About the BookBook Title: The Heart’s Appeal
Author: Jennifer Delamere
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.
Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?
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My ThoughtsThe Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere is a highly entertaining story that I enjoyed very much. The previous book, The Captain's Daughter, was a strong beginning to this series and I loved this one even more because the storyline was so appealing. The series is set during the Victorian Era, an exciting and fast-changing time of new opportunities, especially for women. The writing is smooth and easy to read, moving at a steady pace that kept me eagerly turning the pages.
Delamere shares that this series was inspired by the life of George Muller, and that’s what initially drew me to these stories, as I’ve always found Muller’s faith incredibly inspiring. Julia and her sisters were raised in the orphanage he founded where, rather than soliciting funds publicly, he simply relied on God to provide all that was needed through fervent prayer, and I knew that had to have impacted their lives.
There was an intriguing contrast in this story, where one woman married for societal advancement and security, while the other took advantage of a career opportunity never before afforded to women. Julia and Michael are strong, appealing lead characters, with great chemistry between them. The legal and medical aspects of the story are fascinating and eye opening as the role of women comes into play.
Spiritual themes are gently and effectively woven into the story, proving to be very relevant for us today. Michael’s faith had taken a back seat to profession and family, whereas Julia discovered that God’s plans, different from hers initially, were even greater and more satisfying than she could have ever imagined. I love that the theme of new beginnings has both physical and spiritual meaning.
Jennifer Delamere’s excellent writing, combined with her passion for this era, makes for a memorable read and I eagerly await her next book.
I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit Tours and Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
About the Author
Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
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Guest Post from Jennifer DelamerePower couples?
Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.
In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.
Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.
In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:
“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”
Who couldn’t love a man like that?
Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.
Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”
Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.
Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.
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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases: The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson - and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Click the image above or the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!