Quite honestly, I’m not a really big fan of Christian adult fiction as a general rule. There are a few authors that I really connect well with (e.g., Nancy Moser, Francine Rivers) but the rest just don’t really do it for me. Therefore, I was a little skeptical that I would like Hallie’s Heart, by Shelly Beach (published by Kregel Publications). Turns out I needn’t have worried.
I liked Beach’s style because she doesn’t give you the whole story right at the get-go. She feeds you just a little bit of information at a time, compelling you to draw further and further into the story until you are completely lost in what is happening. She did a good job at keeping the mystery of the book alive while slowly building up your concern for the characters. I even liked her “acknowledgement” section in the front of the book where she thanks everyone who played a part in causing this book to be born. Normally I skip that part, but when I’m reading with the intent to review, I like to get a feel for what the author is like. From the acknowledgements I would guess that she’s a genuine, grateful and caring individual and that caused me to like her story even more.
As for the story itself, in an attempt to not give very much away (because the story is mysterious to some degree), I will give you the description from the back of the book’s cover:
In the small town of Stewartville, Michigan, Mona is struggling to keep her antique shop alive. But with bills piling high and a checkbook balance falling to negative numbers, Mona is ready to consider hiding from the world.
Imagine her surprise when she discovers her fifteen-year-old niece, Hallie, has done that very thing—at Mona’s beach house! Guilt-ridden, Hallie flees to her aunt’s summer house, seeking shelter from her parents and her past.
Problems with the antique shop fade into the background as Mona and Hallie face the pain and memories of the unfortunate accident on the beach that changed both of their lives. Mona has little time to find a way into Hallie’s heart before her parents return to take her home. But not before an attractive furniture designer bestows a mysterious gift and Mona is forced to confront her need to forgive others in her own painful past.
This book will cause you to care for Mona and Hallie in ways that are unexpected. They are believable and real and it was easy to feel their pain and share in their triumph. Good grief, I even cried at the end of the book! In short, I liked it.
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.