By Ann Shorey
Revell, 340 pages, $14.99
Small-town America is a distant memory that comes alive in Anne Shorey’s historical fiction romance novel When the Heart Heals. Set in the small town of Noble Springs, Missouri at the end of the Civil War, the novel depicts a refreshing sense of place and community that surround the headstrong, compassionate Miss Rosemary Saxon.
Though sensitive to conservative customs, Miss Saxon defiantly practices nursing while dispensing herbal remedies and housing vulnerable young women. Multiple storylines seamlessly unfold around an endearing cast of characters, not least of which are two men who avidly pursue Miss Saxon in the most gentlemanly of ways.
Unfortunately, by introducing an unexpected element of mystery, Shorey detracts from otherwise compelling content. Miss Saxon’s ever present dog becomes so associated with suspense that readers may begin expecting to find him morbidly hanging from the rafters.
Shorey may also have done well to leave out moments of forced reconciliation that compromise the authenticity of the title theme; healing of the heart. Otherwise, the reconciling parties need to be more fully developed to create believable scenes. Apart from these features, the novel is a light-hearted, entertaining story that deserves at least a couple days reading at the beach.
Reviewed by Halley Greene