Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Though My Heart Is Torn" Review

After a shotgun wedding and a very rough start to their marriage, Gideon and Lonnie O’Riley have finally found happiness with each other. Living on the farm with the Bennetts in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with their precious infant son only adds to the joy that they have found.

Their joy is short-lived when Lonnie is summoned by her father to return home to Rocky Knob. Lonnie’s father claims that her mother is ill, but when she and Gideon arrive in their hometown, equally horrific news waits for them: Gideon has been married to another woman this whole time.

Lonnie is naturally devastated by this revelation, and Gideon’s guilt in the situation threatens to overpower him. Will their love be enough to sustain them when all hope seems lost?

Though My Heart Is Torn is the second book in the “Cadence of Grace” series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the early years of the 20th Century.

I requested to review the first book in this series for my blog last fall, but I actually was never able to fit it into my schedule, and it kept getting pushed back. When I saw that the next one in the series was available, I requested it for review through The Christian Manifesto, knowing that it would force me to fit the first one in.

The first book, Be Still My Soul, had an interesting, albeit somewhat overdone, concept. Although I felt the writing was pretty good (the descriptions made you feel as if you were right there in the Blue Ridge Mountains), overall, the novel was just too heartbreaking for me to enjoy it to its fullest. The novel did have a satisfying conclusion, though, so I was wondering where the second book would take the characters.

Was I surprised when I found out!

After the plot in the first book was the usual “having to get married and learn to love each other along the way” plot (which I actually like), the second book revolves around Lonnie and Gideon being forced to be apart because he is already married to another women. This second plot was much more unique, even to the point of being unrealistic. I understand that the time period in which this story takes place lends itself to a couple being forced by others to “do right by” the first wife.  But I just couldn’t help thinking, “what about the second wife?” Why do you need to do right by the first wife and not the second?

Even though that part of the plot bothered me, it was definitely an interesting concept that kept me engaged during the first half of the book. The descriptions of the setting and surroundings are so real that you feel as if you're right there in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the characters.

However, once I got to about halfway through the book where Lonnie and Gideon are pretty much forced to be separated, I have to admit that I quickly lost interest. It seemed as if the last half of the book was just Lonnie and Gideon missing each other. I understand that their situation would be extremely difficult, but I don’t think that half of the second book needed to be devoted to only their inner monologues. It was just too long and drawn out. And then after all of that bemoaning the fact that they aren’t together, they each seem to flip a switch and start thinking that they could be interested in other people. That was most unrealistic and disappointing of all. I didn’t like spending 40% of the book reading about how they were devastated over losing the other person, but then by the end of three months they were each ready to move on. It made me wonder if they were ever actually in love in the first place.

In this novel, and in the previous one, Lonnie tries to rely on God to get her through the struggles she is facing. This is an excellent aspect of her character, and through this Gideon is shown what it is like to have faith in God. But in the first book, and most especially in the second one, I kept having the feeling that the faith Gideon is experiencing in his own life is based more on him having faith in Lonnie rather than in God. He wants to be a “good” person like Lonnie is instead of experiencing true repentance through Christ. I am hoping that Gideon’s faith will be more developed in the final book.

It might seem as if I have given away too much of this book, but I really don’t think I have. There is another twist at the end of the book that sets up the third book in the series.
While Though My Heart Is Torn has an interesting concept, too much of the book relies on the emotions described in the title rather than using action and character development to move it along.

I will give Though My Heart Is Torn … 2 BookWorms.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook-Multnomah Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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