Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

4 out of 5 stars
Ex-prizefighter Levi Grant has turned over a new life. Upon his release from prison, he finds himself eager to earn an honest living in blacksmithing. The town of Spencer could use a blacksmith, and he could use a place where no one will learn too quickly about his past transgressions.
       The town librarian, Eden Spencer, has resigned herself to a contented life of singleness. She doesn't give second thought to the idea of marriage . . . until the new blacksmith starts paying regular visits to her library. As her heart blossoms toward him, her pre-conceived notions of the blacksmith begin to wither.
      Once the genteel librarian discovers Levi's previous crimes, however, he finds himself thrust into his toughest fight yet. . .winning Eden's heart.

When I pick up a Karen Witemeyer novel I've come to expect an entertaining story entwined with various lessons that will deepen my understanding of Scripture and God. While not unusual for Christian fiction to contain a spiritual message, it is a rare author who can use several verses of Scripture and write individual mini-lessons while using each to contribute to the overall message conveyed in the novel. Even rarer yet is the author who manages to pull such off and somehow still leave her readers feeling as if they haven't been bashed over the head with preaching. And Karen Witemeyer seems to do all of it with ease as she pens a delightful story.

As always, Karen Witemeyer introduces readers to compelling and dynamic characters. Having read all her novels, I've come to admire her work. While I enjoyed Eden Spencer as a heroine, I found her to be the least likable of Mrs. Witemeyer's female protagonists. It seemed she lacked any validation for her moral dilemma. Realizing, of course, that this novel takes place during an era where the heroine's reaction is quite normal and even deemed as righteous, it's important for the reader to understand Mrs. Witemeyer remains true to the time period she writes about. Modern day readers, such as myself, may find themselves irked by this unfortunate attitude that once existed in ages past, but it is nevertheless a dilemma a young woman may have found herself in .

The writing in this story is both vivid and clever. While Mrs. Witemeyer proves to be a skilled word-smith, the consistent over-use of  the"simile" throughout the story became rather taxing and at times seemed like purple prose. One will stumble upon a well written phrase, but by the time you reach it, the over-use of the device makes the cleverly written simile seem a bit clich├ęd.

Regardless of how one feels about the heroine or the similes used in the story, it's impossible to dispute the fact that this novel is definitely a great read. 

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