***Warning: As always, there will be spoilers.
Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis
published by Zondervan (March 1, 2010)
Laura Foster (aka Lovie Lane), wealthy widowed owner of a refined boardinghouse in Glory, Tex., is running from her tainted past and ruined childhood in a tale set in the 1870s. Laura does everything in her power to overcome the odds and create a life free of shame and abuse. Partly succeeding, she is thrown off-kilter when handsome Rev. Brand McCormick, a widower, takes a romantic interest in her. Laura knows with dead certainty that Brand would never come calling if he knew the truth of her past, so she rebuffs his attention at every turn. But the good reverend just won't be put off. Both characters have much to reveal that will test their love, faith, and loyalty to one another.Genre: Western/American colonial romance, inspirational romance
Series: Irish Angels series, Book #1
Chantal: I'm done :)
Nath: I’m done as well :D
Ames: I’m still reading. I got a bit irked when I saw Jane Austen was spelled wrong.
Monroe: I’m done!! I didn't even realize that they misspelled Jane Austen! lol But then again I'm oblivious to so much at times! ;)
Nath: I wonder if it's the author who spelled it wrong or a typo during printing of the book or something. Actually, how does that work?
Chantal: It was not the printing. It was the author and editing.
I almost put it down when Laura asked God to forgive her. Wtf? She was forced into that life, and then SHE is begging for God to forgive her?
I want to know what happened to the other sisters.
Ames: I know what you mean, Chantal. SHE didn't set out to become a prostitute, it was forced on her. I'm about halfway through but I'll finish today. Brand's son just showed up.
Chantal: Oh! I liked him!
Monroe: Personally I think, yes, she was forced into that life but not to stay in it.. .but then again when some people go into that lifestyle at a young age their thoughts are tainted into thinking it’s ok. But she persevered so I was happy! :)
And YES I loved his son! lol
Nath: Well, it's a inspirational printing house no?
I think what she wants to be forgiven for is the fact that she remained a prostitute to amass money instead of walking away.
LOL, I liked all of Brand's kids! :D
Chantal: The forgiveness--that's still shitty. It's all she knew. It's not that easy to simply walk way from something like that, especially back then. Besides, I don't think it was that bad.
Ames: Well I would rather her do something to improve her life (which she did) than to have quit hooking as soon as she could without a back up plan. How many people back in the day would have helped out a former prostitute?
Chantal: Very true. Just walking away from if as soon as she stopped being forced to be there wouldn't have been a wise choice.
Nath: Oh, I'm agreeing with both of you. Her choice was logical and on some level, I'm pretty sure that Lovie understands it as well, but it doesn't mean she wasn't ashamed of it.
Monroe: I see both sides... whether she was forced into it or not she still wanted forgiveness for her sin...and you know I don't think she only wanted forgiveness from God but herself as well. She was ashamed of what she became. But yes she was pushed into it...
Chantal: I knew going into it that it was an Inspirational book, I just didn't think it would piss me off so much to read that asinine stuff.
Ames: OMG, why is Brand looking for Laura in whorehouse when he KNOWS she's not that kind of lady anymore. Yes, I'm still reading...LOL
Monroe: You know I really was disappointed in Brand for looking for her in those places. So what...he thinks just because he shook her world a bit she would break?!?! Ugh! I meant I wouldn't blame him for wondering but to actually go in assuming she was in those places! :o(
Ames: Totally doesn't make sense. Like yeah right buddy, she's going to run away from YOU and go back to hooking? WTF? GRR
Chantal: I know! I read that part back to myself, because really, there is no way he would actually think she went back to whoring... but he really did look there. :-(
Did you read the very back, the start of Megan/Maddie's story? I'm very interested in hearing how their lives turned out, but I don't want to read this genre again.
And did you wonder about her friends, I forget their names--the newspaper guy and healer--I kept flipping to the front to re check that this was indeed the first book in the series. We kept being reminded about how they fell in love... but I didn't read that book.
Monroe: I didn't read the back part about the sisters but I'll read the next book! I really enjoyed it! It had so many twists I loved.
I know what you mean about her friends. I was kinda wanting to know more about how they met, feel in love...etc.
Nath: I think perhaps the newspapers guy and healer love story was a previous book by Ms Landis with a different publisher.
Chantal: If it's not an Inspirational, then I want to read it.
Nath:It's published through Harlequin.
Chantal: Yeah, but it's published under their steeple hill (inspirational) line.
Anyone else going to read the next book?
Nath: I'm not sure yet if I'm going to read the next book or not. I guess it'll depend on the blurb and whether it is different from this one enough.
The thing is I enjoyed the writing of Ms Landis and the characters. Especially the kids, they were so fun :) The main storyline though between Laura and Brand, that was a bit too predictable. Jesse's appearance added some twists, but not enough. I felt the book was a bit short. There was a nice setting, but suddenly problem appears and is resolved almost immediately...
Monroe: I personally really enjoyed this book so I will be picking up the next one! =) and I loved his kids!!! Including Jesse! I hope he gets his own book!
Ames: You know what? I really wanted Brand to defend himself to the people and to the church board. Like WE knew about his youth and how he tried finding Sarah, but did he tell anyone else? I don't know, small minded people just frustrate me and I really wanted Brand to explain. That being said, I do understand why the author didn't do it.
I like the children too Nath. I like how they really wanted to get to know Jesse. When they ran away? Too cute!
Monroe: I wanted him as well but I thought :maybe he didn't because he knew they were small minded and closed off. That they only seen what was in front of then and that was their preacher having an illegitimate half native son. He knew it wouldn't do any good...maybe.
Nath: What I liked is the fact that Brand didn't deny it at all. That he immediately embraced Jesse. I thought Jesse's appearance was a nice surprise in the story.
LOL, with their bags! The scene where they locked Jesse in the barn - that was cute too :D I just like the whole acceptance that Sam and Janie had.
Chantal: I really liked his reaction to the kids. They had some hero worship going on, and you can tell he enjoyed it.
Monroe: Oh I loved the part where they ran away and then she caught them and the girl just started crying! lol It was too adorable!
You know one of my favorite things in this book was the simplicity of it all. Maybe this is piggybacking Nath saying it was predictable etc but I liked that it was in a way. I loved Brands innocent love for Laura and how he looked at her as a woman who could not only care for him but his kids. I loved that through it all Laura found her faith when she though God had given up on her and I though above all the book was very uplifting! :)
Nath: I get what you mean by simplicity, Monroe. To me, the simplicity came through her writing. It was very fluid and to the point. That I enjoyed :)
Ames: I thought this book was just ok. From a storytelling standpoint, a few things didn't make sense for me. First of all, Brand falling for Laura. I don't think we really get the WHY. I mean, he just made up his mind one day to start courting her? She'd been aloof before the events from the book took place so what exactly did he see in her? And then Laura running away. That really bothered me. It was the easy way out - for the author. And her stopping where she did with a crap job. What was the point of Laura remaining a prostitute to earn enough money to set herself up to run away when things get tough and go work in some small outpost as a waitress? I'm sorry, that's just wrong to me.
In the end, I have to give Heart of Stone a C+. It was just an ok read.
Chantal: I'd like to echo everything Ames just said. Although I give it a C.
Nath: Heart of Stone is a B- for me. I enjoyed the characters and the writing; however, the plot was simply too predictable. Also, to answer your question Ames, I don't think Brand was in love with Laura when he started courting her. It was more like she was a good candidate to be a wife and a mother to his children. Not very romantic, but very true in that time. Then, he just started appreciating her more and more...
Monroe: I have to go with Nath...very predictable but enjoyable non the less! =) I gve it a B-.