Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Choices of the Heart" by Laurie Alice Eakes (Review)

ISBN:  978-0-8007-1986-9
Publish date: January 2013
$14.99 Paperback

About the book: She thought she had left her old life behind . . .

Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. When a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud - and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again. Yet could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation-and love?

In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you’ll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.

In the third book of The Midwives series, you will be transported back to 1840’s Appalachia with a tender romance that includes closely guarded secrets and a bitter feud.

My thoughts:  I previously read Laurie Alice Eakes' book A Flight of Fancy  and reviewed it here on Chat With Vera. Click to read review.  However, reading Choices of the Heart is a totally different reading experience in my opinion.  This third book in Eakes' "midwife" series is set in the isolated mountains of Virginia in 1842.  Esther Cherrett leaves her home of affluence in coastal Virginia under cover of night to obtain a position in the mountains as teacher for the uneducated  and very isolated families.  As they travel by horseback to reach their destination, she learns that she is entering a virtual hornets nest of feuding amongst families similar to that in Scotland.  Dangerous indeed.

Esther is a midwife but wishes to keep these skills a secret and not practice this  profession she learned from her mother.  However, upon seeing injuries and illness from knives, guns, and life in general she can not withhold her tender care of folks.

The rugged terrain of Appalachia, the desire of men for her company, the feuding over longheld anomosities, and ignorance are wonderfully described by Laurie Alice Eakes as she unfolds this tender story of romance and choice.  The characters are well developed and come alive on the pages of the story, and the story plot is realistic and well chartered.

The period detail provided by Eakes  is indicative of her research and brings to mind visions of the mountain folk and their times and troubles.  You feel the poverty of the people and the emotional strife as well as the longings they experience.

Without giving a spoiler clue, I'll just say the conclusion might be a bit surprising to some of you that normally get a book figured out before you reach mid-read.

I regret that I have not yet read the first two books in the midwifes series and will look forward to "catching up" later.  Though the books most likely build on the previous story, Choices of the Heart is a well-written stand alone book and there is no problem reading it without previously reading the first two.

About the author: Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, Heart's Safe Passage, A Necessary Deception, A Flight of Fancy, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of choices of the Heart  by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group on behalf of the author for the purpose of rendering my honest review. No positive remarks are required. Opinions expressed are solely my own.
“Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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