Monday, June 21, 2021

34. The Heart's Charge

The Heart's Charge (Hanger's Horsemen #2). Karen Witemeyer. 2021. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: When Mark Wallace left Gringolet two days ago to deliver a prize gelding to a wealthy rancher west of Llano, he never dreamed he’d be called upon to deliver a baby too. Or that the mother of said baby would be waving a pistol back and forth between him and Jonah as if trying to decide which fellow to shoot first.

This book had me at hello. I'm not just saying that to say that. I mean this book had me HOOKED from the first page. Readers first met Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks in the first book of the series, At Love's Command. 

In this one, Mark and Jonah are out on their own as they come across a woman in labor. A suicidal woman in labor. A woman determined to join her husband on the other side without any care or thought about the baby. Fortunately Mark and Jonah are there to intervene. They take the newborn to Harmony House, a home for foundlings. 

SURPRISE, SURPRISE. As Mark is delivering the newborn baby to Harmony House, he sees an old love, a lost love. Katherine Palmer is the last person he thought he'd see...and the first person he'd love to reconnect with. She was always his one that got away. She's made a new life for herself, devoted herself to a wonderful cause or mission. And she's working side by side with another woman, Eliza Southerland, to do it. The home takes in unwanted children of all ages and gives them a good, loving home and some education. 

Eliza Southerland doesn't know what to think of Jonah Brooks...but she can't help thinking about him! 

These two decide to stick around a little bit first to help fix Harmony House up a bit--it's a bit of a fixer-upper. But soon they are on a case of their own....and it involves KIDNAPPED CHILDREN. 

It will take a lot of WORK--much team work--to save lives and see justice done. Will these couples find reasons to stay together after all is said and done???

I loved this one. I did. I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I loved that we essentially have FOUR narrators. I loved getting to know Mark, Jonah, Eliza, and Kate better. I loved how well we got to know each character. I loved seeing these relationships develop. It didn't feel insta-love either. The journeys these couples takes was just swoon-worthy.

At times I can be harsh when it comes to life-and-death danger in romance novels, but, in this case I think it was seamless. It didn't feel overly dramatic and forced. Perhaps the villain(s) weren't as well-developed as the main characters, but, I don't know that I would have wanted to spend more time with them. It almost would have ruined the suspense if more groundwork had been laid for the reveal. Part of the suspense is NOT KNOWING who is behind the kidnappings. (Okay, all of the suspense). 

One thing that I especially loved, loved, loved about this one--something that makes it stand out--are the children. I loved getting to know the children. Especially Abner. But also others like Rawley, Wart, and Al. The children are an integral part of this one. Abner's scenes were show-stealers in my opinion. And one of the scenes with Abner just made my heart grow three sizes. 

This is a wonderful novel. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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