Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

From the Back of the Book

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their diverging goals be too much to overcome?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere. I finished it last weekend, have thought about it several times this week, and recommended it to everyone I talked books with this week. My favorite thing about this book is that it inspired me spiritually. I also loved reading about what it was like for women to pursue a career in medicine in London in the 1800's. 

I felt like the heroine, Julia, was different from most heroines that I read about because she knew what she wanted, and, despite the odds, she was whole-heartedly going after her dream. Julia felt the Lord called her to become a missionary doctor. I enjoyed her determination, trust in God, and related fearlessness. One thing I wish Julia had done differently was to guard her heart from Michael until he became a believer. 

There were a number of side plots and one of my favorites was Michael's sister Corinna and her husband, David. Corinna married David because of the material things and status he could provide rather than for love. David was keeping the struggles of his youth a secret from Corinna, but when he told her about his past, she found him more interesting and grew fonder of him. I love these moments in books where things work out in a way even more wonderful than I could imagine. 😊

I thought the love story between Julia and Michael was sweet. I liked how they met in a very unusual way. (How often do you hear of someone holding their future love interest's artery closed in their first meeting?) I felt like how they met is a good example of how God can orchestrate a meeting anywhere at any time. I liked how Julia didn't initially entertain romantic thoughts of David because she was so focused on becoming a missionary doctor. I liked how Michael initially felt bound to become engaged to another woman so he tried to keep his feelings for Julia at bay. I enjoyed watching how each of their stories changed so that they had the opportunity to pursue a relationship if they chose to do so.

I love when a book inspires me spiritually and this one really did.  Julia was not shy about sharing Jesus's love for us. I was especially inspired by how she shared with Gwen, a young woman she met in jail. Julia impressed Michael and encouraged his spiritual growth with the way she spoke of God meeting her needs and being her father. I would love to be able to share the way Julia did and that's something I will pray about. 

This is the second book in Jennifer Delamere's London Beginnings series and can easily be read as a stand alone book.

If you like historical Christian fiction, I highly recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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