Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Write-Up: An Unbroken Heart, by Kathleen Fuller

Kathleen Fuller. An Unbroken Heart.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2016.  See here to buy the book.

An Unbroken Heart is the second book of Kathleen Fuller’s “Amish of Birch Creek” series.  The first book of the series is A Reluctant Bride.

I read An Unbroken Heart without having read A Reluctant Bride.  I still understood and appreciated An Unbroken Heart, but I recommend that people read A Reluctant Bride first.  That way, readers do not have to spend as much energy trying to figure out who the characters are and how they are related to each other.  Also, An Unbroken Heart refers rather hastily to an accident that profoundly impacted some of the main character’s lives.  That accident is covered a lot more in A Reluctant Bride.

An Unbroken Heart is about Joanna and her boyfriend, Andrew.  The book opens with a scene about when they are young and Andrew protects Joanna from bullies.  Andrew is reluctant to show love to Joanna, and Joanna is dealing with her own insecurities and temperament, seeing herself as mousy in contrast to her extroverted, assertive sisters.  When Andrew and Joanna are about to get married, Joanna breaks off the wedding.  She learns to identify her own strengths and to show love to Andrew, even though both of them struggle with outward displays of affection.

Joanna is dealing with the death of her parents from a hit-and-run accident, which occurred in the first book of the series.  In this second book, we meet Cameron, the one who caused the hit-and-run accident and lost his wife in that.  He is reluctant to turn himself in because he is the single parent of his baby girl, and what will happen to her if he has to spend years in jail?

Another element to this book’s plot is Andrew’s father, who left the family to join the English.  We learn more about his background and why he did what he did.

There are other plot-lines, as well, but they do not stand out as saliently in my mind.  One of them involves Joanna’s sister, Abigail, who is the subject of the next book of the series, which will be out in September.

This is a good book.  The book has enough plot-lines to keep it interesting, without creating a distracting mess.  This is a difficult and delicate line to walk.  Some authors, such as Amy Clipston, usually focus on one plot-line, and it becomes a bit overdone.  Others, by contrast, have so many characters and plot-lines that it is hard to keep track of what is going on.  Kathleen Fuller struck a fairly decent balance in An Unbroken Heart.

The book only went so deep with a lot of the characters, however, leaving me still to wonder what makes them tick.  The book could have provided more detail about the hole in Andrew’s life after his father left.  Still, the book did present characters with whom one could sympathize and empathize, and following their struggles was edifying.  This was especially the case with the book’s descriptive presentation of Joanna’s insecurities, how they influenced her relationships, and how she moved past them.  The book also provided other characters' backstories, with which one can sympathize.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.

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