Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie's life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.
Thirteen years ago, Evie's firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie's heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.
Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie's life is stream-lined, Jack's approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack's world---a world that isn't as safe or predictable as the one she's worked so hard to create---he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.
Jack doesn't make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn't felt since Max passed away---or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn't anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.
Evie Bennett's life hasn't always been easy—she lost her firefighter husband when their son was very young; her son fell in love his senior year of high school and soon announced his girlfriend was pregnant and they were getting married—but it has always been safe. She lives in an upper middle class neighborhood, she works as the women's ministries director at her church, and she is surrounded by friends who stepped in to fill the gap after her husband's death. When Jack Vale enters her life, he challenges her to step outside the safety of the church walls and "love your neighbor as yourself." As Evie is drawn into Jack's world, she begins to really experience life in all its messiness for the first time since her husband's death.
I honestly don't think I can say enough good things about The Hearts We Mend! Because of my love for the first novel in this series, I knew I wanted to read the book—but I did wonder if author Kathryn Springer could match the quality, depth, and realness of The Dandelion Field. Well, she did; in fact, I think I actually liked The Hearts We Mend better!
Not only did I love the romance between Evie and Jack, but I also enjoyed Evie's transformation into a strong, independent woman who began pursuing the dreams God placed on her heart.
Ultimately, while I enjoyed The Hearts We Mend, it also challenged me to get out of my Evie-like comfort zone and look for opportunities God has given me to impact the world outside the church doors ... and it did it without coming across as preachy. The Bannister Falls series is a must read for anyone looking for faith-filled, realistic romance. 5 stars.
Note: The Hearts We Mend can be read as a stand-alone title, but I'd recommend reading The Dandelion Field first, as Evie's journey really begins there.
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Read my reviews of Springer's The Dandelion Field (5 stars) and A September Bride (4 stars).
Kathryn Springer is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother's typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books --- which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold. She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.
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