The Heart's Charge (Hanger's Horsemen, # 2)
By: Karen Witemeyer
Publication: June 1st 2021 by Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Members of Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he'd nearly married a decade ago.
After failing at love, Katherine Palmer dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. From mixed ancestry, illegitimate, and female, Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her with his courage and kindness, but there are secrets behind his eyes--ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.
However, when a handful of urchin children from the area go missing, a pair of Horsemen are exactly what the women need. Working together to find the children, will these two couples find love as well?
I read At Love's Command in 2020. I knew I wanted to read the other Horsemen's stories, and I jumped at the chance to get The Heart's Charge for review. Yet when I got it, I wasn't in the mood for it. I sometimes hate it about myself, but I am such a mood reader. I almost say that I can't force myself to read something that I'm not in the mood for, but that's not exactly accurate. I can, but I hate doing that. Anyway, I finally broke down and picked it up even though I still wasn't quite in the mood.
The Heart's Charge ended up being better than I expected. First of all, there are two love stories. Both Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks share this book, and I loved reading about both of their stories. I loved their friendship with each other.
I've been listening to an audiobook while I'm driving to get the kids from school and I was reading this book at the same time, and I couldn't help but contrast these two books. One has a woman that struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. This book has two strong women who aren't satisfied to sit by the side when they can be useful even though historically it would be more difficult for women to be as active as modern-day. The other book has a feminist slant and this book shows men and women working in tandem to have the strongest relationship possible by using the strengths of both parties. I just couldn't help but notice the differences in these two stories and their approaches. I much prefer this type of story to the ones more focused on the characters being victims.
I was impressed with the amount of Bible verses used in The Heart's Charge. Often, I find myself annoyed with stories that push an agenda or a message, but you can't read "Christian fiction" without expecting there to be a focus on Christian messages to some degree or other. But to be honest, I was impressed with how each lesson and verse tied into the story and felt like lessons the characters were meant to learn and not lessons the author was trying to preach to the reader. And that is what makes the difference to me.
-He had nothing against putting down roots. He just hadn't found the right soil yet.
-She very much feared that Jonah Brooks was not a man to be pigeonholed. Which meant he was a man who needed to fly her coop as soon as possible.
-A gift bestowed by God couldn't be stolen by man. Or woman. It might be neglected or stifled, but never stolen.
-"Lessons taught from love bring wisdom. Lessons spawned from fear and pain often come with cynicism and bitterness attached, which can cloud the truth."
-"Satan uses loneliness to isolate and depress. But God uses it to build compassion."
-Hunger, sickness, ostracism--people afflicted with such things care only about a warm meal, healing medicine, and a compassionate touch.
-...a man considering a commitment to one woman should not behave in a way that could lead her to believe him fickle in his affections. Nor should he give another woman reason to believe his interest lay anywhere other than where it did.
-Friendly was different than flirty.
-He didn't mind a strategic surrender every now and again.
-Risks were always assessed but seldom allowed to stand in the way of progress.
-Could it be that being subject to a husband who loved her with sacrificial dedication meant freedom instead of subjugation?
-Leave tomorrow alone, girl. Her mother's oft-voiced scold echoed in Eliza's mind. The Lord's the only one strong enough to carry the future. You'll wear yourself out tryin'.
The Heart's Charge hooked me, and I didn't want to stop reading when I had to. It was easy to see how much better reading about strong characters (both male and female) is than reading about characters that want to be victims. I enjoyed the Scripture used because it felt like the lessons were for the characters and not for the readers. The Heart's Charge gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Heart's Charge? What did you think? Let me know!