An argument. A crash. In an instant, Joanna’s world is changed forever. One minute, Joanna Schrock was arguing with her parents, and the next, her parents’ lives were claimed in a hit-and-run buggy accident. Her body is broken, but her heart is in even deeper pain— after all, how do you cope with your parents’ deaths when your last words were spoken in anger? After an extended stint in a physical rehabilitation center, Joanna re-enters her Amish life. But nothing is the same—not even her feelings for Andrew Beiler. Joanna has loved Andrew since the age of twelve, and her feelings have not changed throughout the years. She is thrilled when Andrew wants to get married, but she wonders whether it’s love he’s feeling, or pity. As the couple’s wedding date approaches, Joanna isn’t overcome with the deep joy she was hoping to feel; instead, she’s wracked with anxiety and guilt. Joanna hears God whispering to her, Be strong and courageous, but she’s afraid that courage looks a lot like walking away from her dreams and into the plan of her Heavenly Father. If Joanna takes the first step toward healing, will it cost her everything she’s ever wanted? Or could God be changing the desires of her heart?
This book is second in a series called the “Amish of Birch Creek” written by Kathleen Fuller. I did not read the first book but An Unbroken Heart can stand alone without having previously reading book one. I really enjoyed reading this story and put it down once. Kathleen Fuller makes the reader feel the emotions of love, fear, pain, and questions of self-worth and happiness. The main characters in this book are Joanna Schrock and Andrew Beiler.
Joanna was arguing with her parents about wanting to marry Andrew while they were traveling in their buggy on the way to the apple orchard. Her mother was telling her that she was not yet ready for marriage. When a car hit their buggy, the collision caused her to lose both of her parents. Joanna herself suffered a broken pelvis and lacerations on her face which would take a long time to heal. Joanna had loved Andrew since she was twelve years old, since he had stood up for her when she was being bullied at school. Over the years, as they were dating her feelings for Andrew grew stronger and Joanna had shocked Andrew by proposing to him.
In the rehabilitation center, Joanna suffered both physically with the pain from the accident and mentally, having learned that she had lost both parents. She felt so empty, alone and guilty. Andrew was upset about the accident and worried that he might be losing Joanna, so visited her and proposed. He could not picture his life without Joanna by his side. She accepted the proposal without the deep joy she had hoped for, and the plans began for their wedding. On the day of her wedding Joanna was unable to walk down the aisle. She then told Andrew she could not marry him as she knew she wasn’t ready. God was talking to Joanna, telling her to be strong and courageous. Should she listen to God?
In An Unbroken Heart, readers learn about Joanna’s sisters, Sadie and Abigail, and how they managed to run the family business after their parent’s death while at the same time handling Joanna’s recovery. It encourages readers to look at forgiveness in their own lives as Joanna’s met Cameron, the driver who caused the accident that killed her parents, and forgave him. As the characters become so real, you really want healing for those who are hurting, and you want to help them find their way back to God so they can be whole again – but it must be in line with God’s timing and not theirs.
Kathleen Fuller’s Biography: I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and currently live in Geneva, Ohio. I’ve been married to James for 22 wonderful years (really, they have been wonderful!) We have three terrific children, three dogs, and have raised cattle, pigs, and chickens at various times over the years. We would have gone into the goat business, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I started writing in 2000, and published my first short story a year later. Since then I have authored several short stories, novellas, novels, and have done a lot of freelance non-fiction work. I have also worked as an editor. I have a Masters degree in Special Education, emphasis on teaching the blind and visually impaired, and a Bachelors in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. I have taught all age groups ranging from age 4 to age 21. A few of my favorite things: my relationship with Christ, chocolate (of course!), autumn, a satisfying book, good friends, a sense of humor, people who don’t take themselves seriously, haunting melodies, NFL football, and did I mention chocolate?
I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.