Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review of "A Home for My Heart"

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review: Anne Mateer tugs on heartstrings in "A Home for My Heart," a gentle love story. The characters and setting combine to create a tender plot. Although it is slow in places, there is enough conflict to keep attention and interest.  Not only is Sadie nursing a breaking heart and settling into a new job, but the futures of the Raystown Home and its children are at stake.  It was nearly impossible not to be moved by the plight of the orphans and think about real-life orphans of the past and the present. Sadie's love and care for her charges adds sentiment and reflects genuine emotion, which makes her a realistic character. I related to the doubts and challenges that plagued Sadie as the new Raystown matron.  At some point, we all search for our unique path in life, the home for our heart. Mateer shows that our right path may not always be the one we dream of for ourselves and it may be more rocky than smooth.

Mateer has a talent for writing love stories that don't focus solely on romance, and "A Home for My Heart" is an excellent example. Sadie's passion for orphaned children takes precedence over romantic love. The relationship between Sadie and her beau, Blaine, is already established at the beginning of the novel. Their love is put to the test when their plans diverge. Although the relationship between Sadie and Blaine suffers a rift that lasts throughout the plot, it allows their love to grow in a manner that is more emotional and less physical.  Because the story is told from Sadie's perspective only, it is hard to be certain of Blaine's emotions, but his actions demonstrate his love in ways that more physical scenes cannot.  I appreciate that Mateer chooses to build a deeper love between her characters and focus on many types of love, not just that of a romantic nature.

"A Home for My Heart" is not overly exciting or eventful, but its focus on everyday issues and challenges make it more realistic.  I have enjoyed Anne Mateer's other novels more, but this is a touching story that evokes emotion.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Summary from Bethany House: A sweet story of hope and love set against the poignant backdrop of a 1910 orphanage.

Sadie Sillsby works as the assistant to the matron at the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children, pouring all her energy into caring for the boys and girls who live there and dreaming of the day she'll marry her beau, Blaine, and have children of her own. But when the matron surprises everyone by announcing her own engagement, Sadie is suddenly next in line for the esteemed job of running the orphanage.

There's one glitch. The matron cannot be married. She must focus her attention on the financial, legal, and logistical matters of the Home. Sadie's heart is torn. Should she give up her plans for a life with Blaine in order to continue serving these children who have no one else? Does she, a young woman who was once an orphan herself, have what it takes to succeed in such a challenging career? And when the future of the Home begins to look bleak, can Sadie turn things around before the place is forced to close forever?

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