Hearts Made Whole
This is the second full novel in the short Beacons of Hope series (after Love Unexpected), set in lighthouses around the Michigan shore. Caroline Taylor has been the interim lighthouse keeper since her father’s death and would like to continue in that role. But her family’s enemies are determined to drive her out by appointing a man as keeper—Ryan Chambers, a character from the first novel. Ryan has been through the Civil War and emerged as a broken man, maimed and addicted to morphine and alcohol.
Jody Hedlund is one of the authors pushing at the boundaries of inspirational historical romance, and I like the result. Ryan is far from perfect and struggles with his addictions throughout the story. Vivid instances of cruelty, compromising situations, and character outcomes that do not go in the expected direction kept me turning the pages. The spiritual arc keeps the novel firmly in the Christian sphere, yet is never over-emphasized. Sex, although never explicit, always seems to be just below the surface in Hedlund’s romance novels, a good choice for readers who like just a little heat.