REFUGE OF THE HEART
District Attorney Mitchell Sanderson wanted for nothing and lost everything in a tragic accident. A dogged worker, Mitch’s conviction rate earned him respect and trust. Now up for re-election, Mitch’s law-and-order persona makes him a shoo-in candidate. But when faith, conscience and love of a troubled refugee ripple the smooth waters of his existence, can Mitch risk everything for love?
Magdalena Serida fought her way out of the terrors of a government-quelled insurgent uprising in Chechnya. The church-sponsored refugee knows the horrors of war first-hand. Now in America with her five-year-old sister, Lena is uncertain who to trust. Her Christian faith has maintained her through the loss of her family, but when Mitch Sanderson shows interest, Lena longs to take a chance. Should she open herself up to this man of law and order, a man who imprisons women like her? Or slip quietly back into the shadowed fringe of anonymity?
Herne ripped my heart out and stomped all over it during this read. It's back in place now, but still tender and fuller somehow, like the Grinch's heart that grew three sizes too big. Because that's the kind of read this is -- transforming. Opens your eyes and your heart, fills you with compassion. Urges you to walk a little taller, be a whole lot kinder and leave judgements up to God.
As a priest tells Magdalena: "But Lena, child, we're never alone...Our actions and those of others entwine. Each candle that's lit, each ripple in the sea, changes the world around us." (p.262) Refuge of the Heart changed my world and I'm sure its ripple effect will be felt for some time to come.
Lena is easy to love, to worry about, to hurt for. She bears herself with a quiet dignity that masks the agony of a dark past. Tenacious, determined, devoted to her little sister, she's trying to look ahead to a better future. One that doesn't include a man -- especially a District Attorney.
Mitch is a complicated and sometimes contradictory hero. Set the swoon meter to overload because his measured pursuit of Lena is a toe-curling delight. But, as in all her books, Herne doesn't shy away from the grit of realism. Characters lives are messy, they are honest products of their upbringing and life experience. That makes them act in ways that will test a gentle reader's heart. I actually closed the book and set it aside at one point. Washed my floors and cleaned the bathroom so I could avoid picking it up again and all the while my throat burned and my chest felt like it was in a vice-grip.
I alternately wept copious tears and cheered myself hoarse over the course of this novel. Stunning and compelling and definitely unforgettable.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Refuge of the Heart please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 20 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!