time and time again. I have to give it all five bookshelves, because there honestly isn’t any other option, and you can bet on the fact that it has a permanent place on my all-time favorites list. Kathryn hit it out of the park with this one, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
I received a copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.
Photo credits go to my sister Allie, whose blog you can visit here.
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All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Kathryn Springer and Zondervan Publishing.