Restless Hearts

[openbook booknumber=”0373874243″]


Fiona Flanagan is a young woman set to start a life far away from the family she has known, that has never really wanted her. She travels to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a place where her mother’s family was from, partly to get in touch with her roots, but mainly because she feels called to go there and open her practice as a Nurse/Midwife. Almost as soon as she enters the town of Crossroads, Pennsylvania she gets on the wrong side of the town police chief, Ted Rittenhouse. He thought she was breaking in to the house she was looking over to buy! Ted is in a tough place having to straddle two worlds, the world of the Dutch and the outside world, and he thinks this city woman, an outsider, won’t make it. Fiona on the other hand is determined to make this work and to make Crossroads her home, a place for her to belong for the first time in her life.

Ted Rittenhouse saw the relief that flooded the woman’s face. She’d obviously come up with a solution she thought would satisfy him.
       “I’m staying with a cousin, Gabe Flanagan.” She was so relieved that the words tripped over each other. She snatched a cell phone from her bag. “Look, you can call him. He’ll vouch for me. Here’s my cellphone. You can use it.”
       “Seems to me I’ve heard of those newfangled gadgets,” he said dryly, pulling his own cell phone from his uniform pocket.

At the urging of my grandmother I decided to give this book a whirl. Placed in my home state of Pennsylvania, and in the heart of Dutch Country where I grew up (well, an hour and a half away from my home town) the premise of the story immediately pulled my interest. Throw in the incentives of a contemporary romance novel with a Christian bent and I was hooked.

Being a Christian novel I wasn’t too surprised at the over all tasteful approach to romance that the book took. I was surprised at how the relationship was developed and about how the Christianity was worked into the very fiber of the story telling itself.

The relationship, history and background of the characters was all done surprisingly well. There was depth and detail and believability in all of these aspects and with the back story of the Dutch country, a place a lot of people are not overly familiar with, it was engaging and interesting as well. Probably just for the back story and background alone I would recommend this book to people unfamiliar with this part of Pennsylvania. For me, it was all old hat, but I did find words and ways of explaining my background that I hadn’t thought of before and will probably make explaining who I am and where I’m from a lot easier in future.

As for the Christian aspect of the book, it was woven into the story and instead of preaching to the reader it was presented just as a part of who these people were. It also didn’t sugarcoat it, it showed not only the good times of being a Christian but the hard times as well, the times when faith is tested and when trust and belief become paramount, even when all seems to be lost. There was only one scene that went a little over the top with the prayers and, for the first time, quotes from the bible, but I was able to forgive it as it gave important back story and set up for one of the main characters.

This ended up being a surprising page turner in a book which I picked up with no to low expectations and so ended up being blown away by the well written and engaging story I found. It is standard romance fair in that there is a couple presented at the beginning and they can’t be together for a variety of reasons, but since the set up of the characters’ stories and their believable and well rounded back story was so interesting it made up for the predictable set up with a refreshingly engaging story and resolution.

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