An argument. A crash. In an instant, Joanna’s world is changed forever.
One minute, Joanna Schrock was arguing with her parents, and the next, her parents’ lives were claimed in a hit-and-run buggy accident. Her body is broken, but her heart is in even deeper pain— after all, how do you cope with your parents’ deaths when your last words were spoken in anger?
After an extended stint in a physical rehabilitation center, Joanna re-enters her Amish life. But nothing is the same—not even her feelings for Andrew Beiler.
Joanna has loved Andrew since the age of twelve, and her feelings have not changed throughout the years. She is thrilled when Andrew wants to get married, but she wonders whether it’s love he’s feeling, or pity. As the couple’s wedding date approaches, Joanna isn’t overcome with the deep joy she was hoping to feel; instead, she’s wracked with anxiety and guilt.
Joanna hears God whispering to her, Be strong and courageous, but she’s afraid that courage looks a lot like walking away from her dreams and into the plan of her Heavenly Father.
If Joanna takes the first step toward healing, will it cost her everything she’s ever wanted? Or could God be changing the desires of her heart?
About the Author
With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.
Read an Excerpt
An Unbroken Heart
By Kathleen Fuller
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Kathleen Fuller
All rights reserved.
This has to be a trick.
Joanna Schrock had been fooled once before — and again and again and again. As Thomas Yutzy stretched his closed hands out in front of him, a familiar knot of dread formed in her stomach.
She'd decided to spend her lunch recess alone on this warm spring day, reading under the cool shade of a huge oak tree in the school yard. Then less than a minute after she'd become engrossed in the book she started last night, Thomas approached her and asked if she wanted to play a game.
She should ignore him, but that would be rude. She also couldn't resist the thought that this might be the one time he was telling her the truth. She set down her book and stood.
"C'mon, Joanna." His small gray eyes were round with fake innocence. What a lousy liar. "Which hand has the candy?" He moved closer to her as the noonday sun brightened the cloudless sky.
Joanna glanced around the school yard. She could see her classmates Andrew Beiler, Christopher Beachy, and Asa Bontrager standing near a maple tree a few feet away, waiting to see what she would do. The rest of the students were playing baseball in the field behind the schoolhouse while Frau Miller supervised the game.
Christopher whispered something to Asa, and both boys laughed. Joanna's cheeks burned. Then she saw Andrew. His face remained impassive, with his light blond hair poking out from beneath his straw hat.
Thomas continued to grin, clearly not caring if she knew his true intentions. Then again, everyone knew she was easy to fool. Although she was twelve years old now, that didn't mean she was less gullible. In third grade she'd believed the moon was made of cheese. Swiss, to be exact. In fourth grade she'd been told a real live monster lived in the gentle flowing waters of Birch Creek. She'd been afraid to swim in the creek until her father reassured her that the monster didn't exist. Then he had taken her fishing to prove it.
Her classmates, mostly the boys, had also pulled several pranks on her. A few had been harmless, like the time Asa had taken her math book and hidden it under the teacher's desk. She hadn't minded that ... too much. "We're only funning you," some of them would say after she'd been duped again. "Only kidding," others would tell her. She accepted their excuses. Hid her hurt feelings. And never admitted there was nothing funny about being the butt of the joke.
Sometime during the last year, the pranks had become cruel. The tack in her chair. The dozen pieces of chewing gum on the bottom of her desk, which she had to scrape off after school because she was responsible for keeping her desk clean and tidy. She refused to cry as she took the dull butter knife and removed the nasty, hardened globs.
"You're too nice and sweet," her sister Sadie had told her when they walked home later that day.
"That's why the buwe pick on you," her other sister, Abigail, said.
Sadie added, "You should stand up for yourself, Joanna. Don't let them walk all over you."
So it's mei fault. Which wasn't fair. She didn't want to confront the boys. She wanted them to leave her alone.
But as she stared at Thomas's grimy knuckles, she realized this might be the time to make a stand. "I don't want to play." She backed away from him.
"Aw, Joanna. Don't be like that." Thomas's grin revealed overlapping front teeth. He would have been a bit nice looking if he wasn't so annoying. "Be a gut sport. Pick a hand."
Perspiration formed on the back of her neck. She should pick so he would have his laugh and leave her alone. She started to point to his left hand, squeezing her eyes shut and steeling herself for what would happen if she chose wrong.
"Let her be, Thomas."
She opened her eyes. Andrew strode toward them with confident steps. He was shorter than the rest of the boys in their grade, and he was stocky. Solid, like the trunk of a thick, unyielding oak tree. He stopped in front of Joanna and calmly slipped his hands into his pockets, his gaze never leaving Thomas.
Thomas scoffed. "We're just playing a little game. You stay out of it."
"Doesn't seem like she wants to play."
Joanna's words left her. She didn't need Andrew to fight her battles, but she had to admit a small part of her liked that he was willing to. Andrew was not only very schee, he was also very nice. She lifted her chin, his presence bolstering her confidence.
Ignoring Andrew, Thomas faced Joanna again, pushing his fists toward her. "Pick," he ordered.
Andrew shook his head, confirming what she already knew — she wouldn't like either choice. Knowing he was beaten, Thomas opened both hands and tossed two small toads at Joanna. Like tiny rubber balls, both animals bounced off her face and shoulder and landed on the ground. She gasped and jumped back.
Thomas's laughter rang in her ears. Asa and Christopher were also giggling.
Her face flamed, her eyes stinging with tears she dared not shed. The last time she'd cried at school, even a few girls had called her a crybaby. Only when Sadie and Abigail had told them to shut up did they stop. I will not cry ... I will not cry ...
Joanna focused on the toads as they hopped away in the grass. Thankfully they weren't harmed by Thomas's cruelty. She couldn't face her tormentors — or Andrew. He was probably laughing at her too.
"Fight!" Asa yelled.
Joanna whirled around. Andrew was gripping Thomas by the front of his pale yellow shirt. "I told you to leave her alone," Andrew growled, his voice much deeper than she'd ever heard it.
Thomas replied with a punch to Andrew's face.
Joanna gasped again and brought her hands to her mouth. Andrew stumbled from the blow yet managed to remain on his feet, his hands fisted at his sides. But he didn't retaliate. Before things could escalate, two eighth-grade boys stepped between them.
"Enough!" Joel Zook, the tallest kid in school, pierced both boys with a warning look. "Ach, you want the teacher to know about this? She'll tell yer parents and you'll both be in big trouble."
Andrew took a step back, the red mark on his cheek glowing against his fair skin. "Nee. We had a misunderstanding, that's all."
"It won't happen again," Thomas added.
"Better not, or I'll take you to Frau Miller myself." Joel gave each of them a hard look before he and the other boy walked away.
As Thomas went to stand by Asa and Christopher, Joanna wiped the part of her cheek the toad had landed on, fighting off the tears. If she had gone along with Thomas to begin with, none of this would have happened. Everything was worse now. She picked up her book and proceeded to the schoolhouse, eager to get away from all of them.
Andrew appeared beside her. He walked with her a few steps, then moved to stand in front of her. "Are you okay, Joanna?"
Surprised, a funny feeling appeared in her tummy when she met his gaze. Oh, he was definitely nice looking. "I should be asking you that question." She rubbed her nose. "I'm sorry I caused so much trouble."
"It's not yer fault Thomas is a dummkopf" he said with a nonchalant lift of his shoulders. "If those guys or anyone else bothers you, let me know. I'll take care of it."
She looked at his swollen cheek. "I don't want you to get hurt again."
He chuckled. "This?" He pointed at the dark red mark. "He only landed that punch because he caught me off guard." The smile slid from his handsome face. "There are better ways to handle an argument than using fists. Thomas needs to learn that."
He sounded wiser and far older than his twelve years. Andrew, his sister, Irene, and their mother were new to the district, having moved to Birch Creek almost a year ago. There were rumors that his father had left the family for an Englisch woman. Joanna had never asked Andrew about it. His family had the right to their privacy and didn't deserve to be gossiped about.
Andrew suddenly reached toward her. When she flinched, he said softly, "This is a gut trick. I promise." He brushed his fist against her ear, then drew back his hand and opened it.
Her eyebrows lifted at the acorn in his palm. "How did you do that?"
His lips tipped up in a half-smile. "I can't tell you all my secrets."
Frau Miller rang the bell, and the students scrambled back to the schoolhouse. Andrew walked with Joanna. "What are you going to tell Frau Miller about yer cheek?" she asked, rubbing her nose again.
He shrugged. "I'll think of something."
Their teacher had given both Thomas and Andrew a questioning look when they entered the school building, but she didn't say anything. Joanna suspected Frau Miller had an idea about what had happened between the boys but for some reason chose not to do anything about it. As the children sat in their seats and school resumed, Joanna leaned back, relieved nothing else awful had happened.
The rest of the day went by without incident. Joanna tried to focus on her schoolwork, but she was unable to resist sneaking a few glances at Andrew, who sat three seats away. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to notice. She bit her lip, disappointed. What he'd done for her at recess was special. He'd stood up for her when no one, other than her sisters, had ever done so. He'd been her hero.
At the end of the school day, Joanna gathered her books and her lunch pail and met Sadie and Abigail outside, forgetting about Andrew and focusing on what she would do when she got home. After she finished her homework, she would start on supper. She'd taken over the cooking chores this year so her mother and sisters could work more hours in their family-owned grocery store. She didn't mind. She liked to cook and loved to bake. What's Andrew's favorite dessert? She shook her head at the sudden thought. So much for getting him out of mei mind.
She was deciding whether to make hamburger casserole or chicken pot pie when Andrew appeared by her side. Butterflies danced in her stomach. He remained quiet as they continued down the dirt-packed shoulder of the road. Slowing her pace, she lagged behind her sisters. When his stride lingered with hers, the butterflies ramped up. There was something comforting and protective about his presence. They passed by sun-warmed fields and gardens, the freshly turned earth ready and waiting to be seeded with corn, tomatoes, beans, and other varieties of vegetables and grains.
When they reached her house, the ease she'd felt with him disappeared. Should she thank him for walking her home? Would she sound stupid if she did? Her stomach tightened as she wondered if he would say anything to her. If he did, how would she respond? She wasn't sure she could even talk, not when her mouth was drier than a parched garden.
While all these thoughts ran through her mind, he gave her a nod, turned, and walked in the opposite direction toward his home. She sighed. As she watched him leave, a part of her fell in love with him.CHAPTER 2
Eight years later
Joanna's heart thrummed as she searched for Andrew among the crowd of young people gathered in the Troyers' basement. This had been their ritual for the past two months. They would arrive at a singing separately, seek each other out, then send a silent signal so they could meet in private. Her anticipation always grew as she tried not to reveal she was looking for him. She couldn't help frowning when she didn't see him right away.
Finally she spied him standing on the opposite side of the room. The warm smile he aimed at her created the usual tiny butterflies that tickled her stomach, easing the tension from listening to her sisters argue on the way here. Sadie was upset. She never went to singings but had reluctantly agreed to go this time, and her mood was foul by the time they had arrived. Abigail had given up trying to reason with her and had disappeared as soon as she exited the buggy. Now Sadie stood alone in the corner, a sour look on her face, which wouldn't do much to attract the few eligible young men attending tonight.
Abigail had no problem mingling, though, especially with Joel Zook. Joanna saw her flirting with him, and from the full grin on his face, he was enjoying the attention.
Joanna put her sisters out of her mind and met Andrew's gaze again. His blond eyebrow lifted above his left eye. Their signal. He tilted his head in a small gesture for her to come to him. She gave him a tiny nod, the butterflies now swirling in a frenzy.
"Hello," he said as she drew near.
She stood close to him but not too close. He had to lean over to say his next words.
"Will you meet me behind the barn?"
He was always so polite with her. Never demanding and thoroughly respectful. She pulled back, her cheeks hot, savoring the thought that once again Andrew wanted her alone.
But part of her was growing impatient. Andrew's respect also translated into keeping her at arm's length, even when they were by themselves. After waiting eight years for him to finally show his romantic interest, she wanted more than conversation.
He left the room first. Several moments later she followed, dashing up the basement stairs and through the door that led to the backyard. In the dusky light she saw him disappear behind the Troyers' white barn. She hurried, a little breathless by the time she caught up to him. She found him leaning casually against the barn wall.
"You look nervous," he said.
"Not ... nervous." She rubbed her nose.
"Definitely nervous." He removed her hand from her nose. "You don't have to be skittish, Joanna. It's just me."
He would never be just Andrew to her. He was her protector, her savior ... her love. She looked at his face, barely seeing the muted tangerine and lavender clouds streaking the sky behind him. He'd taken off his hat and left it inside the Troyers' house. His thick, wavy blond hair was streaked with pale highlights from the sun. He always took her breath away.
Without a word he reached behind her ear, the soft brush of his finger on her earlobe making her breath hitch. He'd done his one and only magic trick several times before — pulling out quarters, acorns, even a stick of gum. But this time he withdrew a flower on a short stem, a lovely light blue blossom the size of a new dandelion. He handed it to her.
"How sweet." She smiled at the romantic gesture. Maybe they were making progress after all. "I like this better than acorns."
"I thought you would."
She gently cupped the flower in her hand. She'd take it home and press it into a small book, then place it in her treasure box where she'd kept everything he'd given to her over the years.
A long moment passed, and then the awkwardness between them began, as it always did when they were alone. As friends they could talk about anything. Now that they were dating, they struggled to hold a normal conversation. She wished he would show her some affection. A kiss on the cheek. Or on the lips. Instead he glanced at the ground, kicking a tuft of grass with the toe of his shoe.
In every other aspect of his life, Andrew was confident. Everything about him was strong, from his large, barrel-like chest and hard biceps to his loyal character and devotion to his family and faith. But when they were together like this, she felt on shaky ground, even though he was the one who had started their courtship two months ago.
She drew in a deep breath. It was now or never. It had taken more than two weeks to gather her courage, ever since the idea had popped into her mind while she was asking God what to do about her relationship with Andrew. Tentatively she stepped forward and touched one of the black suspenders that ran over his thick chest. He wasn't very tall, but neither was she. She liked that they could meet eye to eye.
"Joanna." He whispered her name, sending a shiver down her spine. His blue eyes darkened a bit, and his voice, which had deepened to a rich bass over the years, grew even huskier. "What are you doing?"
Excerpted from An Unbroken Heart by Kathleen Fuller. Copyright © 2016 Kathleen Fuller. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kathleen Fuller's are always great. This one makes you think about our lives here and the way of life in parts of the Middle East. I can honestly say that I've never read an Amisn novel, by any other Amish author, that explored our differences and simularities better then Kathleen Fuller.
Excellent, difficult to pu t do wn . Looking forward to reading next in series
Well Kathleen has done it again! I loved the first book in this series and I am pleased to say I loved this one too. This book really touched on honesty, forgiveness and compassion. I enjoyed all the characters in this book. Even the supposed "bad guy." I found myself feeling the compassion for the offender and wanting him to be forgiven. Joanna and Andrew were a very believable couple and I felt that their problems were real. I always like reading Amish fiction and Kathleen has become one of my favorites. I love the way Kathleen writes because even though there may not be any mystery to the story she keeps you captivated and interested and it keeps you reading. I am so much looking forward to reading the next in the series.
An Unbroken Heart #2 An Amish Birch Creek Novel***** by Kathleen Fuller Joanna Schrock's world has been turned upside down—not just from her serious injuries requiring a long recovery but from the death of her parents in the hit-and-run buggy accident. Can she forgive herself for the argument she had with her parents moments before the accident? Joanna has been in love with Andrew Beiler since she was 12 years old. Andrew almost lost her in the buggy accident and decides they need to marry soon and Joanna agrees. But is now a good time to marry when Joanna has not fully recovered from her injuries and is still mourning her parents deaths? No one seems to understand what she is feeling. And what of God's whisperings—”be strong and courageous”—what does God have in mind for her life?...what of Andrew? There is another character in this story that is struggling with his own personal losses and grief—Cameron, the man who fled the scene of the accident. What should he do—run and try to hide with his infant daughter or turn himself in? Can he forgive himself for what he had done? This is a heartwarming story that takes the reader on an emotional-roller-coaster ride along with the characters. I found myself caught up in their individual struggles, fears, pain, laughter, love, forgiveness and the path God has for each of them. The nurse in me wanted to comfort and care for Joanna until she was not only physically well but also emotionally. She started out almost weak but grew into a strong and courageous, godly woman as God had whispered to her. I was hoping Andrew would give her some time but could understand the scare he had when she was in the accident revealing his true feeling for her. He did some growing up too during all that happened between the two of them. And Cameron, I felt his grief and the fear of loosing his infant daughter—maybe forever—if he turned himself in. I cried when he held his daughter before leaving once his decision was made. An Unbroken Heart is a heartwarming story that touched my heart. ~I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild, this is my honest review~
I don't think I liked this book quite as much as the first. I liked getting to know the sisters better in this book, their interactions brought a definite sweetness and warmth to the story. I also give props to Fuller for illustrating Joanna's healing process in a believable way, as far as showing the conflicting emotions that come with coming back home after a major injury, the struggle to find one's place again after a long stint away, the nightmares that can plague someone after trauma, etc. But I just didn't find Joanna's personal story quite as interesting as her sister Sadie's in the first book. I felt like there was a more nuanced relationship between Sadie and Adan, while Joanna and Andrew still seemed very child-like in their emotions. Though I will admit, this book does close on a pretty cute scene between J & A :-) I also had a few hang-ups with the plot development. When it came to some of the characters and their individual problems, the resolutions to some of those problems struck me as just a little too convenient, coming about a little too quickly or easily to be believable. I was also a little confused by the introduction of the character Asa. Fuller writes him in but only barely gets into his backstory before the story closes so I was left wondering why he was there? All I can think is that the third book to this series is scheduled to be released this September, so maybe his story will unfold more there.
Joanna Schrock is injured in a hit and run buggy accident where her parents are killed. Will she fully recover from her injuries and her grief? She has had feelings in Andrew Beiler for most of her life. Will they marry or will their hearts to away from each other? Also there are other secrets in the family, will they discover what they are and be able to move past them?
I enjoyed the continuing story of the Schrock family and the Birch Creek community. This book is written so it can be a stand alone, but the first book, A Reluctant Bride, is also excellent so I highly recommend reading it as well. An Unbroken Heart focuses on the aftermath of Joanna's accident- her physical rehabilitation and the emotional struggles she faces. Much of Andrew and Joanna's relationship is internal dialogue since they have a hard time opening up to each other. I didn't find much pleasure in their interactions for much of the book since Joanna is drawing away from him and he doesn't communicate well. I loved the support Joanna's sisters show her during her difficult trials. I felt like the family bond is one of the highlights of the novel. I could relate well to Joanna's coping method of repressing feelings, but the problem with that is all those emotions under pressure eventually release in an explosion. The author did a wonderful job building toward the climax and then showing Joanna turn to God's guidance in restoring peace in her life and her relationship with Andrew. The secondary plot of Andrew's absent father wasn't as intense or involved as the first book in the series, but I still had a great reading experience. I'm looking forward to Abigail's story in A Love Made New, releasing this September. (Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
An Unbroken Heart is Kathleen Fuller's second book in her Birch Creek series although it can be read as a standalone novel. It follows the life of Joanna Schrock and her family. Joanna is tired of being pushed around. She remembers her days of being bullied on the school yard vividly. Her sisters tell her she needs to stand up for herself but that's easier said than done. It's not that she doesn't want to, it's that she doesn't feel she has it in her to speak up. All of her life Joanna had been somewhat of a mouse. Often the victim of bullying when she was younger, Joanna never let it sour her sweet demeanor. She had a crush on Andrew Beiler ever since he rescued her from a school yard bully when she was twelve. True to her nature though, she doesn't reveal her feelings, she's just hoping he catches on soon. He makes her feel safe and loved. She's finally caught Andrew's eye and she's super excited to be his girlfriend. If only he wouldn't treat her with kid gloves. She wants him to hold her hand, say he loves her. Anything but this awkwardness between them. She finally takes her sisters' advice to stand up for herself and proposes to Andrew. Enough with being meek and mild, she knows what she wants; Andrew!! But does Andrew want her? After the singing with Andrew, Joanna still feels empowered. She's finally fessing up to her parents how she feels about Andrew. How she feels her parents baby her more than her sisters. They have been trying to marry Sadie off for a long time now, but Joanna mention marriage and they flip their lid! She's had enough and she is telling them so when tragedy strikes, a buggy accident. Is this the price of standing up for yourself? I thoroughly enjoyed An Unbroken Heart even though I haven't read the first one. I sympathized with Joanna. She had been through so much between the bullying, family issues, and her own struggles. Most women would have given up, but not Joanna. Underneath that quiet demeanor is a heart of a warrior. She has the power to overcome all that's in her way if she will just take a leap of faith and believe in herself. She needs to see herself the way God sees her. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. She needs to believe in herself. She also needs to believe in others. Some people do pity you when bad things befall, but most genuinely want to help. Not because of pity or because they're looking for something in return but simply because they love you. An Unbroken Heart has all the elements of a wonderful story: intrigue, love, loss, tragedy and triumph. I recommend this story to anyone, even if you're not a fan of Amish fiction. This story will get its hooks into you and won't let go. The only down side is you may find yourself loving the characters so much you'll want to take up residence in Birch Creek.
I thought this was a unique Amish fiction novel. It seems like many Amish novels take an idealistic view of the Amish. They are depicted as quaint and almost perfect. However, in this book, Fuller gives us a picture of a young woman that is arguing with her parents when one of the worst possible things happens and her parents are killed in a hit-and-run accident. I appreciated a look at an Amish girl that struggles with anger like the rest of us. In fact, that is the best part of this book for me - characters that are not idealized or "perfect" but are flawed and struggle with mistakes and guilt and real-life problems. Some people don't enjoy books where things don't end happily for all the characters, but I do. I really enjoy books that are realistic and in real-life, things usually don't end up happily for everyone. Sometimes life is about making great-tasting lemonade with the lemons we are given. There isn't anything not to like about this book. The pacing is perfect; I didn't get bored, but didn't feel like I was racing to the end to find out how it would all turn out. I was so curious about what would happen to Cameron, but I felt like Joanna's story kept me captivated enough that I didn't feel like I had to rush through just to find out what happened to Cameron and Lacy. If you enjoy Amish fiction, Fuller offers up a solid novel. After you read this one, you might consider reading other Amish of Birch Creek novels. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
This book is second in a series called the "Amish of Birch Creek" written by Kathleen Fuller. I did not read the first book but An Unbroken Heart can stand alone without having previously reading book one. I really enjoyed reading this story and put it down once. Kathleen Fuller makes the reader feel the emotions of love, fear, pain, and questions of self-worth and happiness. The main characters in this book are Joanna Schrock and Andrew Beiler. Joanna was arguing with her parents about wanting to marry Andrew while they were traveling in their buggy on the way to the apple orchard. Her mother was telling her that she was not yet ready for marriage. When a car hit their buggy, the collision caused her to lose both of her parents. Joanna herself suffered a broken pelvis and lacerations on her face which would take a long time to heal. Joanna had loved Andrew since she was twelve years old, since he had stood up for her when she was being bullied at school. Over the years, as they were dating her feelings for Andrew grew stronger and Joanna had shocked Andrew by proposing to him. In the rehabilitation center, Joanna suffered both physically with the pain from the accident and mentally, having learned that she had lost both parents. She felt so empty, alone and guilty. Andrew was upset about the accident and worried that he might be losing Joanna, so visited her and proposed. He could not picture his life without Joanna by his side. She accepted the proposal without the deep joy she had hoped for, and the plans began for their wedding. On the day of her wedding Joanna was unable to walk down the aisle. She then told Andrew she could not marry him as she knew she wasn't ready. God was talking to Joanna, telling her to be strong and courageous. Should she listen to God? In An Unbroken Heart, readers learn about Joanna’s sisters, Sadie and Abigail, and how they managed to run the family business after their parent’s death while at the same time handling Joanna’s recovery. It encourages readers to look at forgiveness in their own lives as Joanna’s met Cameron, the driver who caused the accident that killed her parents, and forgave him. As the characters become so real, you really want healing for those who are hurting, and you want to help them find their way back to God so they can be whole again - but it must be in line with God’s timing and not theirs. I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I had a hard time getting into this book at first - I really didn't find the main character, Joanna, very likeable. She struggled with feelings of worthlessness and insecurity, but then did audacious things like asking her boyfriend of 2 months to marry her! Definitely not my picture of an Amish maiden. She recovered suspiciously fast after a broken pelvis. I also found it hard to believe that she and her two sisters ran the household and store so well after their parents' sudden deaths. And the whole idea of getting married a few weeks after coming home from the hospital? Throw in a missing Amishman in the Witness Protection Program (really), and I just wasn't feeling this was a realistic read. But the second half of the book took a turn for the better, in my opinion. Joanna came out of her fog and realized (during the service!) that she wasn't ready to marry long-suffering Andrew. He developed some personality, and got angry that she hadn't spoken up sooner. In short, they suddenly started acting human! I enjoyed the renewal of their friendship and eventual courtship. But the best part of the book to me was the way Joanna forgave the driver who caused the accident that killed her parents and so changed her life. Cameron's story and the way his confession was a catalyst for growth and grace was realistic and poignant. I realize I was at a disadvantage, starting this second book in the Birch Creek series without having read the first. There were also many loose ends in this story, which will probably get tied up in the third and final book, to be published in September 2016. Kathleen Fuller has created an interesting community of families in Birch Creek, and if you like Amish fiction, you may enjoy seeing them sort through their unusual problems and circumstances.
An Unbroken Heart An Amish of Birch Creek novel #2 By Kathleen Fuller Joanna Schrock's life is changed in an instant. Her parents are gone. She's scarred. And it's her fault - she knows it. If she hadn't been arguing with her parents about Andrew and her desire to marry their buggy might have somehow avoided the car that hit them. She is empty inside. She is plagued by by her guilt and her dreams. Will she ever find the joy she used to have? Or did it die when her body was broken? When Andrew finally asks Joanna to be his wife, she agrees because she's always loved him. But she secretly fears he is only asking her out of pity. How can he love her when she is no longer the person she use to be? She can't handle the tasks she use to perform and she has ruined her sister Abigail's life through her injuries. Meanwhile Cameron Crawford is living with his own pain and his fear. He did the unthinkable and now has to live with the guilt and the regrets. Until these hurting people can finding healing they will never be whole. But how do you heal when your heart has been broken? Sometimes it means stepping away from your dreams, while other times it is embracing them only on God's time and not our own. Is Joanna suppose to give up her dreams of Andrew? She must figure this out and soon before she makes a mistake that she can't walk away from. I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.
An argument, a tragic loss, regret, love and finding your way back to God and those who love you….it’s all in An Unbroken Heart. You’ll want to pick up this second book in the Amish of Birch Creek series and read Joanna Shrock’s story. You’ll be glad you did.
An Unbroken Heart is my favorite book written by Kathleen Fuller that I have read so far. I thought is was well written with a few gut wrenching and unexpected events. I think this book is a must read. 5 plus stars.
An Unbroken Heart is Kathleen Fuller's second novel in the Amish of Birch Creek series. This time Sadie's sister, Joanna Schrock's story is told. Joanna is still on the mend after a tragic buggy accident that took the lives of both of her parents. Joanna is getting stronger each day but her heart is also in need of healing. She can't seem to forgive herself for the words spoken to her parents the day of the accident and blames herself for the wreck. With her heart and body in need of healing Joanna is hesitant to believe that Andrew Beiler could ever truly love her, especially after he refused her proposal before the accident. Joanna struggles to hand over her heart to Andrew and finds herself drifting farther away from both him and her faith along the way. Andrew also struggles with the absence of his father and it has affected his relationship with Joanna. His internal reservations have hindered him in the past, but his love for Joanna stayed strong and was only strengthened after the wreck. Can Joanna and Andrew find the guidance, strength and hope that will not only bring them together but heal both of their hearts from hurt? Will they trust that God has only good things in store for them and that He can heal all of the broken places in their lives? Kathleen Fuller has done a fantastic job of weaving together two stories of healing and second chances. She has crafted a story that pulls you in right from the start. Fuller also weaves in Cameron's story, a young man with a tough past and an even tougher situation on his hands since he fled the scene of the accident after unintentionally hitting the Schrock's buggy. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I will say that the themes of forgiveness and compassion came through so beautifully with Joanna and Cameron as well. All in all I definitely recommend this book. It is woven together with precision and beauty, and is a heartwarming story of God's redemption. Thank you to the Fiction Guild for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review!
I received this book for an honest review from The Fiction Guild. It is a wonderful story about a young woman who when she was in school use to be picked on and teased by the other children and the one young man who stood up for her Andrew was her hero and when she got older it was also the man she was falling in love with. They were courting and she proposed but he got scared and the next day she told her parents she wanted to get married and they stated that she was to young while fighting in the buggy on the way to the orchard to get apples to sell at their grocery story they were hit by a truck and her parents were killed and she was badly injured. Andrew tried seeing Joanna at the rehab but she wouldn't see him and then he proposed and she turned him away. When she got home she had to build up her strength again to be able to walk without use of her crutches, help her sisters and new brother in law and find her way again. Andrew proposes again and she accepts but she thinks he is only doing it out of pity and on their wedding day she gets scared. They have to find their way back to each other and deal with not knowing how hit the buggy and killed her parents.
This is book two in, An Amish of Birch Creek, but can also be read as a stand alone. I didn't get to read A Reluctant Bride, but would love to. An Unbroken Heart is a wonderful story of forgiveness in many different aspects. Like separate threads on a loom each persons story begins to weave together until it all comes together, creating a picture that is unique and wonderfully made. Joanna is a strong woman, but needs to discover that for herself after a buggy accident that changes her life. I cried over Cameron and how he finds Grace and Mercy from God and from Joanna. I look forward to book three in this series. Kathleen Fuller doesn't disappoint as she has penned another winner. The characters are easy to identify with and to think of long after you have finished. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild, and I have done that.
I was so excited to receive a book authored by Kathleen Fuller. I love Kathleen's writing...and somehow missed the fact that she wrote a brand new Amish novel. This is a story of longings....longing to undo said words, longing to go back to the way it was before, the longing to heal. As I read this story my heart broke for Joanna. She and her parents were arguing, well, Joanna was arguing and then CRASH! A buggy accident that killed both her parents and left Joanna wounded. It seems that when the accident happened, something also happened to Joanna. She no longer cared. Before she loved Andrew Beiler but now she just doesn't care. Joanna learns life lessons and lessons of faith. Of course, she is human (and Kathleen writes this so well) and she comes to a place where she must make a "trust" decision. Love, forgiveness, and forgiving make this one great read. Oh, and Joanna is Amish. Loved this story! *This book was provided for review by The Fiction Guild*
Although this is book two in a series, An Unbroken Heart can be read and understood without having previously read book one, A Reluctant Bride. I have read book one and definitely recommend that wonderful story, so I really enjoyed returning to the families and communities of Birch Creek. An Unbroken Heart is a very good addition to the series and deals with hurt, pain, love, uncertainty, and the issue of self-worth. I really liked Joanna and Andrew even though they both handled certain things badly and made some poor decisions in how they dealt with each other. It was hard to watch them as they floundered through their relationship, but it was a very heartfelt and interesting emotional journey that they each needed to take. The side story with Cameron was also very good and pulled at my heartstrings. I’m looking forward to reading book three in the series when it releases and can’t wait to see what path the author has for Abigail, the third sister in the series. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.
An Unbroken Heart by Kathleen Fuller is the second book in her Amish in Birch Creek Series. Let me just say...It was amazing! I absolutely loved this book! The author has a talent of making the reader feel the emotions of the characters in her story. I felt their love, fear, pain, and guilt. I was in tears at one point towards the end of the book. To me, this was every bit as good as the first book. It left me wanting more from this fictional family that I have come to love. I highly recommend this book! *I was given this book by the publisher for my honest review, which I have given.
An Unbroken Heart by Kathleen Fuller is the second book in An Amish of Birch Creek series. Joanna Schrock was in a buggy accident with her parents. Her parents did not make it and Joanna has a long recovery ahead of her. Joanna is especially upset because she was arguing with her parents at the time of the accident (about wanting to marry Andrew Beiler). Joanna broke her pelvis and has a severe laceration on her cheek. It will be a long recovery. Andrew was so upset when he heard about the accident. When he visits Joanna in the rehabilitation center, he proposes. Andrew could not imagine his life without Joanna. Joanna accepts and it is full speed ahead to the wedding. Joanna has doubts, but she does not voice them aloud to anyone. Then when she starts to walk down the aisle, Joanna collapses. She tells Andrew that she cannot marry him. Joanna realizes that she was not ready and this helps her recovery. However, Joanna still loves Andrew. Will she be able to convince him of her love and get his forgiveness? What lessons will Joanna learn on her journey? An Unbroken Heart was not as good as the first book in An Amish of Birch Creek. I was not fond of Joanna (her attitude got on my nerves after a short time). I found her to be extremely immature, full of self-doubts, and she had trouble communicating her thoughts and feelings (which leads to confusion and conflict). An Unbroken Heart can be read as a stand-alone novel (but the first novel is really good). An Unbroken Heart is an easy to read book (the author has a nice writing style) that can be finished in just a few hours (it contains 299 pages). An Unbroken Heart is a Christian novel, but it is not over-the-top (or in your face). The book does contain a good message about forgiveness. I give An Unbroken Heart 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was a middling novel (satisfactory or okay). I am, though, looking forward to the next book in An Amish of Birch Creek series which will tell Abigail’s story (the last sister). I received a complimentary copy of An Unbroken Heart from NetGalley and BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.