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Posted June 11, 2010
Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr is a very unusual entry in Christian fiction, Ellie Kilmer knows that her dreams of having a husband and raising children of her own will never come true. At thirty-one, with an extremely plain face, she's placed her faith in God that she will find a life that will make her content. Jackson Smith has a proposition that just may fit the bill. He needs a housekeeper and caretaker for his two sons while he cares for the apple orchard on the family island just outside of town, but after just a few days, he realizes that he needs a more permanent position and proposes a marriage of convenience. Jackson is haunted by the scandal of his first wife's death, as well as by the memory of his one true love, and his suspicious nature threatens their business arrangement, but Ellie's strong faith and loving heart just may change both of their hearts. Most romance novels spend plenty of words gushing about the heroine's beauty, and the hero is often head over heels in love from the first glance. Ellie doesn't have that advantage, yet she is a heroine readers will fall in love with from the first page. Fiercely loyal and faithful, she has an beautiful heart. Parr has written a stellar romance that is truly of the heart and raises, through Jackson, the question of what true love really is.
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Posted October 21, 2013
Posted July 11, 2010
HEARTS AWAKENING by Delia Parr is a wonderful, touching Inspirational Historical Romance set in 1840 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is fast paced, page turning written with depth and details. It has hope, despair, hurt, anger, betrayal, secrets, mistrust, misunderstanding, faith, hardship, forgiveness, courage, love and strength. The characters jump off the page, they same so real and true. What an enduring story of love and faith. This is a sweet tender love story and the hardship, and devotion two small boys, their father and their new mother endure and come out on top. The hero,Jackson, is a widow of six months, has two small boys, is ridden with scandal of his wife's affair and death.The heroine, Ellie, is a spinster, needs work, is plain, longs for a family of her own and a home of her own. Although, Ellie is plain, has no outer beauty, she has an inner beauty of faith and spirit. Jackson asks Ellie to marry him after only knowing her for two days,She was sent by her cousin to work for Jackson as penance for learning something about her cousin. She agrees to the marriage, they set rules more for her to live by than Jackson. For he has trouble trusting her, due to the scandal around his first wife. What happens is short of a miracle. Jackson sees Ellie's inner beauty and how much she loves him,what their live together could be, his children and her undeterred faith. I would highly recommend this story, especially if you enjoy a beautiful tender love story. This book was received for review and details can be found at Bethany House Publishers and My Book Addiction and More.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 18, 2010
I absolutely loved this book! It was so touching. The story of Ellie and Jackson took me on an emotional roller coaster but I liked where it ended, nearly bringing me to joyful and envious tears. Hearts Awakening is a story about pain, growing, and love. A perfect tale for everyone to enjoy. I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2010
Hearts Awakening was a tender story with an appropriate title. It delved into what real love is and whether or not it's possible to develop marital love from friendship and not mere attraction. It also went into how you can't commit to someone if your heart is connected to someone else and the ramifications to everyone in your life when you close off your heart for fear of being hurt and abandoned.
I enjoyed this story because it really does show how the human heart works when an attachment to another person develops and blossoms into more. We all get less attractive as we age, but if we have a spouse who loves us deeply, that doesn't make the love dissipate, but it typically grows stronger if their is honesty and openness in a relationship. This story also shows how true intimacy cannot occur when there are secrets between people.
My only complaint about this story was how slowly the romance developed. The relationship that Ellie had with the boys was precious, and I enjoyed how their family slowly began to knit together. I would recommend this book even though it's not your typical romance or marriage of convenience story. It has a different, more heart-warming feel as their hearts awaken and bond in a marriage until it becomes more than just friendship.
What I enjoyed most about this story was how it shows that a solid friendship based on mutual respect and trust is an excellent foundation for marriage. Plus, the author's writing style was easy to read and follow.
Posted June 6, 2010
Jackson Smith owns and operates an apple orchard on Dillon's Island, located on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Elvira Kilmer literally stumbles her way to his doorstep seeking a position as a housekeeper. Smith, a widower with two sons, desperately needs assistance. Elvira hopes to meet his approval and secure the position. As a spinster at the ripe old age of 31, she has no money, and no real place to call home. Sadly, genteel 1840's society has little use for someone like Elvira.
Jackson hires Elvira on the spot; her aim is to eventually secure a reference from Jackson and move on. She's taken off guard by how young and handsome he is, and he is taken off guard by how plain she is. Elvira's learning curve includes using Jackson's new fangled cookstove, and Daniel and Ethan, Jackson's sons. To say they present another problem is an understatement. Daniel, who is five years old, criticizes Elvira's every move, comparing her to his deceased mother. Ethan, age three, has not spoken a word since his mother died six months ago.
Elvira's hopes of a family and children have long been extinguished. Her meager belongings include a family secret or two that she wishes to chase away. Jackson's mysterious past includes a few puzzles and even a scandal. He decides to offer a deal, of sorts, to Elvira as a means of solving his problems.
At first, Elvira refuses his proposition, but then reconsiders. Is it worth the risk? Their tenuous relationship is put to the test through this agreement, and both experience spiritual challenges as they make this journey together. Will their agreement remain practical or will they open their hearts to see what God has for them?
I loved this book! I was drawn to Elvira immediately. I could feel her pain and disappointment with each stumbling step as she made her way to Jackson's doorstep. My sympathies were less engaged with Jackson, but I came to understand him as the plot thickened. I was born in the same region where this book was set, so perhaps I was also drawn to the setting, which Ms. Parr described in an accurate and wonderful way. I enjoyed the surprises that kept popping up, and the unexpected friends Elvira made along the way.
If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend this book. Ms. Parr succeeds in telling a heart rending and heart warming tale, all in the same package.
By Delia Parr
Elvira (Ellie) Kilmer is sent to the small island of Dillon as an unpaid housekeeper for a young handsome widow and his two young sons; a penance for "betraying" her cousin. With no means of sustaining herself and no where else to go, Ellie soon finds herself in a contracted marriage to Jackson Smith in order to care for his sons without further sullying either of their reputations.
Life on the quiet apple orchard is hard work for Ellie, a 31 year old spinster who spent most of her life caring for her invalid mother after her father died leaving them with almost nothing. Being thrust into the role of mother for two grieving young boys, and the unfortunate target of her new husbands fear and anger is almost more than she can bear. Their only hope: strength from God and the power of forgiveness.
A beautiful novel filled with wisdom, courage and hope. Delia Parr writes eloquently about the fear and grief that lies at the root of anger, jealousy and mistrust. Hearts Awakening is a journey of surrender and learning to trust in God's will.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted June 4, 2010
"Necessity is the mother of invention," it is often said. And it times past, this often meant a marriage of convenience.
Passing the age of thirty, Ellie is an old maid. Worse; she's plain and her only family doesn't want to have much to do with her. Jackson is a few years younger. Encircled by the rumors of his first marriage and the scandal of his wife's death, he finds security on his island in Pennsylvania in the midst of his apple orchards. But what is he to do with two very young sons - one who will not speak since his mother's death? Ellie seems to be the perfect answer.
No matter how many stories are written on marriages of necessity, we never seem to tire of reading them. And here is the story of a young woman determined to make the best of her life in the service of others, even if that means marrying a man who has deep hurts. And although a happy ending is inevitable, the journey of the lives of these characters is well worth a few hours of reading.
Posted June 4, 2010
BY: Delia Parr
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
PUBLISHED IN: 2010
Reviewed by Billy Burgess
"Hearts Awakening" is set during the 1840s on the Dillon's Island that is located in the Susquehanna River. Elvira Kilmer has always wanted a husband and family of her own, but feels that she is getting to old and that her dream will never come true. She moves to Dillon's Island in hope of a new life. She takes a job as a housekeeper at the Smith residents.
Jackson Smith is a handsome widower with children. Both Jackson and Elvira start to have feelings for another, but their relationship maybe in jeopardy when she learns of Jackson's first marriage scandal.
This is a simple story about the plain looking Elvira falling in love with her boss. Elvira's character is likeable, and you do at times feel everything she is feeling. Jackson is an interesting character, with a somewhat harming past. Even with the simple plot, I ended liking this cute romantic tale. If you like romance books, check this book out.
I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me this copy to review.
Posted June 3, 2010
Ellie (Elvira) Kilmer has given all her life. In her younger days she gave up a hope of a marriage and family of her own to take care of her infirmed mother. When her mother passed away, Ellie was twenty eight years old, past marrying age for the most part during the 1840's.
Jackson Smith has been married, and is now a young widower at twenty eight raising two small boys on his own. He married his first wife, even though he was in love with another woman, and that marriage proved to be a disaster. His wife died in a horrible drowning accident, with her lover. The scandal was very much a big part of why he chose to stay on his island away from everyone.
However both of these people are in a dilemna, Ellie has been banned from her cousin's home, because she found out about his indescretions and threatened to tell his wife, and Jackson fired his last housekeeper because she was cruel to his sons. Jackson is pretty sure though when Reverend Shore arranges for Ellie to volunteer at Jackson's home for a couple of weeks, that he has a solution to his problem and to hers.
Will they make this work? A marriage between two people who barely know each other, and who are both not sure it will work? Will the boys ever accept Ellie as a mama? This book is wonderful. I cried along with Ellie as her frustrations were revealed, I laughed as she found joy in the everyday things that God had gifted her with. You will NOT want to miss reading this book. 350 pages US$14.99 5 stars
This book was provided by Bethany House for review purposes only.
Posted May 31, 2010
Spinster Elvira Kilmer's life has been dictated by others for as long as she can remember. Now, at the age of 31, she finds herself as a housekeeper and nanny to two motherless children. When the handsome widow she works for proposes a marriage of convenience, she sees it as a way out of the life her family intends to inflict upon her. But will this marriage truly bring the freedom she seeks or will it tie her tighter to her unhappiness? She always dreamed of a loving husband and children of her own. This marriage will offer her two young boys, but it is quite clear widower has no interest in ever loving her.
Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr is a good read. Although it is somewhat predictable, the plot is enhanced by little twists and unique scenes that keep the story moving and appealing. The one complaint I have about this book is the lack of romance. Although it is certainly a love story, the romance department is severely lacking. This is particularly strange to me because the story has a basis that seems like it would make some romance easy to incorporate.
Posted May 15, 2010
Immersed in a beautiful island full of apple trees, a nice romantic novel takes place. Jackson, a widower, tries to raise his kids, but needs some help. This comes with Ellie, a new housekeeper, who has been volunteered to work for him for free, for two weeks. An unexpected proposal changes everybody's lives and challenges the main characters to see things from a different perspective. This is a delightful novel about true love, from commitment, forgiveness, prayer and seeking God for guidance to the effect parents might have on kids. In Hearts Awakening beauty has nothing to do with looks or pretty clothes; it is in the heart, and reflected in the choices made according to what is best for others, not for oneself.
The story feels a lot like Love Comes Softly and the end is highly predictable. However, the story itself develops in a different way and it is one of those books you can just not put down; it is easy to read, and the faith lessons are worthy. If you like romantic novels, you will surely enjoy this book; I certainly want to pick another by Delia Parr.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for review, but this does not bias my opinion on the book nor the author.
Posted May 10, 2010
Ellie Kilmer is basically homeless, depending on cousins to give her shelter after her parents are dead. Plain in looks, a spinster at 31 years of age, and in need of a letter of reference to be able to find a position, she takes a temporary position suggested by the minister. Cooking, cleaning, and caring for 2 small boys, ages 3 and 5, while their father, Jackson Smith, tends his orchards. The youngest boy, Ethen, hasn't spoken since his mother's death, several months earlier.
After a few days, Jackson asks Ellie to be his wife, in name only, so that she doesn't have to travel the several miles back and forth daily. Insulted, she first refuses, but rethinks his offer, and they go that day and marry. She finds herself falling in love with her new husband, though she never says a word. Shortly afterward, she discovers that Jackson is still in love with Dorothea, who married someone else, but who is now a widow, and returning to the area. Will Jackson have their marriage set aside, and marry his first love?
This is a very enjoyable book, easy to follow story, and I'm glad I got a chance read it. It is wonderful for a rainy day, when you just want to sit and relax.
I was given a free copy of this book to read and review. The opinions expressed here are my own. No compensation was given for my review.
Posted May 9, 2010
I started this book last night and finished it this afternoon. This, of course, coming from the girl who claims not to like Christian fiction. I enjoyed Hearts Awakening so much that instead of renting a movie or reading blogs, I lost myself in this book for hours.
When I first started it, I was unsure of the uniqueness of the plot. It seemed a bit too Love Comes Softly-esque for my taste. Although the stories are a bit similar (name-only marriage arrangement), the feel of Hearts Awakening is nothing akin to the writing of Janette Oke. Although the end is terribly predictable, the path to the end is not. The setting of the novel is rich and beautiful. The characters are real and heart-wrenching. I loved the way the characters interacted and changed throughout the story.
One of my favorite parts of the book is that the main character, Ellie, is not the typical heroine with perfect features and flawless character. In her I often saw myself as she suffered heartbreak and triumphs. I was drawn into the story as I am sure you will be as well.
Since Hearts Awakening begins in the summer, buy a copy to add to your summer reading pile!
I was provided a free copy of this book for my review by Bethany House Publishers.
Posted February 28, 2010
What an unforgettably poignant story of two people struggling to make peace with their pasts and to discover the true meaning of love and family. I absolutely loved it! Delia Parr's writing is always beautiful and her characters memorable, but this time she reached new heights. Ellie and Jackson are her most compelling characters yet, turning the well-loved marriage of convenience story into something truly unforgettable. Laced with fascinating glimpses into life in the nineteenth century, this a book that I'll reread again and again. It comes with my highest recommendation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2009
Ellie Kilmer has spent her life caring for her parents. In her thirties and well past marrying age she finds herself being shuffled off to her cousins house. He finds her a temporary job with a widower Jackson Smith caring for his two boys. After being hurt by his first wife he decides that love isn't the answer but Ellie is good with the boys and trustworthy. So he proposes a marriage between them in name only. He would have someone care for his boys and she would have a home to call her own. Can two hurting people find love together with God's help or will fear, pride and an old flame get in the way?
I loved this story. The chemistry between the main characters was totally tangible. The emotions and feelings of Ellie and Jackson were right-on. The dialog seemed true to life. I loved the inner strength Ellie displayed and the way she trusted God through everything. She was honest with Jackson even when he didn't want to hear it but she did it lovingly. Jackson was a wonderful tortured hero. He had so many buried hurts that affected how he reacted to Ellie. But he really didn't set out to be cruel. Another thing I appreciated about this story was the fact that Ellie was a plain girl but beautiful in heart. This story kept me turning page after page. I highly recommend it.
Posted July 12, 2011
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Posted October 28, 2010
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Posted February 12, 2011
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Posted May 2, 2012
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