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What Heals the Heart

(Cowbird Creek #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Joshua Gibbs survived the Civil War, building on his wartime experiences to become a small town doctor. And if he wakes from nightmares more often than he would like, only his dog Major is there to know it.

Then two newcomers arrive in Cowbird Creek: Clara Brook, a plain-speaking and yet enigmatic farmer’s daughter, and Freida Blum, an elderly Jewish widow from New York. Fr
Kindle Edition, 266 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Oblique Angles Press
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Historical romance, heaving bosoms, rough and tumble cowboys, hard-scrabble living…nope, not here! Between the covers of Karen A. Wyle’s WHAT HEALS THE HEART is the story of a man, haunted by war and blood and death who has made the horrors he witnessed into a career as a doctor in a small country town. Single, alone and suffering from what we now call PTSD, Joshua Gibbs will find himself the object of the quirky and endearing Freida Blum’s matchmaking machinations.

Does the widow Blum know what
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Karen A. Wyle’s What Heals the Heart is a historical romance that does not feel like a historical romance. Although you know a romantic relationship between certain characters is the end outcome, for a lot of the book it feels like a historical novel without the romance element.

Why is this? It’s simple. Karen A. Wyle does not fill the book with the usual things seen in historical romances. I do not need to list the expected aspects, as anyone who has read any historical romance will know the che
Happy Booker
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What heals the heart is a historical romance written about Joshua Gibbs. The story is set around the Civil War time, and Joshua still remains to have nightmares from the experiences encountered during the war. He is a doctor and has a dog who is his friend and companion.

When Clara shows up in town, things stir up a bit; however, Freida is there to make sure things don’t end up as they should. She has a whole different perspective of what is needed and what is right.

The story focuses on a broke
Cary Morton
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What Heals The Heart by Karen A. Wyle was a fantastic slow-burn historical romance. It was both well written and well researched. I’ll admit that this book won’t satisfy all romance readers. Throughout the story, the underlying theme of the relationship between Joshua and Clara is friendship. Much of the book finds Joshua spending his time divided between brothel girls and a widow or two, rather than significant time with Clara.

No obvious romance, or even affection aside from witty banter is exc
Danusha Goska
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are the conventional literary genres: novel, romance, thriller, biography, true crime. Add to this list our own idiosyncratic book genres. There is the history book that made us view a familiar landscape in a whole new way, because we realized that that grassy field was the site of a battle, or that oddly named street once hosted a local celebrity from an exotic land. There is the scholarly book that we emptied out an entire yellow highlighter pen while reading. There's the first erotic bo ...more
Brittany Vail
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karen A. Wyle’s What Heals the Heart tells the story of Joshua Gibbs, a small-town country doctor haunted by the horrors he witnessed in the Civil War. Joshua’s life is turned upside down when the elderly widow Mrs. Blum decides to find him a wife. Not one to meekly submit to her matchmaking shenanigans, Joshua strikes a bargain with the widow; he will meet Mrs. Blum’s matchmaking choices as long as she is willing to do the same with his. What comes next is a lighthearted yet moving narrative th ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
In Cowbird Creek, Nebraska, there are two newcomers one of which had been an Army Nurse and the other a physician in the war. Both are suffering the after effects of the war, and causes issues in their personal lives. Both of them ultimately fall in love, and are married. The book is historically accurate and appear to be very descriptive of the medical care in the western area during this period.
Joshua Gibbs is single and still has nightmares from the Civil War. Frieda Blum is a Jewish widow, with no desire to remarry. But one good matchmaker deserves another, and What Heals the Heart is a fun, well-researched historical novel that beautifully imagines the result.

The scenery is evocatively described. The horror of PTSD is all too real. Cruelty to strangers and the evils of racism are all too real, and all too relevant today. And medicine is a fragile skill. Author Karen Wyle doesn’t shy
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Step back into time with What Heals the Heart. Historical aficionados - this book will gratify your every sense. From times long past mannerisms, attitudes, and speech, Karen Wyle will captivate you. Wyle’s visually-descriptive prose will have you experiencing prairie life as if you were there.

Joshua Gibbs, a quiet man filled with regrets brought on by the angst of PTSD, enjoys his barely held onto but newfound peace, his dog Major and the life he has strived so hard to attain. Enter the machin
Teresa Grabs
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wyle's historical romance is a fantastic tale of life on the prairie for a country doctor still dealing with his war experience. His life is turned upside down when the town's newest arrival decides he needs a wife. With the help of friends, he turns to matchmaking himself while coming to terms with his growing feelings for his assistant. The book is a quick read, humorous, touching, and touches on how historical events affected the town. Many of the characters are perfectly developed, but some ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written story that felt a lot like the old westerns I used to watch with my dad when I was little. In that way, it was nostalgic for me – but the way the story was written out made it feel almost like a film was playing in my head. The characters were believable and the historical details are accurate, as far as I know. It is a sweet, simply romance that I would highly recommend for everyone. No real “heat,” it’s something I’d feel totally comfortable sharing with my stepmo ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What Heals the Heart by Karen A. Wyle is a heart-warming, entertaining, well-researched tale of a young doctor, a matchmaking Jewish widow and a courageous woman with a secret of her own. The story unfolds in Nebraska after the Civil War, following Joshua, the doctor, as he struggles to rebuild his life while suffering from traumatic, horrific memories of battlefield surgeries and primitive medical care. This book is not only a wonderful story from America's past, but a great read. Enjoy!
Leigh Ann
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
What Heals the Heart is a historical romance set post Civil War. What I enjoyed most is that the author manages to avoid a lot of the cliches that are often relied on in historical romances. For that reason some may not enjoy it because it doesn't follow the typical pattern, but I found this quite refreshing because I wasn't able to see exactly how the book would end from the first page.
Karen (BaronessBookTrove)
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.What Heals the Heart by Karen A. Wyle is a historical romance set after the Civil War, and it's a great tale of what happens when people come back from the war and some of their issues.
Who has succeeded in their matchmaking schemes?
Joshua Gibbs
Doctor Joshua Gibbs is the only doctor in the town. He considered a doctor due to his time of service during the war.
Tony Parsons
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cowbird Creek, NE. The Civil War was over & Joshua Gibbs (former quartermaster), & Major (Irish Setter) were glad to be back what they called home.
Dr. Joshua Gibbs was now the new physician.
Mrs. Freida Blum (NY elderly Jewish widow, dress maker) had come to see him about some ongoing aches/pains.
Ms. Clara Brook (farmer’s daughter) family had just arrived & she came to see Dr. Gibbs also.
Dr. Gibbs delivered Dorothy “Dolly” Arden’s baby. She would be called Hope Arden.
Li Chang (Chinese, laundry
Vikki Vaught
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars
This is the first book I have read by Karen A. Wyle. What Heals the Heart is unique, and I want the thank the author for asking me to read and review it. My opinions are my own are not influenced in any way. I received an e-copy via Net-Galley.

What Heals the Heart can’t be placed in any one category. While there is a lovely romance between the main characters, its full worth is in the historical details of what it must have been like as a country doctor in the west after the Civil War.
Honestly  Austen
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having battled with being triggered by my previous read for my book club I found myself in a reading drought. I could not focus on anything and felt genuinely disheartened until I started reading this book.

A quote from one of my all-time favourite novels, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, helps illustrate my next point, "Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers."

I believe that secret homing instinct was at work bring
S.L. Saboviec
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not a historical romance reader, but given how much I like the author's other books, I had to read this one. This book, as with all of the author's, is impeccably written -- detailed and precise. The historical setting comes alive, and the characters are realistic and likeable.

I did feel like the beginning was a bit slow to get started on the plot, but I was fascinated by the world being painted. By the end of the book, I was in love with both Joshua and Claire, and although I wish them luck
Kerrific Kerr
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit, I haven't quite finished this book but I'm loving every minute of it! I can't wait to put the kids in bed tonight so I can get my face mask and my phone and finish the adventure. I love how the characters in this story are 100% human. I can't help but smile at sweet Clara. I might come update this after I finish, if I don't know it was good and that you should go grab yourself a copy asap!

Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Romance, Humor, and History Perfectly Pieced Together in a Serious Book

"From the first sentence of What Heals the Heart, the sense of time (1875-ish) and place (small town Nebraska) captured me. The author used language, settings, medical art, and customs to paint a convincing picture.

The book has a wonderful balance of romance (who will our hero choose), humor (a nosy Jewish mother-type), conflict (real medicine versus snake oil), and, at the center of the story, a vivid description of veterans
Amy Shannon
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A grand historical romance

This is the first story I've read from Wyle, and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't just about two people who were fated to be together, there was another woman in the mix, and she was focused on having a husband, and she knew who she wanted. It was well written and the story flowed, well, not forced at all. Each character had their own unique traits, and fit within the story. I like that it also touched on Joshua's past in the war, (the Civil War) and how it affects him, a
Salla (Books Told Me So)
Full review:

Two stars? Two and a half? Maybe three, but not full three. What Heals the Heart is captivating, but there were a few things that bothered me.
Lori Byrd
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Oct 17, 2019
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Jennifer Robbins
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Apr 26, 2020
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Karen A. Wyle is the author of multiple science fiction novels, including The Twin-Bred Series: Books 1-3; near-future novels Division, Playback Effect, and Who: a novel of the near future. Her first novel outside the SF category was the afterlife fantasy/family drama Wander Home. Most recently, she has made a foray into historical romance with her novel What Heals the Heart. She has also publishe ...more

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Cowbird Creek (2 books)
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