22 January 2010

Review of Tales of the Heart by Loree Lough

Tales of the Heart
Loree Lough

From the back of the book:

Bridget's Bargain
When the potato famine of 1845 forced Bridget McKenna to flee her home in Ireland, she came to America to work as a scullery maid on a Virginia plantation. That was four years ago. Now, Bridget dreams of bringing her father and six siblings to join her in America. She also dreams of marrying a God-fearing man, and when she meets the tall, handsome Lance York, it seems her dream might come true. He's English, however, just like the cruel landlord who oppressed Bridget's family in Ireland. Could there be more to him than she realizes?

Kate Ties the Knot
Seven years of widowhood have made Kate Flynn a strong, independent woman who even operates her own dressmaking shop. But when her eight-year-old son, Adam, has a run-in with a burly shipbuilder, she realizes the necessity of some godly male influence. Adam starts working in a warehouse owned by John Joseph O'Keefe, better known as J. J., who looks out for Adam and feels a growing attraction to his young protégé's mother. Kate's emotions are as tumultuous as the ocean as she wonders what the future will hold.

Follow the Leader
The Civil War has destroyed everything Valerie Carter held dear. Struggling to come to terms with her emotional devastation, she accepts a teaching position in Freeland, Maryland, and her heart is gradually warmed by her students' affection. She also finds herself attracted to Paul Collins, a young widower with three children who has a childlike faith in Jesus Christ. Will Paul be God's instrument to free Valerie from the bonds of bitterness? 

My Reviews:
Firstly thanks to Whitaker House for a review copy of this book.

Bridget's Bargain 
I enjoyed this story. My great great grandparents had to flee Ireland during the Potato famine so this story was interesting to me. This book is centered in America but deal with Irish relatives back in Ireland and the reason Bridget is in America. She is there to earn money and sends some back to help support her family back in Ireland. She meets Lance York and all is fine till she finds out he's got english blood in him. She  associates the English with all the issues that affect Ireland. Which in many ways is true as the rich english landlords did oppress the Irish. We see the conflict in Bridget as she works through many issues to see if she can accept Lance who is of English blood but has never lived in England. We also see Lance work through many issues also.
I enjoyed this story.

Kate Ties the Knot
Another good story which to a lesser degree deals with Ireland. Kate is a widow looking after an eight year old. JJ is an Irish Immigrant who has built up a life for himself in this new country. He was a boxer which is one thing Kate has difficulty with. At the beginning of the story you see Adam in trouble with JJ and JJ offers a way out. He can see a bit of himself in Adam and in his way provides a good influence on Adam. Kate also can see this. Kate has alot of issues from her first marriage she needs to sort through. Add a local bully (of Adam and the other kids) and there are some interesting problems that happen. Another good story.

Follow The Leader
Set just after the civil war this is a moving and insightful story. Valerie is a wonderful teacher who has left her home after the loss of all she holds dear for a new start. Josh has moved back to Freeland after the death of his wife with is family back where they first lived.
Valerie soon has the kids loving her as a teacher along with many of the townsfolk. But lurking in Freeland is an evil and hate. We see some of the issues that came to be after the civil war. We also see some courageous displays of courage in the face of this evil. 
This book brings to life some of the ugly sides of men but also the courage of those who appose it. I would have liked to see more of this issue and how it was dealt with a little more but I still loved the book.
Would recommend it to all who enjoy historical fiction.

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