Title: Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope #2)
Author: Jody Hedlund
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
The first novel in the Beacons of Hope series is titled, Love Unexpected, which can be read like this novel as a standalone. There are one or two references to who the main male lead character is related to from the first book. However, this tale centers on Ryan as he has returned from the Civil War and been assigned the responsibilities as keeper of a lighthouse. Caroline Taylor has been the caretaker in order to provide for her siblings after the death of her father now, with Ryan’s return, the whole Taylor family looks at being uprooted.
Ryan returns from the war a broken man in both body and spirit and addicted to pain medication due to shrapnel still in his arm. As he observes Caroline’s care and compassion for her siblings while shouldering heavy responsibilities with the lighthouse, he finds himself drawn to her romantically.
As pages are turned readers will become engrossed in a mystery as to who is doing some evil acts meant to scare Caroline into leaving the lighthouse. The acts are done with such mischief that neither the family nor Ryan can pinpoint the culprit until it is almost too late. Ryan carries guilt from an act or failure to act in the war when his regiment pilfered a southern family. Caroline seems to be the only one who can help Ryan deal with his addictions and nightmares. Caroline becomes the source Ryan looks to when he needs help. Yet, within his heart, he is hearing the small voice leading him in a different direction than a relationship with Caroline for a very deep soul reason.
Like the first novel, the scenes describing the lighthouse and all the work that went into being a keeper is fascinating. The author’s notes at the end help the audience to be able to separate fact from fiction in the novel. There is tension between the Taylor siblings, between Caroline and some of the town’s citizens, and there is an internal conflict within a couple of the characters so that when noticing all these threads it is hard to figure out the real antagonist!
I stayed up one night to read as putting the story down in the middle of such heart tugging action was impossible. When I completed the book, I just was thankful again for Jody Hedlund’s ability to write a brilliant tale about a period in history where women had restrictions on them that kept some from exploring the uses of their God given talents. Lighthouses are a symbol to me of how God is my strong tower, light, refuge and hiding place. I hope you are compelled to read the book and share with others Jody Hedlund’s latest masterpiece, Hearts Made Whole! I cannot say enough about how enticing the story is to read and then to be shared with others who love reading as well!
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