Jessica Atherton is tired of only being seen as the spoiled youngest daughter of a wealthy rancher. She is determined to change her ways, but attempting a transformation all by herself is proving to be a difficult task. And the situation is only made harder by the appearance of two very different yet equally interesting young men.
Harrison Gable, a dashing lawyer from Dallas, is everything Jessica dreamed of in a husband. His aspirations will take her out of her small Texas hometown and will never leave her in want financially.
But Jessica is increasingly intrigued by Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent and current Texas Ranger who has been pulled into a local case involving forged gold certificates. Austin seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, and Jessica feels drawn to him more than she has ever felt drawn to anyone.
As Jessica struggles to find her place in the world, she discovers that it really all comes down to a matter of faith – and a matter of heart.
A Matter of Heart is book three in the “Lone Star Brides” series by Tracie Peterson.
After learning quite a bit about Jessica Atherton in the second book in this series, I was intrigued to find out she would be the main character in this one. I was a bit taken aback at first, since I was not very fond of her character previously, and it is often very difficult to enjoy a novel when you really dislike the main character.
But I found that I actually connected with Jessica fairly quickly, and it was her tremendous growth over the course of the novel that in fact made the book so much more enjoyable. I, too, have struggled with feeling as if the people around you want to keep you from changing and not let you become who you desire/need to be. In Jessica’s case, her parents seemed to be the ones doing this at times. In my case, it wasn’t so much my parents but other people with whom I grew up. In both cases, we had to come to the conclusion that only with God can our hearts be changed, and when that happens, no one can stand in our way.
Even with the amount of spiritual growth that Jessica experiences, she is not the only one to change in this novel. Austin also has much to deal with in his past. (And when I say “much” I mean a lot. So much that it seemed as if it was even a bit too much). While Austin at times comes across as the perfect hero, he still has his demons, and his growth is also significant.
This novel as presented in the summary seems as if it will be a battle between two men for the heart of Jessica Atherton. This is true in a sense, but it is so much more. The storylines that were not completely resolved in the previous novels all converge and come to an ultimate, satisfying conclusion.
Because of this, I think it would be easier to follow what was happening if you had read the previous books in the series. It is definitely not a standalone novel. I have read the previous books, and I still had a tough time here and there remembering exactly what had happened and figuring out what was going on. The dialogue was sometimes a bit simplistic and not detailed enough, too.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, it had an interesting romance, and it had enough suspense to keep it moving. There were a few times when the romantic plot fell back onto some predictable and overused points to give it a hiccup, but for the most part, the relationships among Jessica, Austin, and Harrison were done well. I also thought there were a couple of spiritual things thrown in that really didn’t seem to fit with the overall spiritual tone of the story. But since faith in Christ as the way to a right relationship with God was emphasized so clearly, I am willing to overlook those things that seemed to be on the outskirts.
I have increasingly enjoyed each of the books in the “Lone Star Brides” series, and I definitely think A Matter of Heart was my favorite.
I will give A Matter of Heart ... 4 BookWorms.
A Matter of Heart
by Tracie Peterson
"Lone Star Brides" #3
Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House 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."