Shanda's Reviews > Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis
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Jul 22, 10

bookshelves: for-review
Read in July, 2010

Heart of Stone is the first book by Jill that I have read, and I’ll start my review by saying I plan to read two more of her novels set in Glory, TX: Homecoming and The Accidental Lawman. This review can also be found here: http://ldswbr.blogspot.com/2010/07/he...

The Review

Heart of Stone is the first volume in the Irish Angel series. I like the cover and the title is appropriate to the main character, Laura Foster, and the way she has learned to cope with her past experiences. Laura is not necessarily hard-hearted, though she is definitely careful and reserved in her relationships.

At 320 pages (which includes a sample of the second book, Heart of Lies) there is plenty to the story. The only time I felt like skimming was near the end and that was just because I was anxious for a certain something to happen and wanted to get to that part, not because the story was dragging.

I have a love/hate relationship with the romance genre. It takes a certain amount of skill to create romantic tension without rushing things, yet keep the readers attention while drawing developing the story into a novel-length tale. Because Jill writes with an experienced, balanced style, the pace of her storytelling made it more believable and realistic, which is sometimes hard to find in a romance book.

Heart of Stone takes place in fictional Glory, Texas, in the year 1874. Jill’s characters help make the little town of Glory come to life. The point of view, in third person, switches between Laura Foster and Reverend Brand McCormick, the love interest. The switches were clear and I never wondered who’s head I was in.

The main character, Laura, aka “Lovie Lamont” was a strong woman who did what she had to do to escape from the horrible life she was forced into at only eleven years old. She was determined and had a perspective on life that could only come from having seen the worst of it. Laura established a new life for herself in Glory, where everyone accepted her as the distinguished widow, Mrs. Foster. No one knew about her past and her secret seemed safe until a previous acquaintance arrived, threatening to ruin everything Laura had worked to build. She had no expectations toward marriage, but Laura had friends and a successful boarding house that she would surely lose if anyone discovered who she really was.

Reverend Brand McCormick, the love interest, was my favorite. A widower with two precocious young children, he was the perfectly imperfect hero. Strong but gentle, confident yet humble, he had a true concern for all around him, not just for those in his flock. After his wife’s death, Brand’s children were pretty wild, despite the help of Brand’s sister, Charity. It seemed that Laura had a way of bringing out the best in the kids, though, and she played an important role when Brand’s own past caught up with him.

The characters in Heart of Stone were realistic, imperfect people who had made mistakes but were doing their best. The secondary characters like Jesse Langley, Sam & Janie (Brand’s children), Hank & Amelia Larson (The Accidental Lawman), and several neighbors helped make Heart of Stone an enjoyably believable story.

My Favorite Part

After a life-changing event, Brand pulls Laura close and holds her for comfort. It’s a simple embrace but oh-so-nice.

A Quote

“The ribbons of her hat trailed from her hand as she walked with him to the front steps. She may have been through the worse life had to offer, but she’d never been a coward. She drew herself up and refused to let Brand walk away thinking they had any kind of future together.”

Heads Up

There's no swearing that I can remember and very little violence. As far as sexual content, it’s pretty obvious what Laura’s life entailed prior to her escape to Glory, but it doesn’t go into detail. Also, Brand was a bit wild in his youth before becoming a reverend. The romance is nice but never goes beyond kissing, and even that is free of gratuitous detail. This is a book about finding forgiveness, but it never gets preachy.


Rating: 4 stars/5

Would I-
read it again? yes
recommend it? yes, especially to those who love historical romance, though even readers who usually don’t care for historical romance might enjoy it
read more books by this author? I’m looking forward to reading several more
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