Title: Starving Hearts
Author: Janine Mendenhall
My rating is 4 stars.
This story is set in England in the year 1795. Annette Chetwynd is an 18-year-old who is forward thinking and impetuous. Her spontaneity gets her in trouble when she wonders off by herself and is attacked by an unknown assailant. During the attack, she begins to lose consciousness, missing the face of a man who comes to her rescue. This attack leaves her with nightmares; however, she has more pleasant memories of the man who saved her from ruin. If only she could remember his face. She does remember the face of her attacker, and while he is escorted off the property, Annette hasn’t seen the last of him.
Eighteen months later, Annette is still fantasizing about her rescuer’s identity when she meets Peter Adsley. They are instantly attracted to one another, have an engaging conversation, but she worries the strength of her faith is too weak for a pastor’s wife. He is a newly christened pastor who is looking for a wife who is staid and calm. As time passes, these two meet occasionally and their attraction increases. However, there is much more going on besides a budding romance. Peter is a staunch advocate against slavery as is Annette. Peter will make a devastating discovery that will put a face on this issue most dramatically. There is also a villain waiting in the wings to claim Annette in marriage, but she wants nothing to do with Sir Steven Likebridge. Sir Steven has other irons in the fire as well to reclaim his lost inheritance and to gain revenge on the people responsible. Through trials and separation Annette and Peter grapple with God’s plans for their lives and where is He amidst tragedy.
Initially, the first three to four chapters were disjointed with interrupted thoughts and conversations that made the reading of the passages and dialogue difficult for me. However, I encourage readers to not give up or they will miss a truly good debut story from this author! I pressed forward and am so thankful I did because the plot thickens with deception, twists and turns, mystery and more to make for interesting reading. The gospel message is presented very well, which I wholeheartedly support. The depiction of slavery while brutal was nonetheless accurate I thought. There was no foul language in the story. There are three books planned for this series, and I am looking forward to reading book two.
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