Do you ever find yourself in between reads, looking for a book you could dive into and get lost in? I recently found myself in that exact conundrum, when along came Susan Anne Mason’s A Worthy Heart.
It’s book 2 in a series; I don’t recall if I knew that when I selected it for reading and reviewing – I was just so excited to find a new Christian-fiction/historical-romance read – and the cover is beautiful, is it not? (I may have, yes, initially judged a book by its cover. *innocent grin*)
About A Worthy Heart (via Amazon)
Maggie Montgomery’s long-held wish to see America is finally coming true. She’ll visit her beloved brother Rylan and his wife, Colleen, and at the same time, escape Neill Fitzgerald’s unwanted attention. In addition, Maggie has a secret! She plans to remain in America to seek her fortune and to hopefully find love. While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man whom she thinks is a stable hand. Only when Rylan demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she realize he’s Colleen’s brother, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her heart conform to her brother’s request.
Adam O’Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Spending time in jail only reinforces his belief. Now that he’s free, Adam hopes to make amends and earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with Maggie Montgomery, however, was never in his plans.
Despite everyone’s effort to keep them apart, the two develop a bond nothing can break–but has Adam truly changed, or will the sins of his past prove too much for Maggie to overcome?
Preorder on Amazon: A Worthy Heart (Courage to Dream)
Release dates: 12/29/15 for Kindle, and 1/5/16 for paperback
About the Author (via Amazon):
Susan Anne Mason’s historical novel Irish Meadows won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. A member of ACFW, as well, she lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.susanannemason.com.
Disclaimer: I received a free advance ebook in exchange for a review. All opinions are, as always, my own.
I rate A Worthy Heart four out of five stars. I enjoyed the book; I really did. But I struggled coming into it as Book 2 without having read Book 1, Irish Meadows; I will, of course, go read that next, and I’m sure it will fill in some of the inevitable blanks/gaps I experienced. So the one-star knock-off is not because I overlooked its Book-2 status; rest assured.
My biggest struggle with A Worthy Heart was how every single main character seemed to have a broken engagement in their past. I felt that the circumstance became trivial, its significance lessened, as it was so often repeated.
The plot pacing for A Worthy Heart was a little slow for me at first, but I soon got pulled in, and by a third of the way in, I couldn’t put the book down. Characterization was well-done and thought-provoking; being single and in my early 30s (I definitely just caught myself adding three extra years to my age on accident when I first wrote that!), it made me think about what I might unnecessarily let stand in the way of a relationship. (Not that anything’s in the works; it’s not, and that’s fine! However – it’s something to keep in mind if/when something does come down the pike.) Keeping close to God is of the utmost importance, and I trust that He will lead with perfect timing, just like Maggie/Adam and Aurora/Gabe in A Worthy Heart.
Aside from my two issues (broken engagements and slow pacing at the beginning), the book is great fun. I read it on the bus ride home for several days, and couldn’t wait to find out what happened. My heart ached with the trials each character experienced (have no fear, no spoilers here!), and rejoiced with their triumphs.
I definitely want to read more of Mason’s work. Upon a cursory review of Amazon search results, Book 3 – entitled Hannah’s Choice – is releasing in May. Hooray! I’d been hopeful for another book in the series; more stories could certainly be told about current characters, and I’m looking forward to meeting new ones.