Friday, February 23, 2018

Hearts Entwined ~ a Bethany House book review

Christian Historical Fiction, Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, Bethany House, book reviews

Have you ever gotten to the end of a great book and wished there was just one more chapter? Or arrived at the end of a trilogy by one of your favorite authors and wished there was just one more story to read? Me too! That is why I jumped at the chance to review Hearts Entwined, a Novella collection from Bethany House. It features stories from three authors I have read quite a few book from, Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, and Regina Jennings, along with a novella from Melissa Jaguars who is still fairly new to the Christian Historical Romance genre. 

If you are a fan of any of these four engaging authors you will want to pick up your own copy to read. Karen Witemeyer’s The Love Knot is from her Ladies of Harper’s Station storyline. Claire Nevin has received a rather cryptic letter from her younger sister Polly back East asking her to meet the train in the neighboring town of Seymour, Texas. She is shipping something valuable to Claire and wishes her to protect it for Polly, as their Da had kicked Polly out of the family’s tenement apartment. Little does Claire know that what is arriving is her infant nephew, Polly’s baby, and that Polly has sent it with Claire’s old Beau, the baby’s Uncle, Pieter. This story focuses on forgiveness and regaining trust. 

Claire and Pieter both want what is best for baby Liam, but in order to do so they must work through their own troubled past and the feelings of hurt their rash actions have caused each other. Finding someone to help Claire care for Liam is rarely a problem, since Harper’s Station is filled with women, but finding help for Claire’s heart is harder to come by. Don’t we all struggle at times to forgive? It’s just a novella, not a novel, so I'll stop now before I give away too many spoilers!

Mary Connealy’s The Tangled Ties That Bind is the story I’ve been waiting a year to read… as it is from her Kincaid Brides series. When I finished the third book a year or so ago I really wanted it to go on… and not be just a trilogy. I had come to enjoy spending time with the characters and their quirks. This novella transports us a while into the future of the Kincaid family as it focuses on two of the children from the earlier stories - when they have grown up and are looking for they own paths in life. I enjoyed visiting with Audra and Ethan Kincaid again, but more then that, I enjoyed the realistic characters of Connor and Maggie. Having an almost 20 year old myself, I appreciated the struggles Maggie is going through to find her identity, her future plans, and deal with the expectations others might unknowingly have thrust upon her. If you have read and enjoyed any if Mary’s previous books, you’ll want to savor this novella as well. Maybe even read it first when you get your copy of Hearts Entwined!

Regina Jennings’ contribution to this delightful collection is Bound and Determined. Eighteen year old Ambrosia Herald, affectionately called Amber by her father, has determined that her mother’s rose garden is more important than her father's plan rescuing the camels he used in the war. She has decided to go along on his trip to thwart his plans. Private Bradley Willis has been assigned to help Captain Herald retrieve his camels as a punishment for disobedience. This story probably made me laugh the most of all four included in the book. Amber is trying to use her charm to get her way, Private Willis is trying to not get killed by a local gang - or fail the mission and end up with a worse punishment, and Captain Herald is reliving the memories of his time in the war and his companions he had along the way. 

Melissa Jagears is a new-to-me author. Her story Tied and True is set in Kansas City, Missouri in 1908. It tells the tale of Marianne Lister, a young woman who has been brought up with the wealth of her parents, but is currently floundering as she tries to find her own place in society. Her parents expect her to marry within her station in life, but her heart tells her another story. David is the man her parents expect her to marry, but try as she might, Marianne cannot see herself spending the rest of her life as David’s wife, only as his friend. The man that Marianne’s heart has fallen for is Calvin, David’s assistant. 

The themes presented in Tied and True are ones that people have struggled with for centuries across continents. Do you choose to marry because of what is expected of you, or do you defy the standards of society’s expectations and marry for love? Have you ever wondered what you would do in that situation? If yes, then you will enjoy Marianne’s journey to find out who she really is inside, who God has called her to be, and the answer about marriage He has for her.

Whether these four are already favorite authors of yours, or if you’re looking for something new to read, I highly recommend Hearts Entwined to readers of Historical Fiction, especially those who like a little humor in their romances!

Get your copy of Hearts Entwined from Bethany House or your local bookstore. 

Connect with the authors on their websites:

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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