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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Orphaned Hearts by Shawna K. Williams



Orphaned Hearts by Shawna K. Williams
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing, holiday
Genre: Historical, Inspirational
Length: Short Story(87 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Pastor David Langley understands six-year old Caleb Holsheyer -- what it feels like to be damaged and alone. His family killed in a fire, and his body severely burned, David grew up in an orphanage, ridiculed and shunned. He couldn’t let that be Caleb’s fate.

When adoption plans fall through, David is desperate to find Caleb a new home. But in the midst of the Great Depression, most families are barely getting by. No one seems willing to take on the responsibility of an extra mouth, especially one belonging to a crippled child.

Except for Sadie Miller, the town spinster. In Sadie, David sees the answer to Caleb's needs. But Child Welfare doesn't agree, and demands other arrangements be found, or the boy be returned to the orphanage.

David and Sadie team up, determined to find a home for an orphaned child, but while searching, might they find a family instead.

William’s Orphaned Hearts presents an intriguing contrast between the power of faith and the basic, limiting struggles of humankind.

It’s the Great Depression, and the holidays approach. Single Pastor David Langley, himself once an orphan, reaches out to a young Caleb, an orphan in his parish. David knows loneliness and he tries to avert the sad life he expects Caleb to struggle into…but the authorities will prevent him from doing all he hopes for the boy. He knows how much Caleb will desire a home – but he doubts himself as able to make a difference, and he struggles even to understand his own feelings.

Sadie Miller is a townie and a spinster and seems the perfect solution for Caleb. She’s also a super tough and persistent lady; definitely not one to dwell on what ‘could have been.’ Of all the characters, she’s the absolute standout, and although she understands both sorrow and loneliness, she never dwells on it, but pursues ideas and life in general with admirable determination. She admits hopes about David – but David’s thoughts seem to bound between the past and hopes for the future.

In fact, David’s sad moments of self-reflection and dwelling on the past might be slightly overdone – we do revisit the pastor’s history to add pathos to many a scene. This does slow the plot on occasion, but you will certainly never be tempted to stop reading. It is after all, David’s tragedy – his loss, his remembered loneliness and desire for a home - that ties together all the challenges presented in this novel.

For tragedy is indeed the background for this moving novel; past tragedies, current sorrows and un-ordinary struggles; yet the tone (though there is some gentle sadness) is not melancholy. There is a persistent underlying goodness that gives us hope throughout. Love, we feel certain, will surely lead to a kind of triumph… Williams handles this emotionally moving story with enormous subtlety. Dark though any description might seem, the book itself is uplifting. Do read.

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