heartmostcertainI was scrolling through Facebook one day when I saw an author’s post – she was giving away a few copies of her new book to a random number of folks who commented on her post – and as any avid reader would do, I commented.  A little while later, I was tagged in a post listing all the winners…and boy, was I glad to be among them!  A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears was one of my favorite books read in 2016!

As with most Christian historical novels, there is a love story and then there is a spiritual theme.  I loved how these aspects played out in A Heart Most Certain!  The love story began with a young woman who was anxious to prove herself to her future mother-in-law.  Maybe determined would be a better word for it?  Well, the man she was sent to collect a donation from was not easily convinced of the need to part with his money; but she was persistent and equally rewarded.  You see, Nicholas Lowe was a man known for holding tightly to his pocketbook and never, ever had he ever donated to the Teaville Moral Society…or his own church, to boot!  Yet, Nick wasn’t your average tightwad.  He wanted to teach Miss King a lesson, and decided to do so by granting her three wishes.

Three wishes.

How romantic, eh?  These wishes led to hiding their identity and social standing to give to the poor, making plans to set-up a library for the town and helping women escape the red light district (or, giving to the needy there). With the reality of how many people lived under dire circumstances and without hope in the forefront of Nick and Lydia’s adventures, you can imagine the attraction between the two wasn’t fast-paced.  Their minds were on other things, not to mention that Lydia still had an understanding with Sebastian, so things were confusing at best.  As time went on and Lydia’s story unfolded, it was almost like a historical fairytale.  He was the rich bachelor no one could catch and she the poor girl who was going to be forced to marry a man she didn’t love (a.k.a. Sebastian) so her family wouldn’t be tossed out on the street.  As “practical” as the characters were, the whole book had that sense of “too good to be true” factor to it that kept you turning the page to see what happened.  Yet, the spiritual theme was so strong it didn’t feel unrealistic.  When an author can accomplish that, you just sigh in satisfaction.  I’ll let you read the book to find out for yourself how it ended, but until then, here are some quick facts about the book…

Setting…

1905 – Southeast, Kansas

Characters…

Lydia King – Daughter of an abusive gambler and sick mother who was nearing the end of her life; in need of a future, and the politician courting her was her best bet.  Unfortunately, he (Sebastian) had a mother who needed to be impressed.  As head of the Teaville Moral Society, Sebastian’s mother sent Lydia on a wild goose chase of securing a donation from the town’s richest man and probably its greatest tightwad.  Desperate to please yet caught between what she wants and what she needs to do, Lydia must choose what she will do with her life…marry a man she doesn’t love for financial security?  Or, strike out on her own as the town librarian and live alone because she can’t have the man she loves?

Nicholas Lowe – Teaville’s richest bachelor, widower and Secret Santa so to speak.  No other man did more good and received no credit for it…on purpose.  Then again, no one in Teaville hated hypocrisy more than Nick.  Maybe that’s why he stayed away from church and tithing and gave in secret?  In addition, Nick was distrustful of women because of how the relationship with his dying wife ended, yet, God had changed his heart enough that he wanted to help women no one else would bother with.  If anyone found out, it would ruin his reputation…but in the end, he would be more concerned about them than himself.

Bridging Historical with Modern Life…

What motivates you to do good works?  As I read Lydia and Nick’s story, this question kept coming up and I think it’s one of the most important aspects anyone can take away from this book.  I remember finishing the chapter where Lydia went to her pastor’s wife for help and discovered that the lady she looked up to for so long was taking a break from “doing good works” to focus on her relationship with Christ; this lady admitted that all the good things she had done in the past were done for the wrong reasons.  She wanted to rectify that.  At that point, I think Lydia felt confused.  Was everyone doing good things for wrong reasons?  Was there not one person she could depend on?  I think a lot of people feel the same emotions today, and for me, that’s what made this book click.  Watching fictional characters grow and play out their beliefs can help you understand why you make the decisions you do, and more importantly, learn to make better ones each day.

Conclusion:  The number one reason why I loved “A Heart Most Certain” was simply this – the story.  Melissa Jagears wrote a story that was so unique, I couldn’t predict what would happen next; it was enjoyable; I smiled as the characters experienced joys, disappointments and situations that would eventually cause Lydia and Nick to fall in love; and finally, a spiritual theme that isn’t written about often in Christian fiction, but was done here, very well.  This novel will be a favorite of mine for a long time, if you can, I highly recommend you find yourself a copy!  Five stars!

Recommended for…

Anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction with a twist of pauper to princess who caught the attention of a rich, yet godly, man.  Also, I would suggest this book to someone who wants a deep theme about good works and when such works make and do not make the desired effect.

Purchase…

From Amazon – Paperback or Kindle

Author: lynnschronicles

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