Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Hearts of Honor #1
Cristina Stiles is left to fend for herself and her two young children while her husband goes off to fight in the Confederate army. She also has to deal with two rogue Yankee soldiers who’ve beaten her, stolen her food, and keep coming back to cause more trouble.
Jack Fuller is a God-fearing Christian fighting for the Union. During a surprise encounter, he shoots and kills a Rebel soldier. In his final breaths, the Rebel asks Jack to deliver a letter to his wife—and he agrees. But when he arrives at Cristina’s small farm in West Virginia, she assumes Jack is one of the Yankee trouble-makers, trains her rifle on him, and fires. As he lies on the ground bleeding, he explains the purpose of his visit, and out of a sense of obligation, she decides to nurse him back to health.
What will happen when Cristina discovers Jack is the one who made her a widow? Will her rebel heart forgive him—or finish him off?
Reviewer: Abigail Harder
I have mixed feelings about this book, while I enjoyed the story overall, there were parts that dragged and I honestly had a very difficult time getting through this book. The characters, once I got about 100+ pages started to become more alive and not as flat, that was one of the reasons why it took me a while to get into the book was because I had a difficult time relating and connecting to the characters. The plot was definitely unique due to the fact that it was a Union soldier who fell in love with a Confederate widow.
I did feel like their romance was a little flat in some aspects but overall was well done. The one part that I highly disliked was reading in the two villains point-of-views because just the way they talked and thought was not enjoyable. Due to their conversations and thoughts, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under the age of 16. Though this book had its faults, overall, this was a decent book.
I received this book from the author through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Reviewer: Connie Porter Saunders
Her Rebel Heart has many things that I love in a novel. It is historical fiction set during the Civil War, and along with a romance that made my heart race, there is also a deep faith message that isn't normally found in a work of fiction. It's very apparent that author Sharlene MacLaren has put a lot of effort into researching West Virginia in 1863, and she shows us a side of the Civil War that we often overlook. Cristina Stiles doesn't live on a plantation, and she doesn't have a maid or 'mammy' to help her with her children. In fact, Cristina is the sole provider for her son and daughter as her husband fights for the Confederacy, and her life is very hard. Sadly, she is a true depiction of what most women endured during this war that divided our nation.
Her Rebel Heart's first pages show Cristina being brutally assaulted by a Union soldier, so her dislike and distrust of the North are truly strong and deep. Is it any wonder that she would shoot another Union soldier who appears at her door? The story that follows shows an awakening in Cristina. Even though she has been a faithful wife to Orville, it becomes obvious that her love wasn't the deep, all-consuming romance we all long for. As she nurses Jack Fuller after shooting him, she experiences a connection she didn't know was possible. And for the first time, Cristina witnesses what a true Christian is. Jack believes in God, he lives for God, and he wants Cristina to experience the joy of having a personal relationship with God. As their friendship deepens into love, Cristina learns that Jack is actually the soldier who shot and killed her husband. Will their chance for true love and happiness end with this discovery?
If you are a fan of history who especially enjoys reading about the Civil War era and, if you yearn for a 'take-your-breath-away' romance, you need to read Her Rebel Heart. It is certainly one of the best books that I've read this year!
This book was provided courtesy of the author through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Amy Smelser
It has been awhile since I have read an Sharlene MacLaren book and this one hit the spot. This was a story of survival, family, and romance during the Civil War. The author does not shy away with some of the grittiness, the deaths, the evil of some men which makes these characters feel all the more precious.
War is horrible and tiring and Union soldier Jack Fuller has seen enough of it. So has apparently Rebel soldier Orville Stiles. When they meet that fateful day on the battlefield, Orville's actions reverberates through Jack's life along with those of Orville's wife and two children.
This is not a story of a rich plantation owner or a debutante looking for a gentleman, this is a story of a widow who is doing her best to survive and make sure her children survive the war.
The characters came alive to me and I especially felt for 10-year old Elias who is growing up way too fast and doing and thinking too many man's thoughts.
Jack was a noble hero, who was forgiving and brought a calm to this hurting family, even though he carried a dark, dark secret.
Cristina was a tough, no-nonsense woman who would fight for all she holds dear. We meet her in a very dangerous predicament and that opening scene will stand out to me as one of the most harrowing I have read in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
I received a copy of this novel from the author through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Deanne Patterson
This is the first book in the Hearts of Honor series.
Taking place in West Virginia during the year 1863, it's the thick of the Civil War. Cristina Stiles has had her Confederate husband go off to war several years previously, and she's responsible for the care of their two young children. Civil War fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, and this really fit the bill for what I was looking for in a book. It brought together many elements from tension and danger-filled days to peace and harmony.
Out of obligation, Union soldier Jack Fuller volunteers to deliver a letter to a rebel soldier's wife. This woman is Cristina, who has been harassed in the past by men at her home, and when she sees Jack riding up, she doesn't let him speak, thinking he is there to do the same thing and shoots him. Though she doesn't kill him, he's badly wounded, and she takes him in to care for him with the help of an older neighbor woman. She only does this because she feels an obligation to do so after she finds out the reason for his visit.
Many men have fallen for their caregivers during the Civil War, sparks just seem to fly, and it doesn't matter if they're Union or Confederate. Is this what is happening in the case of the Union soldier and the woman he greatly admires, his rebel nurse? What will happen though when he reveals an unspoken secret? Will love prosper in this cruel land or not be able to be sustained like the tumbleweeds blowing across the desert?
It was heartwarming to see Cristina's spiritual journey come alive and her bringing her children to Christ as well. Highly recommended to lovers of westerns and civil war historical fiction. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series and others by this author.
This book was provided by Baker Publishing Group, Revell Division, through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Abigail Harris
Civil war romances have long been a favorite genre of mine. I've been reading about the civil war since I was eight and reading picture books to my siblings. I have always loved learning about the civil war and how it changed America. While it is such a sad and hard time it was also a good time.
The blurb told me that I would enjoy the book, I knew that I may be slightly annoyed with the romance but I wasn't, not at all, I did dislike that Jack and Cristina kissed when they did, I felt that it was too soon, not to mention inappropriate since they barely knew each other and he had given her the news of her husband's death.
The kids, oh, my heart broke for the kids who were without their father and lived in a fearful time, but, my, Elias was brave for a kid and I loved how he took care of everything he could for his family and how he let his sister follow along even when h didn't want to have her follow. It was so sweet.
Jack, sweet Jack! He really needed some help at times. Between being shot, giving the news of Cristina's husband's death, and being around a boy that hated him he really could have used a friend … Which he had in God, I liked Jack's simple faith. He was a truly good character.
I liked the way the whole book tied together, and the slight mystery was well added though I didn't love the way the bad guy was so nasty. While he made a good bad guy since you know, he was a bad guy and you weren't supposed to like him. I didn't need his point of view.
A sweet romance that is perfect for a rainy day.
Better for older readers given the bad guy.
This book was provided courtesy of the author, through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
When I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. A perfect beginning to a new series! I knew there was a good story inside just waiting to be read, and I wasn't disappointed.
I love Sharlene. I try never to miss any of her books! She's just such an awesome writer, and her stories are very realistic and believable. I can always tell that she writes from the heart. Her love for historical fiction shines through the pages of this book.
Christina and Jack will have you hooked from the beginning until the end of this story. While they had my attention throughout the book, so did another character, Clive Horton. I did not like him from the get-go. He's sneaky and underhanded all the way around.
The setting of West Virginia was beautiful. I've been there so I could easily imagine myself in the book during the Civil War. The themes of faith are very uplifting and leave your heart feeling full and satisfied until the end.
I gave this book 5 stars because the writing and the cover combined is just superb. If you love to read about the Civil War and the events that happened in this book, I highly recommend it.
I received this book courtesy of the author through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
Her Rebel Heart is a stirring story of love, faith, and forgiveness amidst the backdrop of the civil war. The writing style put me right into the middle of the action and stirred up my emotions from the very start. It was inspirational without being preachy.
I loved Jack’s character. He’s a man of conviction who sticks by his faith even in the midst of the evils of war. When he shoots a rebel soldier who makes a request of him with his last breath, he has no choice but to follow through.
He meets Cristina Stiles from the wrong end of a gun and ends up convalescing in her home full of rebels. As he recovers he finds himself praying for this little family, and becoming intertwined in their lives. Jack is not afraid to share his faith, but he is afraid to tell Cristina that he’s the one who killed her husband.
Can Christina’s newfound faith, and forgiveness along with some divine intervention build a foundation for a new life for both Jack and the family he’s come to love?
This story has depth to the characters that you don’t find in every
book. Elias grabbed my heart with his loyalty to his mother, and his desire to be the man of the house in his father’s absence. Christina’s sincere desire to care for her family, and explore her faith in a real way endeared her to me. Clara made me smile with her no nonsense personality, and I wanted to jump in the book and take out the antagonists myself.
Overall this is a great historical read that I recommend.
This book was given to me Courtesy of the author through Interviews and Reviews and this is my honest assessment of the book.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Her Rebel Heart by Sharlene MacLaren is a heart-warming tale of God's forgiveness, love and mercy.
The premise of this story is a good one. A Yankee soldier is delivering a letter to the wife of a Confederate, whom he shot. And what happens? She shoots him! But not before she learns about the letter from her husband, the soldier (Jack) carries. Her guilt about shooting him, in light of his mission, overwhelms her, and with the help of her friend Clara, they nurse him back to health. And that is where this love story encompasses not just the growing love between a man and a woman, but the love God has for us all.
The realistic interactions between the characters allowed the author not only to show mercy, love and forgiveness growing in both their hearts for each other but allowed Jack to introduce Christina and her children to a God they did not know. I don't believe I have ever read a fictional book that so clearly and diligently laid out the Gospel message. Some might find it "preachy," but I found it extraordinary how the author managed to present it so casually through her characters. She has indeed taken up the calling of discipleship and is spreading the message of God's love through this book. If anyone has any doubt that "writing" is not something God can use, they need to read Her Rebel Heart, because it is clear God uses our talents if we open ourselves to His guidance.
I loved how, through Christina, all the questions about God and forgiveness were asked and answered either by Jack or other people that crossed Christina's path. The same thing happens in real life when God is working His way into the heart and conscience of one who is curious about Him. He is always one step ahead of us because He knows what we will do and how we will react in every situation.
This is an excellent book for those who are wondering about God because they can enjoy a book that will keep them entertained, and also discover God's grace at the same time. I highly recommend it!
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