The Hearts We Mend
By Kathryn Springer
Bannister Falls Series, #2
Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.
Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.
Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.
Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.
The Hearts We Mend is everything that Christian fiction should be...captivating storyline, seamless writing, richly-drawn characters with messy lives, and spiritual nuggets that the reader can take to heart. If you have a less-than-perfect family, or if you feel like you're frozen in place after a traumatic event, this book will touch you in a special way. Kathryn Springer is an exceptional writer and both books in this series are on my list of favorites. This book can stand alone, but reading The Dandelion Fieldfirst will make for a much more rewarding reading experience. (Please click on the title to see my review.)
Opening the first page and being reunited with characters who had touched me in The Dandelion Field felt like coming home. Evie was definitely a sympathetic character in that book – having been widowed when her husband died fighting a fire and raised Cody as a single mom for 12 years – yet my feelings toward her were mixed because she seemed to throw a monkey wrench in the romance between Dan and Gin. But I’m so glad Evie got her story in The Hearts We Mend because we get to see her heart – and her gradual transformation is like watching a flower slowly open up to the sun, the end result being one of true beauty.
And then there’s Jack, a wonderfully appealing lead character with hidden depths way beyond what is seen on the outside. Faith and family are of utmost importance to him, and he had walked away from a construction job that he loved, because he loved his family more and wanted to be there for his brother in the small town of Banister Falls, Wisconsin. He has a heart for serving others, as does Evie – but in oh, such different ways! This unlikely pairing makes for great storytelling – Jack with his free-spirited approach, and prim & proper Evie with her structure and communication by post-it notes. It’s so much fun to see Evie surprising herself by doing things that seem contrary to her nature.
When a beautiful story leaves you with much to reflect upon – well, that’s one of the best things about The Hearts We Mend. The way Jack served his family and quirky fellow tenants at his ramshackle apartment building makes me think that I am way too content in my comfort zone. I always need the reminders that God brings people into our lives for a reason, and that He will always give exactly what we need at the moment we need it. But most touching to me is the fact that we are all different, and reflect our faith in different ways. I love these words of Kathryn from her Litfuse interview . . .
“Some of us are seeking. Some of us are struggling. Some of us are standing strong. No matter where we are, we need the hope that only comes from knowing there is a God, that he is good and that he loves us. I may write fiction but I pray the stories I tell always reflect that truth.”
I especially loved the secondary character of Maggie, who is so passionate about putting in a community garden across the street from Jack’s apartment building. It’s also interesting how Police sergeant Ryan Tate gets a little put out at with her “do-gooder” aggressiveness and I can just see a story brewing there. I also felt for Jack’s brother, Travis, and hope we see more of him.
Kathryn Springer is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother's typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books – which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own.
Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold. She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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