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Friday, April 18, 2008

Review: Stephanie's Surprise (book 2 Heart Junction)

Stephanie’s Surprise
by Fran Shaff

Heart Junction, South Dakota, 1913

Stephanie Porter is heartbroken when the man she wanted marries another woman. With her life empty and lonely, she focuses on advancing her teaching position in Heart Junction.

Dr. Aaron Wesley intends to use his temporary job as town doctor in Heart Junction to fill his coffers and gain further experience in practicing medicine before he moves on to a permanent job in Omaha. He doesn't expect life in a young, small town to become engaging, but when one or two of Heart Junction's citizens slowly and successfully worm their ways into his heart, he begins to question his career goals as well as his plans for his personal life.

Stephanie, quite by accident, finds herself assisting Doctor Wesley with his patients from time to time. As she helps Aaron with his work, she remembers the love she had for practicing in the medical field before her sister died while under her care. Suddenly, a profession she had given up years before tempts her to make a big change in her life--and so does the handsome young doctor she's been seeing on more than just a professional basis.

Stephanie’s Surprise is the second story in Fran Shaff’s Heart Junction Series and it is just as good as, if not better than, the first story. I can’t say if I enjoyed this second book more than the first because I was already familiar with Heart Junction and some of its inhabitants or if this story just stirred me a bit more. Either way, the Heart Junction Series isn’t one to be taken lightly. It is good historical romance.

Stephanie Porter is a teacher who has been thrown into a situation that requires she work closely with Dr. Aaron Wesley. This isn’t something Stephanie relishes, but knows she must do. After all, the welfare of the school and her students is at stake. But there is more to Stephanie than meets the eye—much more—and after a summer working closely with Aaron she knows that her life is going to change drastically. The question is: will the change be for the better or worse? Does following one’s heart preclude answering a calling?

Again, Fran Shaff’s amazing writing style swept me into this story and pulled me right along. I was completely entertained, and every minute spent reading this story was one where I felt like I was right there in Heart Junction with these characters. This is not just a happy, carefree tale. There are moments where I was moved to tears but the reality of the time made any sadness give the overall story depth. Yes, there were some very sad times but I understood they were necessary. Still, other passages made me smile so the point really is that this story was so good I was engaged—at all levels.

If realistic historical romance is something you enjoy, I can easily recommend Fran Shaff’s Heart Junction Series. Books 1 and 2 were both excellent. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Heart Junction!

Review by Peony