Once again, Dawn Crandall has written a timeless novel that has left me thinking about it for days afterwards.
The Bound Heart is the story of Meredyth Summercourt who made a few appearances in Dawn’s debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress.
Several years after participating in a shameful act of sin, Meredyth believes that the only atonement for her part in this is to marry and bind herself permanently to her former crush, Vance Everstone. While waiting for him to “make it right” toward herself, Meredyth Summercourt is discovering truths about herself and her relationships with God and others. One of these relationships is with her childhood friend Lawry Hampton. Lawry (who was also introduced to us in book one) has loved Meredyth for years.
The Gilded Age, in Boston and Maine, is the setting for The Bound Heart. This novel was just as good as the first one in the Everstone Chronicles, but in a completely different way.
Meredyth and Lawry each come to the conclusion that their lives are missing something. Both are Christians, but find that their lifestyles of wealth, fashion, and parties aren’t fulfilling. They appreciate their blessings and still enjoy them, but realize that there is more to life. They can use the money, time, and status that God has given them to help others less fortunate than they. I like how Dawn showed Meredyth and Lawry ministering to the orphans like the Bible admonishes us. The author doesn’t lower the importance of financial support in favor of helping in a physical way. She shows us that both are equally important in ministering to the needs of others. Sometimes friendship is the most important in meeting a need. The hero and heroine both show all aspects of this and are being good examples for us to follow. It’s an important lesson for all of us. I get involved in my own world and don’t always look for ways to be a light and help to others. This is a good reminder.
Our heroine, Meredyth Summercourt, is a tall, bold, and affectionate young woman. Whatever she sets her mind to do is done with her whole heart. She thinks she has to sacrifice genuine love in order to pay or her own sins. Meredyth has to learn that her debt has already been paid. God forgives when we ask and holds it against us no more. I appreciate Dawn’s tactful approach to the subject of sexual sin. She describes enough for one to understand the situation, but doesn’t go too far.
What can I say about Lawry? I almost cried a couple of times while reading some of his scenes. He is such a depiction of Jesus. Over and over again, Lawry, waited with patience for Meredyth to love him back. He was always there for her with friendship, a listening ear, an example of putting others first, and love. Lawry Hampton is her rock. He is also handsome, muscular, and gives some swoon-worthy kisses and speeches. Even after saying all of that, it’s still his love that makes him stand out above the rest. Lawry loves Meredyth fiercely and passionately, but tenderly.
The Bound Heart is an emotional book about unworthiness, atonement, and love that conquers all. This novel didn’t have near the amount of scene description and air of mystery as book one did. I adore well-written setting details in a historical novel, so missed that here. Even though I wished for some of these things, I realize that they might have not been appropriate in this kind of emotionally gripping story.
If you enjoy the writings of Julie Klassen, Charlotte Brontë, and Julianne Donaldson then this is the book for you. Dawn Crandall writes from in first-person viewpoint with a wonderful mix of romance, rich detail, and a little humor and suspense.
The novels of Dawn Crandall are already on my top favorites list and I’m eagerly waiting for her next one!
Review by Sylvia Miller
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