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About the Book
Sheriff Rex Truett doesn’t trust Ruby and doesn’t care who knows it. The keeper of Fairplay’s law and order makes it his business to find out why a stranger—especially a beautiful, rich, female stranger—would set up businesses, donate to schools, hire workmen to rebuild houses, and provide access to the best medical care. But when a cholera epidemic sweeps through the city, he is forced to reconsider.
Will Ruby have the courage to tell Rex her family secret? And will love or justice win in Rex’s heart?
I first read a Loree Lough book in my late teens or early twenties, when I was subscribed to Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line. I still have one of them, The Wedding Wish, on my shelf, in fact. So I was excited to read Healing of the Heart, one of her more recent releases.
And while I enjoyed it, there were a few decisions regarding the resolution of the story and the characters’ actions that made me unable to give this book as a high a grade as I wanted to. I want to be clear that I am recommending Healing of the Heart to those who like Christian historical romance despite a few personal nitpicks!
Healing of the Heart is centered on Ruby McCoy, whose father is a bank robber who is hanged early in the book. She spends the next few years spending all the money he left her and her mother in the towns he robbed, in order to assuage her guilt over her father’s actions. She has now come to Fairplay, Colorado, which is to be their last stop before she can move on with her life.
The hero is Sherriff Rex Truett, and he is a good hero. He’s smart, and initially has suspicions about Ruby and her mother because of their frequent traveling and ability to pay cash for a huge mansion in Fairplay. But eventually he realizes that behind Ruby’s money is a genuinely good heart and he begins to fall for her.
This is one of my problems with the book. Ruby is spending her father’s money to help people and while she thinks it’s to help others who have been hurt by her father, it’s actually because she’s a good person. Ruby, when the entire town and your family is telling you you’re a good person, listen to them! She spends a large majority of the book ignoring that her actions are motivated by her good heart, not guilt. It may have started as guilt, but years later it is because she genuinely enjoys helping people. And her insistence that she’s not good enough for Rex (because of her father’s career and what her father did to his), is one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction. Ruby was a little too self-sacrificing in my opinion.
Rex was a little too perfect and I felt he forgave two big secrets more easily than I expected for how he’d been presented as a character in the majority of the book. The romance had plenty of conflict between the hero and heroine so I felt the outer conflict of the cholera epidemic was a little tacked-on to try to make the story more exciting but I do not feel it was necessary. The story was interesting and enjoyable without it.
The city of Fairplay feels like a real place, with the setting excellently drawn and doesn’t merely serve as a backdrop for the action. The secondary characters are not simply there to prop up the main characters but all have motivations and desires of their own. I especially love Silas, who is Ruby’s “scout” and has become a part of the family.
I give this book 4/5 stars for the excellent writing, the detailed setting, the secondary characters who are not merely caricatures or cardboard, and the message of who is responsible for someone else’s sin. I took away one star for the lateness of the reveal between Ruby and Rex about what her father did to his and for how I disliked a few major aspects of both the hero and heroine. If a quick resolution or the characteristics mentioned above as part of Ruby and Rex do not bother you, you will enjoy the ending of this book more than I did.
Healing of the Heart is the third book in a series but they are all standalones. I will most likely try more books in this series and others available by Ms. Lough. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a romance that has a wonderful message about guilt and family, great secondary characters, and an excellent setting.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
November 22: Bibliophile Reviews
November 22: Jeanette’s Thoughts
November 23: Neverending Stories
November 23: Lane Hill House
November 24: Reviewing Novels Online
November 24: Christian Bookaholic
November 25: Christian Author: A.M. Heath
November 25: Redeemed Hope Dweller
November 26: A Simple Life, really?!
November 26: Moments Dipped in Ink
November 27: inklings and notions
November 27: Splashes of Joy
November 28: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 28: Daysong Reflections
November 29: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
November 29: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
November 30: Bigreadersite
November 30: Singing Librarian Books
December 1: Pause for Tales
December 1: Smiling Book Reviews
December 2: A Greater Yes
December 2: Genesis 5020
December 3: Reader’s cozy corner
December 4: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 4: Karen Sue Hadley
December 5: A Baker’s Perspective
December 5: Rhonda’s Doings
In honor of her tour, Loree is giving away her books: Secrets on Sterling Street series, Prevailing Love (3 in 1), Pricilla Hires a Husband, Lone Wolf, and Emma’s Orphans, a KJVER Study Bible, and an Abba pillar candle in a wicker basket! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a81c
Click here to purchase your copy.
About the Book
Raining Fools is the story of a second chance at love. It is the second book in the Madison Creek Bed & Breakfast series. I haven’t read the first book in the series but this works as a standalone novel, though you may appreciate the moments in this book between Ethan and Haley (the hero and heroine of the first book) if you have read the previous book in the series.
Ms. Castle is an author I have never read but I love trying new authors and second chance romances are one of my favorite scenarios (I have a lot of favorite scenarios). Bekka and Stephen, the main characters, had a relationship years ago that ended abruptly—though I won’t spoil the “why” here as it’s revealed early in the story.
I relate to Bekka’s struggle with what she wants to do with her life and career. She’s close to my age and I still struggle with the decisions I made for my job and life and if it’s the right one or not. That struggle forms a large part of Bekka’s narrative and it was easy for me to understand Bekka. She is also struggling against her brother Ethan’s desire to control her life, which I’m sure that any one of us that has younger siblings can understand the push and pull of sibling interaction.
It took me longer to warm up to Stephen. He is written as someone who nominally believes in God but does not consider himself a Christian. He smokes and drinks during the story. I appreciated his character arc as he begins to turn away from sin and lean on God. Stephen’s interactions with his mother are some of the best in the book and elevate Stephen’s character in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
I enjoyed this book while reading it, but the story did not “stick” with me after. It is nicely written and the characters are well-rounded and likable, but there was nothing in it that hit enough emotional notes for me to ruminate on the story and characters once I had finished reading it. I also found the “prologue” with Ethan and Haley quite jarring in tone when compared to Bekka and Stephen’s story.
Because I enjoyed the characters and the writing style, I will more than likely try another book by Ms. Castle. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys small-town contemporary Christian fiction with likable characters who struggle with what God wants for them.
I give this book 3/5 stars.
** I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Now she lives in her comfortable Texas home where she spins entertaining tales and enjoys relaxing in the evenings with her husband Bob, their children and grandchild.
Her favorite pastime, besides reading, is traipsing through her imaginary worlds in search of another story.
Find out more about her shenanigans over at Jackie Castle’s Story World: www.jackiecastle.com. There you can also sign up for her monthly newsletter.
Guest Post from Jackie Castle
I’m best known for my fantasy series, The White Road Chronicles, and I love the make-believe world of Alburnium. But as these stories have traveled towards the ending, I’ve decided to venture into a more modern world. I enjoy a good, clean romance as much as anyone else, and I love writing stories about communities where people band together for the greater good.
So, I came up with Madison Creek, a small town on the verge of dying out. But the people there aren’t ready to give up. They decide that if they band together, maybe they can revive their little lakeside town and make it thrive.
My husband is from Michigan. I’m from California. We met in the middle: Texas. He’s adapted quite well to the south, loving the hot summers, hot food, and well, he simply likes being warm. Though I miss my moderate California, I’ve also grown to love Texas. Whenever we travel up north to visit his family, we lament over to lack of flavorful food and the ability to stay warm. (Even in the summer we’ve had to wear winter coats!!)
We are often teased by his family for how we put two syllables into words such as fire, dead and y’all. (Yes, he’s been in Texas long enough now to have developed a bit of a twang). I don’t know how many times we’ve talked about moving up north to open a BBQ joint so there’d be somewhere good to eat. Except, we both hate the cold and I’m sure I’d never survive a Michigan winter. I spent two weeks up there once in December, and swore I’d never do that again. I mean, 4 feet of snow in one night? Good Lord have mercy!
Basically, that’s how I came up with Haley Madison, the blond Texas gal who inherited her grandpop’s farmland in Madison Creek, Michigan. Her life has been one big mess after another and she’s determined to take this opportunity to set things right. She’s lived on ranches for over half her life and loves to cook a lot of food for folks. (My family was always big on cooking lots of food at holiday gatherings, so it just seems natural.)
Haley ends up meeting Ethan Winters, who she calls the handsome Yankee that plays a violin. The first book, Snow Belle is about how they meet. The second book, Raining Fools, continues Ethan and Haley’s story in the background. But in Raining Fools, you’ll meet Ethan’s sister Bekka and his best friend, Stephen Gaines who have a history with each other that neither cares to remember, except those old feelings they had for each other refuse to go away. Bekka, though strong in her faith, is uncertain about what God wants her to do with her life. Stephen, a playboy with a troubled past, appreciates his friend’s strong faith, but believes God doesn’t care about the ‘little people.’ At least, not until a series of mishaps has him taking a second look at the Winters’ beliefs.
What I hope people take away from my story beside an entertaining tale, is that God loves them. That they belong to a kingdom that’s bigger than themselves. That we are stronger together than apart. These are themes that readers can find in my stories.
I have several more ideas for novels and novellas that will continue Haley and Ethan’s story while we meet various people who visit the B&B when they come to Madison Creek hoping to start a new life. My hope is that readers will come to enjoy visiting this quirky little town as much as I do when I write the stories. Texas might have its spicy food and natural ruggedness, but I do love Michigan’s wild beauty and kindhearted folks. I just love it more in the summertime.
November 3: Quiet Quilter
November 4: Bibliophile Reviews
November 5: Daysong Reflections
November 6: Proud to be an autism mom
November 7: Reviewing Novels Online
November 8: Janet Pecorella
November 8: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
November 9: Moments Dipped in Ink
November 10: A Greater Yes
November 11: Blogging With Carol
November 12: inklings and notions
November 13: Carpe Diem
November 14: Mom Is Forever
November 15: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
November 16: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
In honor of her tour, Jackie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a81d
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.