Windmill Point, Michigan
Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?
After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper--even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?
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Hearts Made Whole
By Jody Hedlund
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2015 Jody Hedlund
All rights reserved.
Windmill Point Lighthouse Michigan, May 1865
A distant flash of lightning crisscrossed the darkening skies of the west, followed by the call of a nearby loon. "I don't think you should set out." Caroline Taylor clutched her shawl tighter against a cool gust that wrestled with it. "The storm's coming fast."
Her father shoved the rowboat across the gravelly shore of Lake St. Clair. "We'll be fine," he said over his broad shoulder. "We'll beat the storm. Besides, I've crossed this lake in more storms than I can count."
The old doctor already waited on a bench inside the cutter, clasping his top hat and fighting with the wind to keep it on his head. "I can't stay any longer, Caroline," the doctor said. "I've done all I can for your sister."
She wanted to blurt out that she knew that. That she'd been in Sarah's room when he'd examined her and made his dismal prognosis. That they'd all known Sarah wasn't getting better. That no matter how much they'd hoped and prayed over the winter, Sarah had only gotten worse. But instead of saying anything, Caroline merely nodded.
"Unfortunately I've got too many other patients needing my attention." Beneath the brim of the doctor's hat, deep grooves etched his forehead and seemed to grow deeper with each visit. "Too many young men ripped apart from limb to limb."
With General Lee's surrender at Appomattox a month ago, some of the fighting men had begun to return home. If reports were true, many of the soldiers who had made it out of the bloody war were injured, maimed, and only half alive.
Caroline's father gave one last heave, and the boat screeched against the rocks as though in protest of having to leave. Holding on to the bowline, her father limped on stiff legs into the murky water. His rheumatism was always worse when the weather was about to change.
Caroline glanced at the sky again, to the piles of dark clouds gathering in heaps on the horizon. Her lungs pinched. "Father ..." she began but quelled her protest by nibbling on her bottom lip.
The waves slapped high against his rubber boots and doused his trousers at the knees. His blue eyes, so much like her own, reached across to her tenderly. "Cast your cares on Him, honey."
His gentle admonition loosened the tightness in her chest only a little. They both knew she was prone to worry. It wasn't something she was proud of. But there were times when anxiety crowded into her head like a thick, heavy fog, blinding and choking her.
He glanced toward the keeper's cottage, where her siblings stood. "Mind Caroline while I'm gone!" he shouted above the wind.
Tessa stood on the step in front of the weathered house, her beautiful, dark wavy hair flowing like ravens taking flight. She had her arms around the twins, anchoring the wiry boys to the spot, as Caroline had instructed her.
Even though ten-year-old Harold and Hugh squirmed, anxious to be set free to get into their usual trouble, they were obeying Tessa and staying by her side—at least for the time being.
"We'll be good," one of the boys called, peering from beneath his scraggly brown hair that was overdue for a haircut. But Tessa didn't say anything. From the downward slant of her lips, Caroline could tell Tessa wasn't pleased with their father's admonition. At seventeen she'd made no secret that she was ready for her independence.
Her father nodded at the boys, his smile lingering over each of them. He'd already said his good-byes when they'd been gathered in Sarah's room earlier. He'd already told each of them he loved them, that he was blessed by God to have five fine children. There was no need to linger now and say the good-byes again. Not with the storm coming.
"If you must go," Caroline said, "then you'd best be on your way."
The boat was jerking up and down in the rapidly churning waves. Another flash of lightning lit up the western sky.
Her father took a backward step toward the bow, but then hesitated. "You know I have no choice in going. I have to find medicine for Sarah." Helpless anguish shadowed his face for the briefest moment, giving Caroline a glimpse of his inner turmoil at having to watch his sweet young daughter suffer day in and day out.
"I'll be praying you find something," she said, knowing he would need all the prayers they could offer. Medicine of any kind was in short supply due to the demands of the war. The closest town to their isolated lighthouse, Grosse Pointe, had run out of even the most basic medicine long ago. And her father had been forced to search the backstreets of Detroit on more than one occasion in recent months.
The war may have ended, but their battles were far from over.
"I love you, Caroline," her father said, the lump in his throat moving up and down. "Thank you for all your help. I don't know how I'd get by without you."
She shooed him with a flutter of her hands. "I'm sure you'd do just fine." Although she didn't know how he'd manage either, especially the light. When his rheumatism was bothering him—which seemed to be most days lately—he couldn't get his legs to work to climb the tower stairway And she'd taken over lighting the lantern on all but a rare day.
He heaved himself over the edge of the boat, the strength in his arms making up for the weakness of his legs. He settled himself at the oars, his muscles bulging through the seams of his jacket.
She had to remember he was an experienced lightkeeper and sailor, that he knew the lakes better than most. If anyone could traverse Lake St. Clair in a storm, he could likely do it with his eyes closed.
Even so, the airways in her lungs constricted again.
He dug the oars into the water and pressed the boat back against the waves. "Remember what I always say," he called to her with another of his kind smiles. "God is good—"
"All the time," she said, finishing the sentence for him.
He strained against the waves, pushing the boat in small but steady increments away from the shore. His smile was just as steady.
The waves crashed higher, sending water in a rushing cascade toward her boots and forcing her to retreat from the shoreline. She drew in a deep breath, the brisk wind bringing the scent of the wet arrow grass and cattail that grew along the lake and overpowering the aroma of the newly bloomed Indian paintbrush.
If only she didn't worry so much ...
But in the years since her mother had died, as the oldest child she'd fallen into a motherly role with her family. As her father's joints had continued to stiffen with pain, she'd gradually shouldered his work too.
She hadn't minded. In fact, she loved taking care of the lighthouse for her father. It was one of the many duties she relished.
Yet there were times when she half agreed with her father that perhaps she'd had to bear too much too soon in her short life. At twenty, she couldn't remember a time when she'd ever had the freedom to be a child, to play, to experience life without worries—like the twins did.
With each stroke of the oars her father propelled the boat farther out on the lake, steering it toward the wide mouth of the Detroit River where hopefully he would meet calmer passage.
She cast another glance at the ominous black clouds. Even though it was only midday, the descending darkness was like that of eventide. She would need to climb the tower steps and crank up the lantern during the storm. The light would not only help her father but all the many vessels sailing across Lake St. Clair in their journey from Lake Huron to Lake Erie.
For a long moment, however, she remained motionless on the shore, her eyes fixed upon the tiny boat bouncing against the whitecaps.
She watched and waited ...
Until finally her father lifted his hand and waved.
Warmth stole into her heart. She rose to her tiptoes and stretched her arm in a wave back to him. In spite of her worry, she smiled at their tradition, one that she'd shared with her father since she'd been a little girl just learning to walk.
With a long last wave she forced herself to spin around. The keeper's dwelling and the tower stood less than fifty feet from the shore and would have made a picturesque sight any other spring day with all of her flowers blooming around it. But with the gray chill, she was reminded once again of the harsh Michigan winter that had only recently passed.
"I'm going up to light the lantern," she called to Tessa, who'd released her grip on the twins. The boys had already darted toward the shore to watch their father until he was out of sight. "Keep an eye on the boys. I don't want them running off to play during the storm."
Tessa gave an exasperated sigh, as if keeping track of the twins was life's greatest hardship. With their energy and penchant for mischief, the boys were a handful. But Caroline knew that Tessa enjoyed taking care of them, almost as much as she herself loved overseeing the lantern.
Caroline strode across the grassy knoll. Even though the green was lush and thick from the warm, sunny days they'd had lately, the vegetation and her flower gardens could use the coming rain.
If only it would hold off until her father and the doctor made it across the lake to the river. She reached the enclosed walkway that connected the tower to the house, and a burst of wind ripped at her shawl, wrenching it from her shoulders and plastering it against the peeling white paint of the stone tower.
Behind her one of the boys shouted, rapidly followed by the other twin's cry. The urgency sent a charge through Caroline's nerves.
She spun only to find them both ankle-deep in water, staring with openmouthed horror into the distance ... south, in the direction Father had rowed.
Her breathing ceased when she caught sight of her father's rowboat turned upside down. A scream ripped from her lips. "Father!"
She ran back across the grassy embankment toward the shore. Her feet felt wooden and heavy. Her skirt tangled in her legs, causing her to stumble. She careened forward until she stood next to the boys near the crashing waves, her heart pounding, her breath coming in wheezes.
"Father!" she screamed again.
As if responding to her frantic call, a head popped through the waves. Her father's broad shoulders appeared at the rounded hull. He was gripping the doctor's arm, clearly attempting to keep the man afloat in the churning waves.
He wrapped his free arm over the boat and clung to the keel.
"Hold on!" she cried. "Pull yourself up!"
The twins mimicked her call, yelling across the lake at the top of their voices. Tessa joined them at the water's edge and added her shouting.
Caroline knew that Father wouldn't be able to hear them, and that nothing they could say would help him. But she couldn't stop yelling instructions anyway. Every limb of her body shook like the branches of the nearby willow that draped over the lake.
A crashing wave swept against her father and the doctor and then over the boat, plunging them both completely underwater again.
"No!" She lunged into the water, heedless of her shoes and skirt. She had to save them. She had to get to them and assist them.
"You can't go out there!" Tessa called, splashing after her. She reached for Caroline's arm and jerked her to a stop. "You'll only drown yourself."
The waves splashed up to Caroline's knees, already weighing her skirt down. Her mind told her that Tessa was right, that she couldn't swim out into the lake under the current conditions, that to do so would only send her to a watery grave.
But she struggled against her sister's hold nevertheless. "I have to go to him!"
Her father's head appeared again, and he flung his arm over the boat once more, still tightly gripping the doctor with his other. She wanted to yell at him to let go of the old man, to save himself. But she couldn't. She knew he wouldn't. She knew he'd die first before he let go.
His flimsy grip slipped as the waves came up to choke him again.
Panic swelled in Caroline's stomach, and she found herself screaming again. Even from the distance, she could see that he was weakening. That he wouldn't be able to hold on to the boat with one hand. That he wouldn't be able to crawl on top of it either. And even if he did, how would he be able to stay there? Not with the waves and wind beating against him.
"Hold on!" she shouted again.
He held on by the tips of his fingers. But the weight of the doctor was dragging him down. Like most people, the doctor probably couldn't swim. And even if he could have, they were too far out and the water too furious to be able to swim back to the shore.
A gust of wind sent more high waves against the boat and the men. Her father lost his grasp again and disappeared beneath the water.
For several long, agonizing moments, she waited for him to reappear as he had the last time. She strained to see him and the boat. But when she caught sight of the hull again, he wasn't there. The underside of the boat was barren, and the water surrounding it empty, except for the doctor's tall black hat bobbing on the waves.
She stared at the spot. "Come on. Come on. Please surface!"
Next to her, Tessa had begun to pray.
The wind whipped at them. And for an interminable minute, they all stood silently holding their breaths, eyes trained on the spot they'd last seen Father.
A sudden crack of thunder caused Caroline's nerves to jump and warned her that the storm was only minutes from hitting. She had to find a way to save Father and the doctor before the storm unleashed even more fury.
"The canoe!" she said, then turned and started sloshing back toward the small boathouse and the old canoe tipped over on its side next to it. She'd take the canoe out to rescue the men. She could paddle by herself. She'd done so hundreds of times in the past.
Again Tessa dragged her to a halt. "No, Caroline!"
Caroline yanked her arm, but Tessa dug in her fingers.
"Don't you dare try to stop me!" Caroline yelled at her sister.
Tessa's beautiful eyes flashed with fury even as tears ran down her cheeks. "What makes you think you can make it if Father couldn't?"
The logic of Tessa's words sent frustration roaring through Caroline. "We can't just leave them out there to die."
Tessa pressed her lips together. But Caroline could sense her unspoken words. She ceased struggling and stared at a glistening tear that dripped from the tip of Tessa's nose, seeing in her sister's tears what she didn't want to accept ...
It was too late. There was absolutely nothing they could do to save Father now. There never had been anything they could do. They were completely helpless.
Caroline spun and looked out over the turbulent lake. Emptiness filled her vision. Silent screams flooded her chest and expanded until the pressure reached her throat. But her airways were too tight to let the screams pass.
The wind battered her, and the first icy drops of rain sliced into her.
Even then, she stood mutely, frozen.
One of the twins slipped a small, warm hand into her stiff one.
Lightning zigzagged across the sky, opening it, unleashing a deluge of rain. It pounded Caroline's head. When it began to run in rivulets down her cheeks, she finally let her tears flow.
Excerpted from Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund. Copyright © 2015 Jody Hedlund. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers.
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
Hearts Made Whole is a fabulous book! I love all of Jody Hedlund's books and this one is no exception. In this book, she tackles addiction, post dramatic stress disorder, and an unknown illness of the time. I really liked Ryan and Caroline. Especially, how strong of a person each had become. The story deals with quite a bit of turmoil, as well as, redemption and forgiveness. A great fabulous book! 10+ stars
I am thoroughly enjoying Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series focusing on lighthouses of the Michigan's Great Lakes. Jody Hedlund weaves a compelling story from historical records that pays tribute to the enormous responsibility undertaken by those who faithfully served as lightkeepers of these vital landmarks. I loved Caroline's fortitude and determination to continue her role in the face of strong and equally determined opposition. Her devotion to the lighthouse coupled with her fierce loyalty to her family make her a force to be reckoned with! Tension builds as intrigue, danger, and romance weave together in a tale impossible to put down. A beautiful thread of compassion and grace runs through this story, as well. This not only makes a great summer read but if you are anywhere near the Great Lakes, you will want to visit the area where these magnificent beacons pushed back the darkness. Don't miss this book and this series! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
After watching her widowed father drown, Caroline Taylor assumes his responsibilities as the Lighthouse Keeper at Windmill Point, and as the provider for her four siblings. Four months later, however, she is given notice to leave by week’s end. Although her performance is exemplary, her supervisor is prejudiced against her because she is a woman. Her replacement, Ryan Chambers, stumbles into her life – and her home - drunk, unkempt, addicted to painkillers, and haunted by his memories of the Civil War. Caroline faithfully keeps the light, while the new keeper sleeps. They come to an agreement in which Caroline works as his assistant and trains Ryan to do the job. Ryan is grateful for her help, and he finds strength and healing in work and in her family. Strange things begin happening around the lighthouse, putting Caroline and her family in danger. Caroline doesn’t want to leave the home and work she loves, but in order to protect her family, she considers accepting a marriage proposal from the local innkeeper’s feeble-minded son. I enjoyed reading this book, but as I was reading, it got better, and better, and better! It is historical, romance, and suspense - something for everyone! I highly recommend it. This is the second book in Jody Hedlund’s Beacons of Hope series, and while I recommend the first book, Love Unexpected, this book easily stands on its own. I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
I love this second book from Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series! It is a wonderful inspirational romance filled with forgiveness, hope and love. Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still struggling with the horrors and physical injuries that he experienced during battle. Finding a job that he could do in a remote location and on his own sounds perfect when he is offered the job of lighthouse keeper. Caroline Taylor has been helping her father for years with his lighthouse keeping job and thought nothing of it when she continued doing it after he passed away in a tragic boating accident that left Caroline with the responsibility of caring for her younger sisters and brothers. Ryan is surprised to find the family still living there when he shows up, but soon realizes that he can't do his job without help from Caroline. Not only does he need someone to teach him his responsibilities, but he needs to get emotionally, physically and spiritually well before he can take care of anything or anyone else. Caroline is drawn to Ryan from the very beginning. She sees the wounded man that he has become, but when he lets his guard down she can also see the strong man that he once was. She believes that he will one day be that man again. While working and living so close to one another their friendship soon turns to love, but they both have loss to let go of before they can open up their hearts to hope and love. I was given an ARC for an honest review. All conclusions are mine and mine alone. Lori P
This story is full of action, suspense, romance, treachery, and timeless truth. Although it is an exciting read, the truths about God's attributes, such as goodness, mercy, grace, forgiveness, patience, love, and hope make it a great story. Jody Hedlund doesn't beat the reader over the head with them but masterfully weaves them into the story using her characters to bring them to light. I enjoyed the interaction between Caroline and her siblings. Her 10-year-old twin brothers can stir things up quicker than she can blink an eye and get into more trouble than Caroline and her younger sister, Tessa, can get them out of. Ryan Chambers, who we met in the first book of the series, has spent several years in the Union army and is trying to recover physically and emotionally. Caroline has been the acting light keeper of the Windmill Point Lighthouse since her father's death, but Ryan has been appointed to replace her as the new light keeper. Dealing with the lighthouse inspector has caused some tense moments but Ryan's arrival causes tensions on numerous fronts. Attacks seem to be coming at Caroline from every direction and I got caught up trying to figure out the real villain. There seemed to be a number of possibilities. At times the reader even finds it difficult to discern who is being targeted by the attacks. I recommend this book as a good story with a strong message. I encourage you to read the books in sequence.
Hearts Made Whole is book two in the Beacons of Hope series. It is a fantastic book. It can be read and appreciated as a stand alone but is better understood if read as a series. The characters each face their own share of problems and together face more trials. There is love, alcoholism, drugs, illness, fire, faith, family, and offers of marriage. I enjoy all of this author's books and this one did not disappoint. I look forward to reading more from Jody Hedlund. I received the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
‘Hearts Made Whole’ is a historical novel set in post-Civil War Michigan at the Windmill Point Lighthouse. I very much enjoyed everything about this novel, from the setting to the characters and the story itself. It grabbed my heart from the beginning and didn’t let go. A storm was setting in on Lake St. Clair, and Caroline’s father had to take the doctor back to town, crossing the lake in a little rowboat. Quite a distance from shore, before the eyes of Caroline, her sister Tessa and twin brothers, the rowboat overturned. As hard as he fought to grab the boat, he was no match for the storm. They mourned and grieved, and Caroline took over the lighthouse duties. The lighthouse inspector brought not only the bad news that Caroline could not keep on as acting the acting lightkeeper, but that the little family, including her bedridden, ill sister, had a week to pack up and leave the cottage as a man returning from the war would take over the position. Caroline had nowhere to go unless she married the son of the local tavern owner and smuggler. When Ryan, the new lightkeeper arrived, they had not yet moved. He was in no condition to manage the position; Caroline offered to show him the job and he slept in an outbuilding for propriety. Tessa’s deceitful scheme was about to cost Caroline the man she was coming to respect and deeply care for. The explosive situation could also cost her and her younger siblings everything. Where was God in all of this? This riveting historical drama is even better than I had imagined. Caroline, Tessa, then Ryan were very well developed with the progress of the story. The tavern keeper, his son, and other townspeople were as developed as necessary for their roles as evidenced in their speech and behaviors. Caroline and her siblings, then Ryan, experienced their rich heritage of faith, but were very honest about their feelings and struggles with the Lord in light of their situations. When the novel was through, I wasn’t – it was hard to leave especially Caroline behind! The story itself demonstrated the historical time period, not in the dry words of dusty history tomes but showing with glowing word pictures the beauty and wild-ness of the location, the culture, and surrounding details. There was not a dull sentence, and every word was chosen well. The second in Jody Hedlund’s ‘Beacon of Hope’ series, it is easily read as a standalone. The title, ‘Hearts Made Whole’, sums up what is needed for the aching hearts and broken spirits of the protagonists, and reflects how their faith might be used. It was easy to be swept away to the lighthouse, see the value of women at that time and the expectations on those as the country struggled to recover from the war. It is not, however, predictable; various plot twists change the landscape of the story with stunning intensity. I highly recommend this admirable, exciting novel to women who appreciate Christian historical fiction of the time period, strong women protagonists, romance, and even mystery. It is one of the best Christian historical dramas I read in 2015, and one that I could absolutely enjoy again. With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
At this point it is a given that I will devour anything Jody Hedlund publishes and her new Beacons of hope series is no exception. For some reason I always seem to be start reading a series with the middle book but that was not a problem. Each of these beautiful stories can stand alone with only a little reference to the previous works. Ryan Chambers is a beautifully flawed character who is looking to start his life over and make amends for past mistakes. When he discovers light keeper jobs are being offered to injured war veterans he sees the perfect opportunity. Caroline Taylor, after the death of her father, has been masterfully running the Windmill Point Lighthouse but soon finds herself being forced from the job she loves because of her gender. This is a touching story of healing and second chances told through captivating writing and in a setting I had never really given much thought to. Tessa was such a fun character and I truly felt sad for her as she learned from her mistakes just a little too late but bravely faced the consequences of her actions. I am truly happy she has her own installment of this series as well. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *
Jody Hedlund can always be counted on to write riveting reads, and Hearts Made Whole is no exception. Taking the two love interests both with unimaginable personal lost and throw in the hero battling opium and alcohol and you have a heart wrenching tale. Taking place soon after the Civil War, Caroline Taylor has become the keeper of the Windmill Point Lighthouse in Michigan due to the unforeseen sudden death of her father. Now she must be the sole provider for her younger two sisters and two brothers. However, Caroline lives in a world before women’s rights and is told she will be replaced by a returning war veteran by the name of Ryan Chambers. Ryan is not a whole man and lives with the disfigurement the war brought on not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. Seeing that his addictions are crippling him to the point that he cannot perform his light keeper duties, he and Caroline make a pact. Basically for her to become his assistant and she and her family will remain living at the lighthouse cottage. There is an evil however that stalks Caroline and wants her out of the lighthouse for good no matter what the cost. As Ryan and Caroline begin to fall in love with each other they are buffeted by storms on all sides. Just when you think they are so close to their well-deserved HEA, Ms. Hedlund throws in a plot twist that literally felt like it bruised my heart. Oh! The angst of it all! Read this book if you must know. I so look forward to the next in the Beacons of Hope series. I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund is book two in the Beacons of Hope series. Set in 1865 in Windmill Point, Michigan, the book relates the story of a young woman lighthouse keeper, who has to take over the position made vacant by her father’s death. She is very expert and professional in her job, but some men oppose the position being held by a woman. She sees no other recourse for her family. Her mother’s death years before left Caroline to fill her role as mother to four other children. One sister has a serious medical condition, and another sister who is 18 assists as she can. Then there are two young twin boys. When her father unexpectedly dies, Caroline is left as their sole means of support. Ryan Chambers, Civil War veteran, is fighting his own battles after the horrors of war. His hand and arm injury has left him weak and dependent upon narcotics and alcohol. He secures the position of lighthouse keeper since the men in charge want a man in that job. Unknowingly, he arrives at the lighthouse, only to find that the family needs that home and income and that the woman is quite adept at the job. The story revolves around the conflicts and struggles that this predicament presents. Furthermore, someone is threatening the family with evil pranks and more life-endangering attacks. Ryan and Caroline are drawn together, but the hurts of the past and loss create seemingly insurmountable problems to overcome. I recommend this Christian romance that I received through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
I've enjoyed Jody Hedlund's books since her very first and this one is no exception. Written very well and with accuracy as to historical events, Hedlund proves she very good at what she does. What I especially enjoy is that she bases her books on actual characters in history. The spiritual content of this one was very well done. I love it when characters decide that they must depend up on God alone to help them with their problems.
“A distant flash of lightning crisscrossed the darkening skies of the west, followed by the call of a nearby loon. ‘I don’t think you should set out.’ Caroline Taylor clutched her shawl tighter against a cool gust that wrestled with it. ‘The storm’s coming fast.’” Page 7 This was a delightful read. Right from the beginning I was captured by Caroline Taylor’s life. Caroline, 21 years old, has had a hard life and recently witnessed the tragic death of her father. She has four siblings to think about now on her own—Tessa, 18 years old, Sarah, 13 years old and twins Harold and Hugh who are 10 years old. How will Caroline manage to feed and care for herself and her siblings especially when women are not supposed to be doing anything considered man’s work. Soon enters Ryan Chambers. Ryan is a veteran of the Civil War and although he is no longer fighting the war he still is fighting his own demons. He tries to leave his past behind, but poor choices and addictions leave him devastated. He soon becomes appointed to run the lighthouse that Caroline Taylor has run for years and years. This book is not only about these two main characters, but is about so much more. It is about God’s love in good times and in hard times. It is a book about trials in our lives. It is about redemption and our need to rely on our God who heals. “Caroline was tempted to cave in to the hatred. It beckoned her to release all the frustrations and disappointments she’d had with Tessa. The girl didn’t deserve her love anymore, especially after deceiving her and Ryan.” “But when had any of them deserved God’s love? They were constantly hurting and disappointing Him, and yet He remained patient with them. He continued to love them and call them His own.” Page 339. This book is about a God who continues to love us and call us His own. Enough said. Pick up a copy of this book and read. You will be taken in at the first page and will not be disappointed you sat down to read. I was given this book by bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.
It's 1865 and Windmill Point, Michigan is the home of Caroline Taylor. She tends the lighthouse after her fathers death. But women aren't allowed to have such roles so it only a matter of tome before the high-strung lighthouse inspector appoints a man to fill her role. But the problem is Caroline is a excellent keeper; Ryan Chambers is not. A veteran of the Civil War, Ryan is haunted by what he and his men did in battle and outside of it as well. On pain medicine and now a heavy drinker, he is unable to perform his duties. Thank God for Caroline. She is becoming much more then the feisty lighthouse keeps who was supposed to be gone by the time Ryan arrived. He also didn't except this attraction and neither did Caroline.... ♥ ♥ ♥ Ah! I loved this book. It's written from my home state of Michigan and it was so cool read about real lighthouses that might be able to visit someday. I feel in love with Ryan and Caroline along with Esther and the twins. I never realized how hard it was for ladies in the late nineteenth century. I thought that Ryan and Caroline's relationship did move pretty fast, though. Or maybe it was just that so much time past so quickly that it just seemed fast. Either way, I did feel like the elements, along with another part, make his book for readers 15+. I did love this book though and will be passing it around to my family and friends to read as well! Four stars Jody Hedlund! Will be reading more from you! I was given this book from the Book Club Network for my honest review.
This is a fantastic historical novel! This book can be read as a stand-alone story even though it is the second book in the series. There are a couple of brief references to characters in the first book but that is all. I absolutely loved both Caroline Taylor and Ryan Chambers. They both have enormous difficulties to deal with when they first meet. They each have a different way that they are approaching those problems though. Caroline believes in God yet she is so burdened with her responsibilities that she doesn’t really know how to trust Him to take care of her and her siblings. The heartache and uncertainty that she has faced already in her life caused me to just want to reach out and give her a hug and encourage her that she could get through the new problems facing her. Ryan has been wounded both physically and emotionally by the atrocities of the Civil War. These wounds have left him doubting God and his own worthiness as a man. His physical wounds were immediately described. As the story progressed we are then gradually told about the emotional burden that he is carrying. As trouble mounts and dangerous situations are faced they both need to learn how to turn to God for His help and strength. The steps that are taken by each of them were very clearly written and thought provoking. I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Mysterious and Romantic I have read and enjoyed Jody Hedlund’s work in the past, so when the opportunity came up to review this latest release, I eagerly snapped it up. I expect toe-curling romance, intricate setting, historical immersion, and strong spiritual content when I pick up one of her books, and those expectations were exceeded in this novel! Melancholy surrounded the opening chapters of the story, but it quickly turned a bit ominous as a mystery emerged. I didn’t expect it, but found it to be a fascinating part of the story and it provided several twists that I didn’t see coming. This added depth and complexity to an already fantastic plot and kept the action moving where it might otherwise have stalled. A female light keeper in 1865 was an unlikely heroine in many respects, but her single status and father’s death made it a necessity for Caroline. Her love for the light as well as her desire to provide for her siblings gave her depth and interest, while the loss of her job gives the story conflict. Ryan’s Civil War experiences and resulting problems make him an almost tragic hero who desperately wanted to do the right thing and determined to do so, even when it ended his own future hopes. I loved that both of these characters were essentially good but flawed; sometimes they just couldn’t help but do what they knew they shouldn’t, creating more problems for each other and themselves. Hope began to work its way into the characters’ lives through the spiritual content. I loved how Hedlund was able to insert strong spiritual themes into her writing, making them an integral part of the story. Many topics were addressed: God’s goodness despite circumstances, spiritual warfare, hardships bringing about blessings in disguise, and God’s perfect timing are all addressed with some depth. Forgiveness plays a large part in the novel, and I appreciated how it wasn’t portrayed as an automatic thing but a process that had to first be chosen, then extended to someone, even one who did not deserve it. This was in turn linked back to God forgiving us when we also did nothing, in fact could do nothing, to earn it ourselves. The romance was fantastic in this novel, though there were points were I couldn’t see how it could possibly work out. I liked that it was a combination of events, character traits, other characters, and past history that conspired to keep them apart rather than artificially throwing one obstacle after another at the couple. The distinction may be a small one, but it seemed so much more realistic the way that Ms. Hedlund wrote it. The moments they were together were beautifully written, and the prose was heartbreaking every time they separated. The ending never felt rushed; sometimes I get frustrated by the “and they lived happily ever after” endings that happen quickly and seem unconnected to the rest of the book, but this one took its time and slowly revealed the future for the characters we had read about for the last 300 pages. When I read the final page, I was able to sigh in contentment and immediately begin anticipating the next book in the series. I would highly recommend this novel to historical romance readers, but I think many historical fiction fans will find much to enjoy here, even if romance isn’t their usual genre of choice. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network in exchange for this honest review.
Hearts Made Whole is book two in a series entitled “Beacons of Hope”. Caroline Taylor has assisted her father, the lighthouse keeper, for several years with all of the lighthouse duties. After her father’s unexpected death, Caroline continues to faithfully fill the duties of tending the light. One day the district lighthouse inspector unexpectedly informs Caroline that she has one week to pack her belongings and move. Ryan Chambers, a veteran of the War Between the States, has been appointed as the new head keeper. This can be read as a stand-alone book, rather than part of a series. The main characters face daily issues much like people today. Ryan battles his reliance upon drugs and alcohol to ease the pain resulting from injuries received during the war. Caroline worries about where she and her siblings will have to move and what work is available for her to support her family. The book follows these and other trials, and in the end, both learn to trust God more. The problems Ryan and Caroline face are believable; the other characters are interesting as well. Also there is a bit of mystery because someone is trying to get Caroline to leave the lighthouse. Although this book had redeeming features such as learning to rely on God’s strength, not that of oneself or another individual, I was disappointed in it and have no desire to finish the series. There were more sexual content references than I expected in a Christian novel and for this time period (1865). About two-thirds into the book, the story took a ludicrous turn, in my opinion. It seemed very contrived. I have read Jody Hedlund’s early books and enjoyed them very much. I haven’t read her more recent novels, so I was glad to get the opportunity to read another book by this author. Again, there were worthwhile portions in the book, but overall, I was glad when it ended. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
Hearts Made Whole is a fabulous historical Christian romance written by Jody Hedlund. Although this author is new to me, I definitely will be reading more of her books! I began reading this book after I received it in the mail about 9:00 on a Thursday and finished it on Friday afternoon. I just couldn’t put it down! The heroine, Catherine Taylor, is a strong young woman who had been helping her father run the Windmill Point Lighthouse in Gross Pointe, Michigan on the shores of Lake St. Clair as well as helping to take care of her four siblings since the death of their mother. After watching her father’s boat capsize during a furious storm, and he and the doctor he tries to save drowns, she discovers that the District Lighthouse Director views her unfit to continue taking care of the lighthouse because she is a woman although she is doing a great job, and he informs her that a veteran of the Civil War has been hired, and she must leave. What will she do? How will she support her siblings? Carolyn remembers her father’s last encouraging words to her, “God is good all the time” and claims that for her life. The wounded war veteran, Ryan Chambers, arrives early. Although he is a disheveled drunk and pain killer addict who is haunted by memories of the war, Carolyn sees past all his shortcomings to see who he really is and could be if he turns his life over to God and heals both in body and soul. He makes an offer to Carolyn for her and her family to stay and be his assistant at the lighthouse, but someone does not like this arrangement and several strange and threatening incidents happen. This story line does not get dull and will keep your interest until the conclusion of the book. I received a copy of this book in a giveaway, but the choice to review it was mine.
Hearts Made Whole is book 2 in the Beacons of Hope Series. I have not read book one, and didn’t feel like I needed to in order to enjoy it. Hedlund did a great job of making the characters come to life. I felt their fear and their pain, along with their joy. It was really interesting that Caroline was the caretaker of her siblings. In most books the heroine is a young and free young lady, and it was refreshing that Caroline had responsibilities. I also really enjoyed that Ryan wasn’t perfect like so many heroes are. He had some things to work through and he had to learn to lean on God in order to do so. Hearts Made Whole takes place at the Windmill Point Lighthouse and along the coast of Michigan. Caroline had been helping her father run the lighthouse since he began having pain, and sees no reason to stop because he died. She takes great pride in her work and does an awesome job at making sure everything is taken care of. When her job is given to someone else Caroline’s life is turned upside down. Meeting Ryan is a total shock to Caroline, and they quickly form a friendship. Caroline realizes that she must teach Ryan how to properly run the light so that everyone traveling will have safe passage. When weird things begin to happen around the lighthouse, Caroline fears that her family is in danger. What will she do to protect those she loves? Can she protect her heart at the same time? Ryan takes the job at the lighthouse to escape his past and start over new. Little did he know that taking the position at that lighthouse will force him to confront his past head on. Ryan beats himself up when he thinks of what he’s done, or what he didn’t do. He is confronted with the man he has become and doesn’t like what he sees. Caroline is quick to forgive him and believes in him. Through her he slowly he learns that he can be better and get better. Who is trying to cause harm to Caroline and her family? Can Ryan escape his past and repay those he feels deserve it? Are Ryan and Caroline meant to be together? I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction. It has just the right amount of suspense mixed in with romance. I am going to keep my eye out for more books written by Jody Hedlund, and can’t wait to read book one. I know you will enjoy it too. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Hearts Made Whole***** book 2 Beacons of Hope series by Jody Hedlund Caroline Taylor loves running the Windmill Point Lighthouse on Lake St.Clair in Michigan. She started helping out her father when he ran the lighthouse and took over when he died. Besides keeping the lighthouse running, she also cares for her two sisters—one who is gravely ill—and young mischievous twin brothers. There is one problem however, it is 1865 and women lighthouse keepers were simply not done. The agent has informed her that she and her family have one week to vacate the premises for the new lighthouse keeper. Civil War veteran Ryan Chambers is still haunted by the horrors of battle. He finally found a job keeping a lighthouse in Michigan. He feels this is the perfect job for him right now as he certainly needs the isolation it will provide and maybe he can heal. From the start it is very clear that he needs much help in running the lighthouse and Caroline has offered her assistance. This book captured my attention from the first page to the last and I ended up reading late into the night. I fell in love with Sarah and enjoyed the twins antics. Danger brings some tense moments in the story and builds as the danger becomes evil in nature. I was trying to figure out who was responsible along with the characters. Parts of the story were heartbreaking and had me in tears. I loved the humorous parts, had me chuckling as I read. I like that the characters had flaws, just as we do, making their story believable. Also liked the spiritual element woven throughout. This story has so much to offer: mystery, danger, tears, heartbreak, joy, laughter, lurking evil, healing—physically and spiritually, betrayal, forgiveness, love and strong faith. ~I received a copy of this book from TBCN for my honest review~
I enjoy reading anything Jody Hedlund writes. Hearts Made Whole was no exception. I was quickly drawn into the character's lives from the very first pages. What I love about Caroline is her strong, mothering nature for her siblings. Family means doing what she has to do for them. She loves taking care of the lighthouse. It isn't a burden to her. After her mother died and her father got older she began to do more and more of both their jobs. She doesn't feel angry because of it. She does her daily routine with joy. Ryan is a broken, shell of the man he used to be but when he came to the lighthouse we begin to see glimpses of that man. The war has scared him in many ways. I never thought about how the older wars effected those who fought in them. They must have had the same types of nightmares as our men and women do now. Caroline learns to respect him quite early on and doesn't judge him for his shortcomings but believes he will be able to over come them and become whole again. We get to learn so much about the workings of the lighthouse and how important it was back then. Lives depended on the light keepers but there was still much danger and at times, death. I have always thought lighthouses were interesting and even beautiful, but I never thought about how much work went into running them. We also get a look at how challenging it was right after the war for those coming home to find jobs and how scarce medication and doctors were. I think reading is a great way to learn about history when you have an author who cares about writing things the way they happened in a certain time period. It has made me love history in a way I never did before. I highly recommend this book and the others in the series.
I have become a big fan of Jody Hedlund's work. So far her stories have been compelling and unique. If her name is on the cover then I want to read it. I enjoy her strong female leads and the unusual aspects of their histories. The first book in the Beacons of Hope series, Love Unexpected, introduced us to the exciting and challenging life of a female lighthouse keeper. Hearts Made Whole is the second book in the series and it centers around the Windmill Point Lighthouse. After the accidental death of her father, Caroline Taylor finds herself as the acting lighthouse keeper. She's very proficient at her job and even manages to balance it with caring for her four younger siblings. But the lighthouse inspector has nefarious plans to replace her so his underhanded schemes can continue. The Civil War has recently ended and the lighthouse board has decided to appoint veterans to vacant lighthouse keeper positions. Ryan Chambers is given the Windmill Point post which leaves Caroline and her siblings without a home or a source of income. To say that Ryan is a mess is an understatement. The war has left wounds that go much deeper than the visible scars. He needs Caroline and her skills to make everything work. But things begin to happen that are obviously meant to frighten Caroline into leaving. In what is becoming the trademark Hedlund style this story has a bit of everything. There is of course history combined with a complicated romance. The elements of mystery and intrigue speed the story along and keep you speculating as to who is behind the dangerous events. And finally the redemptive story of a second chance is the overriding theme that lifts this book above many in this genre. If you enjoy a fast paced story laced with the above elements then I think you will find not only Hearts Made Whole but the entire Beacons of Hope series a delightful read. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
All the trademarks of a Jody Hedlund novel are here - tender romance, poignant drama, and gripping suspense, all set within the framework of an interesting period in America's history. As with all of Jody's stories, my attention was captured on page one and never waned. There are a few instances of animal cruelty and while uncomfortable to read, they are realistic for the time period and a particularly villainous character, appropriately fitting into the overall storyline. Hearts Made Whole is #2 in the Beacons of Hope series, but easily stands alone. Jody excels at drawing from actual people, events, and locations in history and weaving together a fascinating story. Michigan's Windmill Point Lighthouse is the setting for Hearts Made Whole, beginning in the year 1865. Something that I'm especially enjoying is the historical background this series conveys about Michigan lighthouses of the past. Characterization is another strong point and I found Ryan and Caroline, as well as several secondary characters, extremely appealing. Ryan, a wounded Civil War veteran, is appointed lightkeeper at Windmill Point, effectively replacing Caroline, who had faithfully kept the light since the death of her father. Caroline is a strong yet feminine woman, dedicated, who unselfishly takes care of her younger siblings. Ryan is the flawed hero type that I love so much in literature - wounded during the war, plagued by inner demons, and with a hard-to-resist need for opium and alcohol to assuage physical pain and haunting memories. Lighthouses are always a strong draw for me, because I can't help but reflect on the spiritual themes they represent - danger, lostness, rescue, hope, safety, all epitomized in Jesus. Jody uses one of my pastor's favorite sayings, that "God is good . . . all the time" - and sometimes we just need to be reminded again of that truth. For a long time, Ryan sought relief from sources that could never heal or fulfill, just as we often do. It is so touching to see how the message of the beloved hymn, I Need Thee, is woven throughout. I loved the scene where, as Ryan looks out over the vast ocean and colorful sky, he first admits his need for God. I don't know what Jody has planned next, but we see a cross carved from driftwood being passed on through this series, and Ryan gives it to Caroline's sister, Tessa, toward the end of this story. Tessa's actions often made her difficult to like, but the promise of change is evident and I hope to see more of her. Hearts Made Whole is a wonderfully entertaining story that I am glad to recommend to all who enjoy historical romance. Thank you to Jody Hedlund and Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Jody Hedlund's Hearts Made Whole Michigan’s Windmill Point Lighthouse provides the reader with the works involved with running a lighthouse. The story takes place around 1865. The author presents the historical life in this period. The lighthouse keeper drowns trying to rescue a doctor who had been at the lighthouse providing care for Sarah, one of his daughters. His death leaves his oldest daughter Caroline in charge of the lighthouse and all his children. Caroline had already been helping keep the lighthouse but she is a woman and according to the lighthouse board not capable to be named lighthouse keeper. Ryan Chambers is appointed. Ryan is a wounded war veteran. Most of his hand is missing plus he has shrapnel in the remaining part of his hand and arm . Ryan does not know much about keeping a lighthouse. Ryan has a problem with opium and drinking to ease his pain. Can he overcome his addiction? Will he be able to learn how to be a proper keeper? Will he keep Caroline and her family at the lighthouse? Will he and Caroline be able to work together? There were unexplained situations occurring at the lighthouse grounds. Who is behind these happenings? Why are they happening? The author weaves together intrigue, drama, mystery and romance that flows effortlessly. Her vivid descriptions make you feel as if you are there taking part in the story. Her characters are well defined and very realistic. There was undeniable chemistry between the main characters throughout the story. The author addressed many social issues such as loss and grieving, dealing with chronic illness, PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction, gambling, cockfighting and prejudice against woman. But the core of the story inspires the reader with the constant faith in God providing and His goodness that makes a difference in life’s decisions. Thank you to Jody Hedlund, the Influencers, Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for providing a copy of this book. My opinion is my own.
Jody Hedlund has become a favorite author. I've only read 3-4 books of hers and have loved each of them. She is a fantastic Christian Historical Romance author. She will touch your heart, her books are well researched, the characters will feel like your friends. Caroline Taylor helped her father run the lighthouse. After a tragic accident its up to Caroline to run the lighthouse, do the repairs and care for her siblings. Ladies in the 1860's weren't allowed to hold the position of Lighthouse Keeper; however, they could assist their husbands. When the lighthouse inspector shows up he tells Caroline that she and her siblings have to be out by Friday when the new lighthouse keeper will be there. To their shock a man shows up shortly after the inspector leaves. He's inebriated and doesn't have any knowledge of taking care of the lighthouse. When Ryan Chambers shows up at the lighthouse he's definitely the worse for wear. He doesn't see anyone around and finds the nearest bedroom. The fun starts then. You will have your heart tugged on, you will enjoy the humor and may even have a tear or two (at least a sniffle) . Through the good times and bad Caroline's strength through her faith shines through. I received this book through the Book Club Network, the author and publisher. This review is my own honest opinions. I love the way Jody Hedlund's books touch my heart and leave me wanting more.