The title makes it sound like a romance novel. Thank goodness it’s not. The cover makes it look like average Christian fiction. Thank goodness it’s not. The fact that it is a New York Times best-seller makes it look like pop culture tripe. Thank goodness it’s not!
Frankly, I opened The Heart Mender with low expectations because of all its above-mentioned qualities. But I was soon lost in a real page turner. The book appealed to me on many levels. I love World War II history, I love a good story, and I love redemptive themes. Andy Andrew (Who is this guy, anyway?) weaves quite a tale and the fact that it is based on true events makes it all the more fascinating. I read it in two sittings because I could barely put it down.
Helen is a bitter war widow. Wan is the deputy who has a crush on her. Danny is the autistic boy who teaches her about forgiveness. And Josef is the man who washes up on the beach near her house and changes all their lives.
Two factors might make it less appealing to some: A small sprinkling of profanity, and borderline “preachiness”. I have read Christian novels that lay the morals on pretty thickly, so I thought Andrews was restrained in comparison. All in all, a very pleasant read.
A sample of Andrew’s prose:
She carefully picked her way through the dunes, seeking to avoid the occasional cactus or sandspur that grew low to the ground. The sea oats waved toward the young woman, bowing at the insistence of the wind coming off the Gulf. It blew Helen’s blonde hair into her face and assaulted her sense with a pungent, heavy salt smell that, in someone else’s life, she knew, might be welcome, even pleasurable. To Helen, though, the wind was just one more nemesis, something else to fight… (p. 105)