Title: The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer
Banister Falls Series Book Two
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 317 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.
Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.
Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.
The Hearts We Mend is the second heartfelt installment in Kathryn Springer’s delightful Banister Falls series. It is another emotional novel of healing and while it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the entire series.
Evie Bennett is putting the finishing touches on her son Cody’s upcoming wedding when she is dismayed to discover the church’s regular custodian has been called away on a family emergency. She is even more distraught when she realizes his temporary replacement, Jack Vale, is the man she and her friend Gin previously met under rather inauspicious circumstances while delivering groceries to someone in need. A newcomer to town, Jack is a bit of an enigma and Evie is a little nervous around the handsome but rough around the edges handyman. There is much more to Jack than meets the eye and the pair form an unlikely friendship. Evie and Jack are surprised to discover their feelings run deeper than friendship but are either of them ready for a romantic entanglement?
Evie is definitely at a crossroads in her life. Long widowed, the main focus of her life has been her son and now that Cody is moving on to the next stage of his life, she is feeling a little lost and lonely. She is intrigued by Jack but he so different from anyone she knows, she is uncertain what, if any, place he has in her life. Quickly realizing she might have misjudged him, Evie is surprised to discover he has a strong faith and a very open and giving heart. She soon realizes she is attracted to Jack and she is willing to explore the possibility of a future with him.
Jack has put his wild days long behind him and his strong faith guides him as he helps others in need. He has collected a rather motley assortment of friends and he opens both his home and his heart to them (and anyone else in need). He is only planning on staying in town temporarily while he helps his troubled brother Travis and sister-in-law Cheryl get back on their feet. He is hoping that Travis is finally going to keep a job and maintain his sobriety but sadly, this is not the case. After the two end up in trouble, Jack becomes temporary guardian for his young niece Lily and his life becomes further entwined with Evie’s when her daughter-in-law becomes Lily’s caregiver.
One of the most enjoyable aspect of reading an novel by Kathryn Springer is her characters and their relationship with God. Her characters are ordinary everyday people with messy lives. They make mistakes. They make questionable decisions. Their families are imperfect. And yet, they still find love, acceptance and forgiveness through God’s love. Their faith might sometimes falter, but they have confidence that God will guide them to the right path. Sometimes that path is not what they expected, but they trust that everything will work out in the end. In The Hearts We Mend, both Evie and Jack discover that God’s plan is definitely not what they expected, but rather, what they need. Their road to happily ever after is not always smooth, but it is a healing journey that makes them stronger as a couple and as Christians.
Like the previous installment in the Banister Falls series, The Hearts We Mend touches on some very tough, true to life subject matter. Kathryn Springer handles these topics with sensitivity and she never downplays the difficulties associated with these issues. The storyline has depth and the faith aspect of the novel is subtle and enriches the overall plot. The characters are complex and richly developed with realistic strengths and weakness that are easy for readers to relate to. An absolutely marvelous addition to the Banister Falls series that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a sweet romance with a realistic storyline.