For all of those lovers out there who need a little bit of Valentine’s Day reading, I would like to introduce you to “Healing Hearts.” This is the latest title from Proper Romance (Shadow Mountain).
If you are a fan of Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters, then Proper Romance should be your “go to” source for romance books. The books are PG-rated (so no blushing in public during the heated scenes).
“Healing Hearts” is a heartwarming story that will make you smile. When Miriam arrives in Savage Wells, she believes she is there to take a position as a new nurse. As the town whisks her into the local chapel, she realizes she was misled. Doctor Gideon MacNamara has requested a mail order bride, who can also serve as the town’s nurse.
When Miriam realizes she is supposed to marry Dr. MacNamara, she runs from the chapel.
Even though Gideon’s pride is hurt, he cares about the town more and is willing to let bygones be bygones and hires her on as a nurse. After all, it was not her fault that she did not know this was an arranged marriage.
With Miriam comes many dark secrets. These secrets eventually see the light of day as Dr. MacNamara and the town gets to know her. Even though she starts off on the wrong foot by not marrying the good doctor, the town grows to forgive her after she saves them from an epidemic that spreads like wildfire.
And when her past comes back to haunt her, the town rallies around her to save her.
You will enjoy this story from start to finish. There are parts that will leave you smiling with pure happiness. Then there are parts that will leave you at the edge of your seat, wondering just how bad things really are for Miriam…what is she escaping? And when you discover what she’s escaping from, it will leave you horrified.
I always say this about the Proper Romance books from Shadow Mountain, but I really love the stories they publish. Romance books that leave me blushing while I am reading on the train or on the bus are just not the type of books for me. The good old fashion stories from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte where a simple kiss is all that is needed, as well as honesty at how one feels about another, are the perfect romance stories for me.
I enjoyed this story because I could see a little of myself in Miriam. When she says to the doctor that if he really knew who she was, he would find it a blessing he did not marry her, I know I’ve felt the same way time and time again. In a way, it’s rejecting yourself for the other person because you know they will reject you if they really knew you. It saves yourself from whatever heartache will follow.
Of course, in Miriam’s story, he didn’t care. But isn’t that what every person that rejects themselves wants? To be told everyone is broken somehow, so it does not matter?
One very important aspect of the story I found extremely interesting is insanity and how women were treated. It is only in the last few decades that we’ve treated illnesses differently. Women lost all individual rights and deemed insane if they had a seizure or had heavy or erratic menstrual cycles. They were committed to asylums to be forgotten by loved ones. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s were “treated” until they stopped showing any signs of life.
Can you imagine today being committed to an asylum and labeled insane just because you suffered from epilepsy or had a horrible menstrual cycle? These were the issues women faced back then.
“Healing Hearts” brings a lot of these matters to light. It will shock you to discover just how bad things were back then. Even though this is a work of fiction, what happened in asylums, especially to women, still rings true historically.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book. The love story will warm your heart. The part where you can’t stop turning the pages is when you discover what happened to Miriam. Stories like this will not only help you to understand the past, but to see that many of the issues that broken people face are still the same. It takes a lot to convince them that people will not hurt them and that they can actually trust people.
That’s the thing with this story, there’s proving to people that you are not what they think you are. You are better than their misconceived notions. You can change the way they think by being yourself. But it takes a lot to trust an entire community with your secrets that they will protect and save you and not turn you over to those who seek to do you harm.
Getting to that point that you can trust people…that is something that Miriam will make you ponder if you could do the same if you were in her shoes.[DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.]