A Heart Divided (Heart of the Rockies - Book 1) by Kathleen Morgan
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group/Revell Books
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Pages: Paperback, 329pp
(Received for review from Revell Books)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, IndieBound
Kathleen Morgan on the WEB: website
Excerpt from A Heart Divided
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
When fate brings them together, they must choose between family ties and love.
The Caldwells and the Wainrights have been feuding for decades. Still, Sarah Caldwell has misgivings when her father pressures her into distracting a ranch hand while he and her brothers rob the Wainwright place. When it becomes clear that hand is actually Cord Wainwright, heir of the Wainwright holdings. Sarah realizes things have gone too far.
As the feud boils over, Cord and Sarah make a most inconvenient discovery - they just might be falling in love. Can they betray their families to see where this attraction leads? Or will their families betray them?
Against the beautiful wild backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in 1878 comes this sweeping saga of romance, betrayal, and forgiveness from beloved author Kathleen Morgan.
Kathleen Morgan brings readers a tale of love and betrayal in her latest novel, A Heart Divided. This book is the first in the new Heart of the Rockies series, set in the late 1800's. Morgan has a knack for creating books that touch and inspire readers. Once a writer of general fiction, Morgan has added her voice to the Christian Fiction genre and made her mark with the Brides of Culdee Creek series and the Highland Hills series. Readers will love her fresh, heart-felt writing style and commitment to spreading a message of forgiveness and hope.
Sarah Caldwell is eighteen years old and has her whole life in front of her, but the past keeps intruding. The Caldwells have been feuding with the Wainwright family for decades, ever since Jacob Calwell lost his home to Edmund Wainwright while gambling. The children have carried on the vengeful fight that began with their parents. Though many of the family members wish they could end the hostilities that have plagued their families. When Sarah's father convinces her to be a part of a plan to steal from the Wainwright's, Sarah is torn but does as he asks. What she doesn't realize is that the man she is distracting is really Cord Wainwright, heir to the Wainwright property. Cord later takes Sarah into custody awaiting the arrival of the sheriff and soon learns that not everyone wants the feud to continue. As Cord and Sarah realize their attraction to each other, they are forced to make a decision that could tear both of their families apart.
Being from Kentucky, I was very familiar with the idea of feuding families when I began this book. The small town I live in was once the sight of a deadly family feud that lasted almost 75 years. Kathleen Morgan does a remarkable job of describing the situation between the two feuding families in this book. She gives credence to the concerns and opinions of both families and details how this type of thing gets started and how it continues through generations. I loved the way she was able to show the deep rooted feelings of both sides of the argument.
Morgan has a penchant for detail. Her descriptions of the area and the everyday practices in a frontier town are vivid and come across as very authentic and believable. I enjoyed the way she sets the scene for the reader and makes them feel a part of the story. You can almost see the dust rising from the streets and feel the wind in your hair. Morgan's style is descriptive both to the senses and the emotions. Sarah's misgivings about distracting Cord are almost palpable and her regret when she learns who he is felt deeply by the reader. A writer has accomplished a great feat if they are able to make the readers feel strong emotion when reading and Morgan has certainly done that in this book.
The overall theme of forgiveness comes across as honest and heart felt in this book. Though the book is a Christian fiction title, the message is not overpowering and I believe that opens it up to a greater audience. It isn't preachy and does not try to hit the reader over the head with it's message. Morgan uses the story to show the forgiveness of God as well as the forgiveness between people. I think she did an excellent job of showing readers what a toil betrayal and vengeance can have on a family. It certainly made me rethink even minor disagreements with others.
I recommend this book to Christian fiction readers as well as mainstream romance readers. At it's core this book is a historical romance that has a greater message. This would be a great weekend read, cuddled up in front of the fire or sitting in the front porch swing with a cup of coffee in one hand, book in the other.
Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Kathleen Morgan is the award-winning author of many novels including those in the bestselling Brides of Culdee Creek series. She lives in Colorado.