Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden

Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden

Sarah is one of my new favorite authors. She writes historicals, and I love her storytelling. Healing Hearts is another Proper Romance from Shadow Mountain. This book follows the novel, The Sheriff of Savage Wells, also by Sarah M. Eden. (By the way, if you're interested in reading clean romances, check out the rest of Shadow Mountain's Proper Romances. I enjoy this line of books!)

Let's begin with the summary:

A fan favorite character from The Sheriff of Savage Wells is the focus of this story about a forward-thinking doctor on the Wyoming frontier who sends away for a mail-order bride with nursing experience. 

Miriam steps off the train looking for a job, not a husband. She refuses to be wed, and Gideon is unspeakably embarrassed by the misunderstanding. Stranded in Savage Wells, Miriam has nowhere else to go and a secret that she’s determined to keep from everyone. She has epilepsy, a condition that other doctors had claimed was symptomatic of madness, a diagnosis which prompted her family to have her committed to an asylum. Miriam is afraid that if Dr. MacNamara finds out the truth, he will send her back to the asylum, a place that is little better than a prison. But Gideon is not like the other doctors she has encountered, and he offers Miriam the nursing position anyway. 

When illness sweeps through the town, Gideon and Miriam work together to care for the growing number of sick people. As they do so, their relationship slowly grows into something deeper. When Miriam's former doctor arrives in town to take her back to the asylum, Gideon, along with some familiar faces in Savage Wells, including Cade, Paisley, and Hawk, must rally around Miriam to protect her from a dangerous fate. And for Gideon, it might mean risking his heart one more time for a chance at love.

And now, my review:

This is a “mail-order bride” romance with a twist, which I loved. I didn’t read the summary first, so I was deducing, based on the symptoms, what the heroine faced. Well written! 

Our heroine longs for freedom as she’s just come from a prison. I found her plight relatable in some ways—she didn’t leave one prison to land in another. I sympathized with her and rooted for her right away.

The hero is caught off guard when what he anticipated happening is interrupted, in several ways. He remains heroic and acts nobly in spite of his disappointments. I love that he was a "forward-thinking" doctor. That gave me hope throughout the story, letting readers see what he thought. (Which didn't always match what the heroine feared.)

I enjoyed reading the medical aspects of the West in the 1880s. The research seemed well done. I learned men could have their female family members committed to an asylum at any time, for any reason, and that women didn’t have the power or right to choose and live in freedom. That might be oversimplifying it, but I was surprised (and irritated—ha!) to read about this aspect. On the other hand, it provides a fantastic conflict for the heroine. 

Sarah has a great writing voice. Her stories have strong pacing and delicious prose. I loved the humor. I’ve decided to track down more of Sarah’s novels because I consistently enjoy her work. At this moment, I have several of her books on loan from the library. 

I enjoyed this book more than book one. (You can find my review of The Sheriff of Savage Wells here.) I recommend reading them in order, but since there is little mention of the personal lives of the characters from book one, you’ll probably be able to follow without having read book one first. 


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