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    Jaded is the first book in Varina Denman’s Mended Hearts series, and is also the first book I have ever read by her. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I picked up this story, but I was hopeful that it would be one I would enjoy, and I wasn’t disappointed. I absolutely LOVED this novel! I had no idea I was going to fall in love with Ruthie’s story quite as quickly as I did, but I was sucked in from almost the first page and had such a hard time putting it down. I just wanted to know every painful, beautiful detail, and I know that I had to have sped through reading it just a little bit, but I’m so glad I’ve finished it, because I loved Ruthie’s story and I know I’ll be reading it again. Ruthie is such a—and I’m saying this on purpose here—jaded, hurting individual, even now that thirteen years have passed since the church excommunicated her and her mother. Even to this day, some of the church members avoid them like the plague, and Ruthie has no idea why. Her mother’s been closed of ever since Ruthie’s dad left, and Ruthie has learned to lean heavily on her aunt and uncle, and her cousin JohnScott. When the new preacher comes to town, Ruthie has no reason to like him; after all, she hasn’t exactly had the best experience with Christians, but she can’t help but be stirred by his presence. As long-buried secrets come to light, will Ruthie and the preacher be pushed closer together, or farther apart? I absolutely loved every single element of this story, but especially just how wonderful it was to watch Ruthie and JohnScott find healing. I loved that this book wasn’t just about Ruthie and the preacher, but it was also about Ruthie and God, and God and His church, and that added so much more meaning to this novel. I can’t even describe all of the emotions I felt as I made my way through this story, but I do know that Varina is very talented at writing books that really touch your heart and leave you longing for more. I’m already looking to buy the second book in the series so that I can read it, and I’ve added the third novel—which releases in June—to my list of books to preorder. I don’t know if you can tell, but I really loved this novel. It wasn’t difficult for me to come to the conclusion that I needed to give it all five stars, or that I needed to add it to my all-time favorites list. Varina just did a fabulous job with this story, and I know it’s one I will remember forever. Partly because I know I’ll read it again and again, but no matter. It’s still memorable. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it, as I promise it will touch your heart and make you love it just as much as I did.

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