Saturday, 3 July 2010

Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr

GENRE: historical romance

Life has left few choices for Elvira Kilmer. Her hopes for marriage and a family of her own have long since passed her by, and her arrival on Dillon’s Island, nestled in the Susquehanna River, is not of her choosing, either. She needs work. And Jackson Smith needs a housekeeper. Yet Ellie never imagined the widower would be so young, so handsome. Jackson, on the other hand, has never met anyone quite so plain. But he quickly comes to realize that Ellie’s presence may solve his own problems – both the rearing of his young boys and the scandal that surrounds his first marriage. When Jackson offers her something quite out of the ordinary, will Ellie look beyond mere necessity and risk opening her heart?

This novel is about two people who have wounded souls and who need to be saved by someone who can love them truly and unconditionally. Elvira Kilmer, called Ellie in the novel, is a 31-year-old spinster with no prospects and no chance of ever getting married and having her own family, as she is not marriage material anymore at her age and she looks extremely plain. She dedicated her youth to her sick parents and rejected two proposals to care for them. After they died, Ellie was 28 already, with no money and allowed to live with her cousins who did not really like her and who treated her like a servant. She has many wounds: she was rejected, she can never have her own family and she is alone. Still, her faith is strong and she does not cease to hope. As for Jackson, his first marriage was a failure and surrounded by a scandal because of his first wife. He also had a tough, miserable childhood and he has learned not to trust anyone.

When Jackson hires Ellie as a housekeeper for two weeks, two wounded people with a need to be accepted and loved find each other. Jackson doesn’t see Ellie as an attractive woman, but he acknowledges her qualities as a housekeeper and he sees that she would be a good wife and a mother to his boys. His house needs a woman to keep it clean and his boys need a mother. SPOILER: So, Jackson proposes to Ellie, but this is a business contract. They will marry, but not act as husband and wife, only as business partners. Ellie is hurt by his insulting proposal at first, but she sees this as her chance to have her own home and a family, so she accepts and marries Jackson. This is where the story begins. END OF SPOILER.

The novel is about hope, faith and love. Ellie is a woman of strong faith and there is a lot of talking about faith in this novel, as well as God and other faith-related subjects. If you’re not a religious person, this might bore you or annoy you, but then again, this is just a story and sometimes it’s good to see someone else’s perspective as well.

Ellie is a really good character. She has been hurt many times in her life, but she persists. She is strong, hopeful and has faith. She turns to God a lot. Jackson is not as open as she is and he is really tough on others and doesn’t easily trust people. However, with her strong faith and hopeful nature, Ellie manages to melt his reserve a bit and they become friends. The story really revolves around these two people and their journey to the recovery of their inner wounds. They encounter many problems on this journey and things get really tough at times, but such is life. The question is: do they want to have a nice life enough to put aside all difficulties?

I really liked this book. I was not blown away by it, but it was a really enjoyable read and something new for me. I’d never read a book in which faith and God are so important, or at least not in a long time, but it was nice to read such a novel for a change. Also, religion meant far more to people of that time in general than it means to the modern civilisation, in general, of course, so it’s understandable that religion is present in the novel. This novel is also a tribute to hope and love, to acceptance, friendship, and to understanding those around you.

I don’t regret buying this novel, but if you’re not comfortable with religious topics, yet you still wish to give this novel a try, just borrow it from a library.



Blodeuedd said...

Not that quite confortable with the religious aspect, still wanna read it, so yes the library seems like my way

Katy said...

I'm glad you liked it! :) I liked it too--it didn't knock my socks off, but I enjoyed that their relationship wasn't based on the girl's looks.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@ Blodeuedd: Yes, borrow it from a library, better safe than sorry, I say.

@ Katy: I bought this book because of your review.;) I enjoyed it, it was nice their love was not based on looks.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

This sounds interesting. I like the sound of Ellie-she seems like a pretty strong character, which is my preference for protagonists. I will definitely be on the lookout for it.

Unknown said...

What a fascinating review! I don't really think this book is for me. I have no issue over the religious aspect as long as the novel doesn't try to convert me but it doesn't doesn't really appeal. Still your insights very really interesting to read.

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