Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Moderate Violence, Sarah M. Eden

Faint of Heart

Sarah Eden’s newest book,  Healing Hearts  takes us back to Savage Wells. I have to admit that westerns aren’t really my thing, but I fell in love with this town and the people in it in “The Sheriff’s of Savage Wells.” I was so excited to be back in their world again, and loved every second of it.

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Miriam steps off the train looking for a job not a husband. She refuses to be wed, and Gideon is unspeakably embarrassed by the misunderstanding. Stranded in Savage Wells, Miriam has nowhere else to go and a secret that she’s determined to keep from everyone. She has epilepsy, a condition that other doctors had claimed was symptomatic of madness, a diagnosis which prompted her family to have her committed to an asylum. Miriam is afraid that if Dr. MacNamara finds out the truth, he will send her back to the asylum a place that is little better than a prison.

But Gideon is not like the other doctors she has encountered, and he offers Miriam the nursing position anyway. When illness sweeps through the town, Gideon and Miriam work together to care for the growing number of sick people. As they do so, their relationship slowly grows into something deeper. When Miriam’s former doctor arrives in town to take her back to the asylum, Gideon, along with some familiar faces in Savage Wells including Cade, Paisley, and Hawk must rally around Miriam to protect her from a dangerous fate. And for Gideon, it might mean risking his heart one more time for a chance at love.

This is a beautiful novel showcasing excellent character development and intriguing story lines. Sarah Eden has an amazing grasp of human nature and it makes her novels shine.

The book centers on a common mail-order bride trope, but Sarah Eden shifts it into something creative and unconventional. Then she uses that unconventional relationship to pull out our greatest anxieties about relationships and confront them.

Sarah Eden has no pretense of what should and is awkward and difficult, and is willing to write about it in beautiful stories and settings that are both entertaining and edifying.

The history of the struggles women faced during this time are fascinating, but it was more than beautiful historical fiction. Through Miriam’s condition she reflects our own worst personal fears and brokenness back at us and then gives Miriam powerful moments to succeed. Giving us the power to see more into the hearts of each characters and in ourselves.

I have a dear friend whose two year old started having seizures last year, out of the blue and with no apparent connection. Even with a team of doctors and medical experts at hand, it has been a scary process for their family. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to deal with unexpected medical conditions with out the medical knowledge or the freedom to pursue it. I loved how this novel opened my eyes to the gratitude I have for both those things.

 

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