Can they help each other heal?
Joshua Gibbs survived the Civil War, building on his wartime experiences to become a small town doctor. And if he wakes from nightmares more often than he would like, only his dog Major is there to know it.
Then two newcomers arrive in Cowbird Creek: Clara Brook, a plain-speaking and yet enigmatic farmer’s daughter, and Freida Blum, an elderly Jewish widow from New York. Freida knows just what Joshua needs: a bride. But it shouldn’t be Clara Brook!
Joshua tries everything he can think of to discourage Freida’s efforts, including a wager: if he can find Freida a husband, she’ll stop trying to find him a wife. Will either matchmaker succeed? And is it Clara, despite her own scars, who can heal the doctor’s troubled heart?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Joshua Gibbs is single and still has nightmares from the Civil War. Frieda Blum is a Jewish widow, with no desire to remarry. But one good matchmaker deserves another, and What Heals the Heart is a fun, well-researched historical novel that beautifully imagines the result. The scenery is evocatively described. The horror of PTSD is all too real. Cruelty to strangers and the evils of racism are all too real, and all too relevant today. And medicine is a fragile skill. Author Karen Wyle doesn’t shy away from the language of the time, or the trials and tribulations of the people in this novel. The result is a story that feels deeply genuine and that invites the reader to deeply feel its emotions. What Heals the Heart is historical romance, but it’s much more than that. It’s filled with serious relevance, the shapes and sounds of humanity which time can never change, and the deeply haunting issues that won’t go away. It’s an enjoyable, well-told tale, a smooth and enticing read, and a really good book. Disclosure: I was given a copy and I offer my honest review.
3.5 Stars This is the first book I have read by Karen A. Wyle. What Heals the Heart is unique, and I want the thank the author for asking me to read and review it. My opinions are my own are not influenced in any way. What Heals the Heart can’t be placed in any one category. While there is a lovely romance between the main characters, its full worth is in the historical details of what it must have been like as a country doctor in the west after the Civil War. I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of this book a great deal. Clara Brook is the heroine, and she has recently settled with her family in the small town where Joshua Gibbs has his medical practice. She arrives around the same time as Frieda Blum, a widow who has moved there from New York. Frieda immediately take a liking for the doctor and is determined to find him a wife. However, Frieda does not believe is should be Clara and sets out to match the young doctor with a widow with a small child. This starts this tale of love and friendship. What Frieda doesn’t know is that Clara experienced many of the same horrors Joshua had in the war since she was a nurse. That gives the pair a strong bond. Joshua Gibbs is the hero and the local doctor. He works tirelessly without very much pay. Most of his patients pay him in kind. Frieda has him looking at his life and how a wife would make it better. He begins courting the young widow, although there is something about Clara that draws him to her. Even though he likes the young widow and adores her little girl, he still can’t see them together, and he’s not even sure he should wed. The horrific nightmares he had holds him back. When Clara assists him when a lad crushes his leg, and he sees Clara in a new light, but something happens that sends Clara running. While he mulls over whether he should approach Clara, he finds her and an older gentleman at the train station departing for the east. There’s something in Clara’s eyes that troubles him. Should he forget her or go after her? While the romance is not the focal point of the book, it does have a sweet happy ending. If you enjoy historical fiction and stories set in small towns, then you will like What Heals the Heart. It is an excellent example of small-town life in a western town. Happy reading!