She had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boarding house in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down—it’s also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name—and her heart—by telling him the truth?
What I thought:
Jill Marie Landis forges a new path in historical fiction with ‘Heart of Stone’. This daring and unique story will reignite the interest of those who think they’ve seen it all when it comes to this genre.
Laura is a character that drew me immediately. The childhood nightmares of her past introduced in the first chapter snagged my heart. The fears that drive Laura’s actions as an adult pressed me deeper into her story. The choices Laura feels compelled to make had me turning the pages until I reached the end, completely emotionally invested in the outcome. While Brand’s character also appealed to me, it was Laura’s story that kept my attention.
Jill ably addresses the subject of second chances and God’s ability to wash us clean of our darkest secrets and sins, and make us whole and new. Indeed Laura’s character embodies these topics in a tangible form that forces the reader to see the other side of the facade that is often presented by people around us and challenges the preconceived opinions we hold. ‘Heart of Stone’ emphasised the principle that the masks we wear to protect ourselves can in fact be the very thing that causes heartache. Laura’s story reminded me that truth does indeed set us free to live life to the full.
Guest reviewer: My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence
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