Friday, April 6, 2018

Book Review - The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamare

Book Synopsis
London, 1881

He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It's only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women's medical school. He's supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he's made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

My Review
The Heart's Appeal is the second book in the London Beginnings series by Jennifer Delamare.  I enjoyed reviewing the first book, The Captain's Daughter, last year (see review here). 

The Heart's Appeal is set in Victorian England.  It tells the story of Julia Bernay, who travels to London to study medicine.  She has worked as a nurse but wants to become a doctor, a field that is just beginning to offer some opportunities for women in the 1880's.  As she travels to the university, a train accident changes her life.  She helps an injured passenger, a lawyer named Michael Stephenson.  Their lives becomes entwined, especially as they become friends (with a romantic interest!) and as Julia finds that Michael is working on a lawsuit that threatens the university where she is studying.

I found this novel absolutely fascinating.  I knew nothing about women in medicine in Victorian England and found that aspect of the book immediately interesting.  It took so much courage and determination for women to pursue a career in medicine at that time.

I really liked the character of Julia.  She is independent, brave, and also very caring.  Michael is also an admirable character.  Julia is guided by faith and Michael is guided by a sense of propriety and the desire to do the right thing.  

There was a brief glimpse of Rosalyn from the first book in this series, but the novel really focuses on Julia.  It would work as a standalone read, although I recommend the first book in the series, The Captain's Daughter, highly as well.

The historical details and sense of time and place is very well done and sure to please fans of historical fiction.

My only quibble is that the book ended a bit too soon, right in the middle of a dramatic scene.  I wish it had continued a bit longer!

I recommend The Heart's Appeal, and this series, to fans of historical fiction and Christian fiction.

Author Bio
Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House.

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