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    This is a fantastic historical novel!

    This book can be read as a stand-alone story even though it is the second book in the series. There are a couple of brief references to characters in the first book but that is all. I absolutely loved both Caroline Taylor and Ryan Chambers. They both have enormous difficulties to deal with when they first meet. They each have a different way that they are approaching those problems though. Caroline believes in God yet she is so burdened with her responsibilities that she doesn’t really know how to trust Him to take care of her and her siblings. The heartache and uncertainty that she has faced already in her life caused me to just want to reach out and give her a hug and encourage her that she could get through the new problems facing her. Ryan has been wounded both physically and emotionally by the atrocities of the Civil War. These wounds have left him doubting God and his own worthiness as a man. His physical wounds were immediately described. As the story progressed we are then gradually told about the emotional burden that he is carrying. As trouble mounts and dangerous situations are faced they both need to learn how to turn to God for His help and strength. The steps that are taken by each of them were very clearly written and thought provoking. I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
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    Great Romance

    Loved this book. I couldn't put this book down. I can't wait to read the next one in this series. However, you can read this or Book #1 as a stand alone for sure.
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    Hearts Made Whole is a lovely Christian romance!

    Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund is a sweet Christian romance novel set just after the Civil War. It is the second book in the Beacons of Hope series. Caroline Taylor is the eldest of five children. Her family has been living at Windmill Point Lighthouse for years. One night there is a storm and their father insists on going across the lake with the doctor to find medicine for his sick daughter, Sarah (medicine was in short supply during and after the war). Unfortunately, neither the doctor nor their father made it to land. Caroline is now in charge of the children (Tessa, Sarah, Hugh, and Harold) and gets herself appointed temporary keeper of the lighthouse. Four months later Mr. Finick, the district lighthouse inspector, arrives to inform Caroline that he has hired a man to take over the lighthouse duties (Mr. Finick believes women belong in the home taking care of their husband and having children). He gives them one week to vacate the premises. The next day Caroline’s sleep is interrupted when someone lands in her bed. Caroline was up all night doing her duties as lighthouse keeper and had just gotten to sleep after dawn. Ryan Chambers is drunk and on pain pills when he arrives at the lighthouse to assume his new duties as lighthouse keeper. Even in his stupor, Ryan is understanding and agrees to stay in the boat house. Ryan was injured during the war and lost part of one hand. Shrapnel is still lodged in the hand/arm which causes him pain (hence the pain pills. The alcohol is also numbing and helps Ryan with his pity party). The first few days that Ryan is at the lighthouse, he does not show up to do any of his duties. Caroline is still performing the job. Ryan, slowly starts to learn (yes, learn) how to operate the lighthouse and Caroline starts substituting his pain pills for herbal pain remedies. Then someone starts sabotaging things around the lighthouse. Caroline’s garden is destroyed (the plants and bulbs destroyed with a blade), ducks nailed to rowboat, hole in rowboat, being locked in root cellar, and a fire. Who is behind these terrible deeds? In addition, Mr. Finick returns and insists that Caroline has to leave (he really has something against her). When Ryan proposes to Caroline (they have fallen in love) something happens that could ruin the happiness for everyone. You will have to read Hearts Made Whole to find out who is behind the sabotage, if Caroline will get to stay at the lighthouse, and if the family can move on from their grief and find happiness. I give Hearts Made Whole 4 out of 5 stars. It was a good story, but I found it very predictable. I also found Caroline’s character a bit of a contradiction. She is portrayed as this strong character, but she rarely stood up for herself. Caroline was always backing down. Hearts Made Whole is well-written and contains some interesting characters. I received a complimentary copy of Hearts Made Whole from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.

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