After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper---even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation---the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope . . . and possibly love?
My thoughts: Reading stories that deal with part of our American history not covered in history books but which writers of historical fiction have researched and plotted into delightful stories to entertain and, yes, to educate, is a favorite pastime. Jody Hedlund is just such an author. Her previous book in the Beacons of Hope series was a really good read which I reviewed. See review here.
In Hearts Made Whole, the story begins tragically with the drowning of the lighthouse keeper. His daughter and her siblings remain at the lighthouse and she "mans" it despite the 1865's mindset that keeping a lighthouse is a job for which only a man is suited. She desperately needs the job, but so does Ryan Chambers who is returning injured from the Civil War.
As the story progresses, mean and dangerous incidents begin to unfold that are directed at Caroline intending to discourage her and send her away. She digs in her heels determined to stay because that is the only avenue she sees by which she can earn a livelihood to provide for her family. However, she soon becomes desperate.
Ryan, on the other hand, also needs this job but he has problems not only with his injuries from the war, but from his addiction to opiates and alcohol.
Drawn toward each other because they see a need to help each other, they soon also sense and react to an emotionally charged feeling for each other.
A good read. Read an excerpt
Begins June 5 & ENDS June 21 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.
Open to USA addresses only.DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and Bethany House Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.
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