About the Book:
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: Where the Heart Lives – Book 3
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5
Coming across unusual premises is rare. When you’ve read as many books in one genre as it feels like I have (not that I’m complaining, mind you), so many of the plots seem to resemble each other. This last novel in Robin Lee Hatcher’s most recent trilogy was actually a different concept and that made it special. Diana has had a tough childhood. Orphaned at only six, she along with her two siblings were put on the orphan train west. Unlike her siblings, Diana was adopted by a loving couple who gave her a world of love; she grew up spoiled, fell in love with the 20-something Tyson Applegate when she was only seventeen… and married him. It isn’t long into their young marriage Diana learns that Tyson married her for an inheritance and then… he walks out on Diana and his family. Now, seven years later, Tyson has returned on the eve of her planned engagement. Only trouble is, he isn’t willing to let Diana go and she isn’t so sure that Tyson has really changed.
It’s been forever since I read a novel by Hatcher and I have to admit, I’ve missed her easy, breezy style – this was one of those novels that just oozes an “ease” of reading. I can vaguely remember reading Speak to me of Love and from then on, I wanted to read every book she had written. The romance was dazzling and to my Austen-girl-loving-heart, the story reminisced of an Austen or Bronte-esque saga. Beloved is a sweeter, much more lighthearted story full of characters that are easy to like albeit flawed human beings. Instead of being full of historical details, here we are treated to a heartwarming picture of redemption and what it means to fully forgive someone whom you once gave your heart – and entrusted a future to. The style of the book pauses from the present nearly every chapter to visit the past through either Diana or Tyson’s perspective at some point in their courting or married life. It was an interesting way to share the backstories and each instance is kept short, something I appreciated.
Tying up all the “loose ends” was handled a bit too “neatly” for me however I know there are some books I’ve overlooked that solution in dozens of times; in particular, the convenience card is played by way of a “secondary” relationship turning romantic that was… unnecessary. It was nice to the siblings didn’t play any larger part in Diana’s story than they did, especially for this reader since I’ve yet to read the prior two novels (Belonging, Betrayal) and it’s by proxy that Beloved can stand on its own as well as being a nice, very easy to read conclusion to the trilogy. Balancing against some of the flawed concerns, it was pleasant to escape to a more mature love blossoming in a work of fiction; as a 17- and 25-year-old, Diana and Tyson were foolish but as adults, seven years later, there was really no sweeping gesture of love, just a “real” declaration that segways into an epilogue. If you like historical fiction that focuses on its story instead of details, Beloved is your kind of read. It’s a tender narrative that reminds of the importance of forgiveness.
Synopsis: Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for seven years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.
But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition—-she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.
Tony Kavanagh had been Allison’s dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials.
The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she’d misunderstood.
Now living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself.
As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma’s life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord? For a woman accustomed to being someone else’s savior, that will be even harder than it sounds. – January 2014
With thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.