Spring blossoms are bursting forth around here and I have a brand new release from Bethany House Publishers to share with you today! The Heart's Appeal, by Jennifer Delamere was just released this month.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own. Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.
An attractive tale of two purposeful young people who's lives become intertwined in love.
Steal away to Victorian England with this romance novel that attributes to a time when the world was changing and new, exciting things were happening in the world for both women and men.
London, 1881 | He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .
Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It's only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.
Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women's medical school. He's supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he's made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome? - Synopsis from The Heart's Appeal
★★★ Book Number 6/50 | The late 1800's were an exciting time for our world with new innovations and breakout ideology. Perhaps, more important though was the movement that was underway for women and their rights to pursue equality in a predominantly man's world. This likable romance weaves the lives of Julia Bernay, a young nurse who intends on becoming a missionary doctor and Michael Stephenson, an established barrister in ways they never imagined.
The Heart's Appeal is a moderate read with well researched medical and law terms that are easy to understand. Readers will feel themselves step into Victorian England and get caught up with these two young people as they embark on a journey of love. Readers will also enjoy learning bits and pieces about George Muller and Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, two real people who made a significant impact on society in their time.
I loved Julia's tenacity and determination. Her faith was beautiful and was what made me, as a reader, feel an instant connection with her as a character. She has a beautiful conviction to make a difference in the world while making her own way, with God's help, of course. I also enjoyed Edith Morton, who among others in the story, helps stand up for women's rights and strives for the equality of her profession among men. If it wasn't for celebrated women like these, our society wouldn't be as advanced as it is today when it comes to women's right and a right to choose and excel in their own profession.
Michael Stephenson is a charming character who at first, I believe, wasn't sure of his own convictions in life. As the book moves along though, readers experience the softening of his heart and his desire to make a difference in the world as well, which is a direct result of his budding love for this beautiful young woman. Their romance, as it grows, is touching and quite tender.
While this book is clearly a part of a series, it read well as a standalone. In fact, after finishing it, I'm looking forward to reading the first book, The Captain's Daughter, and the book that is to follow.
In my opinion, this appealing book is a solid three stars and I believe that other historic fiction readers will like it as well. My fondness for the story is because of it's historical aspect and the significance of the women's movement. The story flowed well, held my interest and had points of intrigue and excitement. In my opinion, I would have loved it more if the author had dealt less with the libel case and more with the struggles women faced entering the medical field. I would also have loved if Julia had been more actively involved in ministering right there in London, while I enjoyed the bit that she did. However, this was the first book I've read by Jennifer Delamere and so, I am looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer, especially in this series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.. Visit her at http://www.jenniferdelamere.com or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Heart's Appeal or borrow it from your local library.
Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below!