When The Heart Heals is the second book in the Sisters at Heart series which is set in Noble Springs, Missouri. This installment follows Rosemary, who was a nurse during the Civil War. Rosemary is considered an outcast because of her duties during the war, but to support herself she decides to seek employment as a nurse in the office of the new doctor in town, Dr. Elijah Stewart. Dr. Stewart hires her and they inevitably fall in love. However, they do get off to a very rocky start. To add to the tension, Rosemary, who lives alone, has someone harassing her anonymously and occasionally trying to kill her beloved dog, Bodie. No fun at all!
I must admit that I had trouble getting into this book. At first, the writing just seemed very basic and superficial- a bit elementary. However, the story was actually interesting and plenty of things happen to move the story along nicely. As the book went on, the author seemed to get into her groove and the writing flowed better and didn't seem as forced. It did take me almost half the book to become somewhat emotionally invested in the characters, though. I can't really pinpoint why. Rosemary reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre, a character I love. Their personalities were similar. Independent, strong, determined, and neither would take crap from a man- even one they love.
Image from the 2006 movie version of Jane Eyre.
I did end-up enjoying this book and I got involved with the mystery of who is harassing Rosemary. The author did a good job of keeping the reader guessing, however there really wasn't many clues to go by. I suspected everyone from the sheriff to her own sister-in-law! The lack of clues did help the reader feel Rosemary's frustration and fear at not knowing who was trying to scare her. The book almost felt part Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense novel.
I also enjoyed the theme of forgiveness in this book. Throughout the book, Rosemary is reminded of Matthew 6:15, "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". There's a lot of forgiving going on. Rosemary has many people to forgive including her parents, the sheriff, and her fiance. The minor characters in this book also have forgiving to do, including the preacher's wife who needs to forgive her son.
I am giving When The Heart Heals 3 out of 5 stars. It was an easy-read which included romance, drama, mystery, and history. Prior to reading this, I did not realize it was part of a series. I had no difficulty reading this book and understanding what was happening as the last book's focus was on a different character. I do plan on reading the first in the series and any that come after.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.