A Heartwarming Tale of Second Chances
A Worthy Heart
by Susan Anne Mason
Series: Courage To Dream (Book 2)
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
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Will Maggie Listen to the Warnings of Those She Trusts Most or the Leadings of Her Heart?
The answer to Maggie Montgomery’s dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she’ll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attentions. She’s intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life.
While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she learn he’s Rylan’s brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother’s request.
Adam O’Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam’s only desire is to earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone’s efforts to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break–but they soon discover the past isn’t easy to overcome.
A Worthy Heart is Susan Anne Mason’s follow-up to Irish Meadows. In this continuation of the Courage to Dream series, after the passage of three years, we look in on the O’Leary family again. We become better acquainted with their extended family, the Montgomerys — namely Maggie and Gabe, Rylan’s brother and sister. And we catch up with Adam O’Leary, the “black sheep” of the O’Leary bunch, whose animosity with Gil was made plain in book one. However, somewhere in that first book, he seemingly vanished. Turns out, he got wrapped up with the wrong crowd and was imprisoned for gambling. Now the Prodigal returns…
In large part, A Worthy Heart is Adam’s redemption story. Mason does a great job of making a formerly roguish character sympathetic. Though he’s returned humbled and repentant, his past is something not easily overcome. At times, it’s heartbreaking to watch Adam’s efforts to rebuild his life from the ground up. Luckily, though he faces many skeptics and doubters, he finds friends, too. As we look into his past, we learn more about the family history and the contributing factors to the rift between Adam and his father James.
Where Irish Meadows featured two main story lines, A Worthy Heart follows three. In addition to Adam, we also follow Maggie and Gabe in their voyage to America. Maggie has fled Ireland in part to escape the unwanted advances of Neill Fitzgerald whom she rejected. She is immediately taken with America and is quick to devise plans for jobs that can help her turn this visit into a permanent stay. But she soon finds a huge and potentially dangerous obstacle in her path.
Similarly, Gabe, a fireman back in Ireland, finds employment at a station in New York. When he meets someone special (I won’t say who, but readers of book one will know her), he is torn between a desire to remain in America, and what he sees as his duty to join the struggle for Irish independence.
Though her book may appear crammed with characters, Mason not only manages to make all the pieces mesh, she finds room to insert more historical detail than she included in Irish Meadows. The result is a compelling further exploration of family dynamics (both past and present), atonement, forgiveness, redemption, trust, and love.
— Dawn Teresa
4 of 5 Hearts. A Heartwarming Tale of Second Chances.
No matter how broken things are, no matter how far you may have fallen, you are never beyond God’s loving reach. Susan Anne Mason’s A Worthy Heart is a story of love and redemption that ultimately proves it’s never too late to begin again.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Bethany House for providing me a free copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Click on the cover to learn about Irish Meadows,
Book 1 in the Courage To Dream series: