This book did not receive a review in the RITA® Reader Challenge, and so I’ve found some strong reviews elsewhere to supplement the collection. I did not, however, assign a letter grade. This book finaled in the Inspirational Romance category.
Plot Summary: Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons’ lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge’s physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand—her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to repeat the mistakes her mother made. But when she’s courted by a wealthy client of the local resort, she faces a choice: self-sufficiency and security or the risk inherent in the deepest of loves.
I have a bit of a confession. I attempted to read this book for this challenge. I downloaded a sample and read it. The writing was very strong, the characters were defined quickly and the prose, while sometimes edging toward the florid and fluffy, was compelling and I wanted to find out more. But a review on Amazon made me reconsider, simply because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy a book that was a “tearjerker.” I suck, I know. I could not embark on something that I knew was going to hurt, even with the promise of a happy ending.
However, I can say, based on the sample, that Alexander is one heck of a writer, and I can understand why this book has 107 reviews on Amazon with an average of four stars, and a 4.17 star average on GoodReads.
The review that made me pause was written by Nay Chaw and reads:
Right from the start I knew that Within My Heart was going to be a real tearjerker and by the time the end rolled around I had to break out the tissues. That said, this book was almost too sad. There was so much grief and sorrow throughout. I will say this however, the relationship between Rand and Rachel which grew out of their love and respect for one of their patients was beautiful to read. I also felt that the ending fit with the rest of the story. There was no unbelievable, sugary-sweet ending but a nice, natural closure for most of the characters.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance you will want to put this book off till later (but definitely plan to read it). If you want a story of forgiveness, loss, and love that will keep you reading until the wee hours, read this. Tamera Alexander is a premier Christian fiction author who writes books that touch the heart and teach lessons that we can all learn from.
Author Dawn Kinzer also reviewed this book :
Rachel fears that if she loses the ranch or cares for another man, she’ll dishonor her dead husband, who she deeply loved. Without knowing his history, Rand’s fear might seem irrational, but the cause of his fear makes it believable. It’s so real, it almost has a paralyzing affect on him. Both must overcome their fears if they are to live freely and fully.
Many things contributed to making this novel one of my new favorites: great writing, the setting, the characters and their relationships, a relatable theme, and the way medicine was incorporated into the story.