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Island of Saints: A Story of the One Principle That Frees the Human Spirit
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Island of Saints: A Story of the One Principle That Frees the Human Spirit

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  3,021 Ratings  ·  516 Reviews
While digging up a withering wax myrtle tree beside his waterfront home on the Gulf coast, author Andy Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts and begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard . . . literally . . .

. . . In the summer of 1942, as the country gears up for a full-scale commitment
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Thomas Nelson (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2017, own-it
I really, really loved this story, it was incredible. A beautiful book of friendship, love, and forgiveness. And the author did an incredible job at narrating the book!!
Jenny Jo Weir
Read this book!!! You will not regret it. I loved it from the very first word to the very end. It's beautiful and inspiring. Worth every minute of your time. I am for sure going to be reading more of Andy's books after this one.
Daniel Butcher
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews presents two compelling and engaging stories. The first story, which consists of parts 1 and 3 of the book, tells the story of Andrews’ discovery of World War II German U-Boat artifacts in his Gulf Coast yard and his own personal journey to uncover the origins of how these items got into his yard. The second story details the ramification of a chance encounter between Josef a German submariner who becomes separated from his German U-Boat while patrolling the Gulf ...more
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gigi by: Rose
I started this book by Andy Andrews on my 46th birthday. My friend took me to lunch and I asked her to swing by the library to pick it up. I read the subtitle to her: A Story of the One Principle That Frees the Human Spirit. Do tell! I responded with sarcasm.

While that statement is a tall glass of water, it delivers a thirst-quenching story of forgiveness.

Andrews writes, "Where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender has to approve it, accept it, or even know about i
3.5 stars.

Historical Fiction is a genre I have always enjoyed and I've come to enjoy WWI & WWII HF a lot. This was a story that was different then the run of the mill type WWII fiction stories. I always appreciate that and the author's creativity. This was kind of a sweet story, but that isn't such a bad thing when dealing with the ugliness of war.

There were some things glossed over with this book, but I think the author stayed focused on the story he was unfolding without clouding the big
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty sure this is going down as one of my favorite books. I absolutely loved it!

Andrews weaves a story of finding German WWII artifacts buried in a can on his ocean front property and Josef and Helen's journey to find peace and forgiveness. Andrews offers photos of buttons, a couple of photographs, a ring, and a medal he found digging up the roots to an old tree. He then seeks to find the story for these items being deposited on the beach.

What he discovers is really quite shocking. German
Jesseca Wheaton
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
WOW! I loved this book so much!!! I seriously had no idea if I was going to like it. I saw it at our library used-book-sale shelf, and decided to give it a try. (You can't beat $0.50 for a hardback!)
It was so good! It took me a little while to get into it, and the writing seemed a little slow but the story was amazing! Also, there seemed to be more telling than showing, but it didn't really bother me at all. It was just hard to wade through some of it. ;)
But the ending was just .. ahh!! I can't
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book and really enjoyed the authors voice as he narrated. I loved the story about second chances and the love story of it all. However the romance was a bit lacking. I loved the forgiveness in this book and the two sides it came from. Very interesting story about subs in U.S. Waters. War is so crazy and unpredictable.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually listened to this book and really enjoyed it. I LOVED the author's reading voice. It made it all the more enjoyable hearing this story. A sad story but yet endearing.
Jo-Anne Puggioni
The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews tells the story of two broken lives on opposite sides of enemy lines during the second world war in 1942. During this time German subs or u-boats are in the Gulf of Mexico to sink U.S. vessels and also carry goods and fuel. It was interesting reading about this part of US history that I hadn't heard about before.

A woman who was widowed due to the war discovers a wounded German soldier on the beach one night. These two lives are thrust together by circumstances, a
At first it took a bit to get into the story, a fairly good romance and WW2 themed story based upon real events located in Alabama. It was fun to hear the names of towns that I have been to and especially Robertsdale where my sister lives. Of course the location helped with my enjoyment of the book. I did feel that the book itself had a very clear storyboard from beginning, the middle of the book was the most intriguing and then the slow decline to the end, a little too predictable for me. I thi ...more
Rachael Burrows
Absolutely powerful book on forgiveness. I have read so many books about WWII and this was another perspective of that time period. I have a growing collection of WWII books (about 150...and those are not counting all the ones on my kindle). I keep reading trying to understand the "why's" of Hitler's Germany. Not all Germans were Nazis...I would love to meet Josef and Helen in person. Andy told this tale in a very moving way. It truly has taught me about the power of forgiveness..
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
C-H-E-E-S-E, that spells The Heart Mender. This story could have been so much better, one of those "based on a true story" novels. But instead it's a self help book with a theme that's crammed down your throat and with possibly the worst dialogue I've ever read.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So interesting!
I loved this book because it taught me a history lesson, it showed me true love and reasons to forgive. Another title, where it became informative to details not shared to the American public and a loss of lives before we were officially in the war. I was shocked when I finished chapter two. A damn shame too! A title for all to read and be astounded at the historical facts and a real story about a man and a woman who fell in love during a tragedy. Both had lost and both had everything to gain wi ...more
Dan Gobble
Andrews' narrative offers insight into German U-Boat activities in American waters during WWII. Not much was reported on regarding the German Navy's attempt to disrupt shipping right here in our own waters, and in particular about how these U-Boats were refueled and supplied with food so far from Germany. Apparently there were people here in the United States who helped the German subs get food and fuel simply for the money. This was done covertly under the cover of darkness.
Andrews also offers
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, adult
This was an enjoyable book with many different parts to it. There was a theme of forgiveness throughout. There were interesting facts about German U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico during WWII. There was a historical fiction feel to it, and you're left not quite sure whether it is a true story or not. I enjoyed the story a lot more than the writing, and the story is definitely worth reading.

"Familiar with the place, I stepped from my vehicle and ventured over to the edge of the driveway to look at t
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the first glance of the cover of this book/story, the reader can gain some insight into what they will find inside. Is it a love story, a story of intrigue, a story of espionage, a war story, a story of a combination of two or more? These are the questions that each reader will have to decide for themselves.

As I started my journey towards the story line and answers to the questions noted above, I was immediately captivated by the characters. What I especially liked was the initial part of the
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful story takes place along the Gulf of Mexico and alternates between 1942 and current day. There are two stories being told and some very important life lessons being relayed in this book. The current day story involves the author, Andy Andrews and his discovery of some photos, buttons from a military uniform and some military medals... all buried in his yard in Florida.He begins an investigation as to how and why these items were buried in his yard seemingly forgotten. Just who was ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Last night, I read the last page of The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. I was astonished by this true story. I kept thinking to myself that it couldn’t’ be true but it was! If it was fiction, it would be too incredible.

The author lives on the coastline of where Alabama and Florida meet. He went outside one day to cut down a big bayberry tree. He was tried to dig up the roots and when he realized this was an impossible job, he hit his shovel on a restaurant sized can. He opened the can and found s
Jo Linsdell
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When author Andy Andrews unearthed a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artefacts he began an investigation into the past that lead to a moving story about the power of forgiveness and being able to let go.

Josef Landermann’s uniform leaves Helen Mason with no doubt that his near lifeless body is that of a German sailor. Given that the country is in full scale commitment to WWII and as a recent widow of the war, Helen’s first instinct is to leave him there to die until something changes her
Jun 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading historical fiction and looked forward to reading Andy Andrews’ The Heart Mender. The author said this book was his best work, so I was expecting a knock-out story. While the story had excellent potential to be a really GREAT read, I felt the book fell short. Within the first couple chapters and before the main 1942 storyline even started, I knew how the story would end and which present day characters would turn out to be the 1942 couple. It was just too obvious.

I enjoyed the st
Jul 14, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This was a fascinating story of war, faith and forgiveness. One of my favorites quotes:
“History tells us that a democracy is always temporary in nature. It simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government… a democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can literally vote themselves gifts from the public treasury. From the moment that revelation is made, the majority proceeds to vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury. The fin
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, read-in-2010, arc
3.5 stars

Even as a person fascinated with WWII history, I wasn't bowled over by this book, but I did find it to be a fairly interesting read. The author says that it is a true story, and since we all know that truth is stranger than fiction, I have no reason not to believe him. The romantic in me loved the love story between Josef and Helen, and the history buff found the the German U-boat officer's tale interesting.

The book is listed as a self-help, inspirational book, not history, and there ar
3.5 stars. I didn't realize this novel was based on facts and some actual people until the very end.
There were German submarines right off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico! A little too close for comfort.
I liked that I learned interesting, little known facts, like some German submarines would approach their target and order them to quickly disembark. They would blow up their ship, then provide them with water canteens and point them to the nearest landfall! The human difference between Nazi's an
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book has me intrigued even today after having read it a few years ago. This is a historical fiction book but it was also written as a "motivational" story. THe author Andy Andrews writes this story as it really happened but then tries to say that it really is fiction to protect the people in the story. It is a story that addresses the Uboats that would sit out in the Gulf of Mexico just off the panhandle of florida. It tells the love story of one of the soldiers that is washed up onto the b ...more
Joy Carter
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out really slow for me but after a couple of chapters I was hooked and absorbed into the story. I really enjoyed reading and finding out what was going to happen next as the story progressed. A great historical fiction that leaves me it really true??? Very enjoyable and setting was a place I just visited...Perdido Key FL/Gulf Shores AL so made it more real for me.
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful true story! I was astounded that I had never heard of German U-boats in the Gulf. We had some Germans come ashore here, in Ponte Vedra Beach, and they were captured, and I believe killed. The dose of forgiveness in the book was a little heavy, but heartfelt and certainly worthy. Andrews' passage about the downfall of democracies was VERY eerie, and I thought so applicable to where our country is today. I was "blown away" by it. I highly recommend this book to all!
Terry Becker
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This "novel" is one of the best books I've read recently. Though categorized as fiction because, in part, of the addition of dialogue and names that were changed, the story is true...and compelling. Andrews' passages on forgiveness? Worth remembering. I cannot recommend The Heart Mender highly enough!
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love how the author took a piece of history that is not well known and used it to teach us about forgiveness and second chances. The story really came alive for me and I loved the characters in this book.
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~ Hailed by a New York Times writer as a "modern-day Will Rogers who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America."

~ Spoken at the request of four different U.S. Presidents

~ Every single minute a book by Andy Andrews is sold somewhere in the world!

~ New York Times Bestselling Author of The Noticer and The Traveler's Gift

More about Andy Andrews...
“There are no hopeless situations, sweetheart, only people who have grown hopeless about them. You still have choices you can make.” 22 likes
“We begin to forgive by choosing to forgive . . . by deciding, not by feeling. Our feelings don't lead us to forgive. Most times, our feelings lead us the other way. That's why a person has to decide to forgive first. Our feelings always follow along behind our decisions.” 22 likes
More quotes…