A Heart Most Certain

A Heart Most CertainA Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears
Series: Teaville Moral Society #1
Genres: Historical, Romance
Published by Bethany House on August 2, 2016
Pages: 400

 

About A Heart Most Certain (from the back cover):

Lydia King knows what it’s like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town’s poor. But with her father’s debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the moral society’s president is her suitor’s mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.

I’ve been a fan of Melissa Jegears ever since I read the first book in her Unexpected Brides series. While A Heart Most Certain tells a different type of story, it’s no less poignant, gripping and a deep pleasure to read. I was touched by the giving hearts of the characters, aghast at the injustices that they fought and captivated by the tender romance.

I was touched by the giving hearts of the characters, aghast at the injustices that they fought and captivated by the tender romance.

Lydia King and Nicholas Lowe are engaging characters and utterly compelling. They both have valuable things to teach one another, but it takes quite some time for them to realize it. Lydia is brave, but not unrealistically so for the time period of the story. She’s no simpering miss, but rather a determined young lady, who wants to do right by her family, but also can’t ignore the plight of those in her community. When the conflict between reputation and being a true help to those in need becomes apparent in her interaction with Nicholas, she must decide what is really important – yes, reputation is everything, but what good is a stellar reputation if she faces potential danger and misery in her future?

Nicholas is used to being able to use money to solve many plights and problems, except for his own – for him, while used to the betterment of many in his community – money is a way of absolving himself from his past mistakes. Lydia puts a wrench in his anonymity with her persistence and also makes him questions his own methods – how can he help those trapped in sin in his town, but be unwilling to reach out to the members in his church who need to be shown a different way – a way other than being hypocritical of the very people he and Lydia are trying to help.

The interaction between Lydia and Nicholas is dynamic. Opposites in many ways, they also challenge each other. Their more serious conversations cause the reader to think and reflect on their own lives, while their humorous moments are sure to bring a smile to the reader’s face.

While this story does have a lovely romantic thread, the highlight is most assuredly the in-depth look at the plight of the women and young girls who are forced into prostitution, yet can find little help when they are delivered from it.

While this story does have a lovely romantic thread, the highlight is most assuredly the in-depth look at the plight of the women and young girls who are forced into prostitution, yet can find little help when they are delivered from it. Though the subject matter is sobering, the narrative is never heavy-laden or without hope. Other themes are touched on as well, including the double standard between the behavior and judgement of men and women, especially as it relates to social activities and marriage. The unfairness of it all made me truly admire people who fought for those in need despite adversity and judgement. I appreciate how far things have come since then, but this story has left me with the reminder to stand up for injustices, to speak up when something is wrong. In addition, Melissa highlights the need of Christians to fight disillusionment with the church, that supporting the body of Christ is important and necessary to the kingdom.

The tenderness of this story’s ending speaks to Melissa’s skill as a romantic historical fiction writer.

The tenderness of this story’s ending speaks to Melissa’s skill as a romantic historical fiction writer. Readers who love a heartfelt happily-ever-after will be eager to reach the culmination of both Lydia and Nicholas’s journey, while at the same time eager to visit Teaville once again. Highly recommended for readers looking for a historical romance, with a poignant message at its core.

 

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