Heart Of Stone by Jill Marie Landis
Paperback: 320 pages
Available: March 1, 2010
Genre: Historical Romance
Book received from: Publicist
Finally free to pursue her dreams, Laura Foster is trying hard not to fall in love. She knows that the Reverend Brand McCormick’s reputation would be shattered if her former life is discovered. But it’s not only Laura’s history that threatens to bring Brand down—it’s his own.
She had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down—it’s also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name—and her heart—by telling him the truth?
Heart of Stone is the first book in the Irish Angles Series set in 1870 Texas.
Laura Foster has come a long way from her days as a prostitute in a New Orleans brothel. As an orphan, she and her sister were sold to into prostitution by her their uncle when Laura was eleven years old. Now, she has left that world behind and as far as the people of Glory, Texas are concerned, she is a widow and owner of an upstanding boardinghouse catering exclusively to women and families only. She is very careful to maintain her standing as a respectable woman, in doing so has made herself quite distant emotionally to those around her. Although she prefers to avoid close friendships and relationships, she is still warm and personable.
When Laura unwittingly attracts the attention of Reverend Brand McCormick she knows she needs to discourage his attentions. However, finding herself uncharacteristically attracted to him, combined with and his determination to court her, she finds it difficult to deter the friendship. Although he seems a bit pushy at times, Brand thinks the world of Laura and treats her with a great deal of respect. His admiration and kindness toward her comes through quite genuinely and his behavior is endearing.
The past has a way of coming back to haunt those who wish to leave it behind and Laura and Brand are both confronted with ghosts from the past. Laura’s reaction is to run when a man from her past comes into her life but Brand will not have it. Both Brand and Laura must come to terms with their past and their own faith as their relationship develops.
My favorite character in Heart of Stone is Laura. Although she is excessively harsh with herself, it is perhaps understandable as she deals with the shame she feels as the eldest of four siblings as she has—in her eyes at least—failed to protect them. She lost touch with her siblings after she was sold as a prostitute but has never forgotten them. The constant worry she suffers hoping no one will ever find out about her past is crushing and she lives under a great deal of stress. She is a complex character and what I loved about her was her ultimate strength in character and ability to grow emotionally.
Heart of Stone is an inspirational historical romance. It is a story of love, faith and forgiveness, not just of others but of oneself. This is not necessarily a hero-to-the rescue type of story. Both Brand and Laura look to each other in love as well as their deepening faith as they work through their the issues they’re confronted with in their journey to love.
Thanks to The Book Report Network, I have one copy of Heart Of Stone to giveaway.
To enter, please leave a comment here letting me know you’d like to be entered. Contest is open until April 17, winner will be announced the following day. Open to US and Canada only please.