Matters of the Heart: A Shumard Oak Bend Novel, is Book 3 in the Discerning God’s Best Series by author Heidi Gray McGill. This is a Christian historical novel that does not hide its Christian message. Brava author McGill! I adore Christian novels where the inspirational and faith messages are not hidden or diluted. If you have not read the first two books in this series, you will be able to follow alone just fine. It makes a nice stand alone book. You will, however, be missing two great back stories that are equally as wonderful as this one.
The author has done a wonderful job. The storyline is engaging. I was immediately invested in the story and characters. There were a few twists and turns thrown in for surprises. Characters are believable. They are down to earth and easily relatable. Descriptions were on point and took me back in time to 1866 Missouri. The writing style is very nice. The story is told from two different points of view. Each chapter is clearly noted as to whose it is.
This is the story of feisty Irish immigrant Katie Murphy and Finnish immigrant Hans Korhonen who fought in the Civil War. Each are searching for a new beginning. These characters are open and had me emotionally invested. Katie was a fun, fireball. She was determined to follow God and His plan for her. Hans is not sure about God. He is goes back and forth between being closed off to open and lovable.
I thought this was an extremely entertaining and inspirational read. The more I read, the more I felt that I was part of the community. The characters felt like friends. A few were quirky and provided humor. It was very enjoyable.
I highly recommend Matters of the Heart. It gets a 4 star rating from me. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest thoughts.
About the Book
Book: Matters of the Heart
Author: Heidi Gray McGill
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 15, 2022
When those experiencing the same fate she endured show up at her doorstep…
Katie determines to be their champion, no matter the fallout.
Will the man who fought for the other side also fight for her?
Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.
He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.
Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.
Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.
Fusing Faith and Fiction™
True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.
More from Heidi
Where did the idea for Matters of the Heart originate?
Before I was an author, I was the founder and director of an English as a Second Language ministry. The program touched the lives of students from 35 different countries. Regardless of culture, religion, language, or age, I found a substantial similarity in these students—they all wanted to improve their lot in life and that of their children.
Stories abounded of walks across deserts, financial hardships, desperate attempts to explain emergencies to medical professionals or law enforcement, failed verbal connections with schoolteachers, and an inability to obtain work because of their lack of language skills. Prejudice and distrust blocked them, culture shock took them outside their comfort zones, and the urgent need to survive made them scramble to dig deep inside and find creative ways to secure shelter and put food on their tables.
It wasn’t that these immigrants weren’t capable of achieving success. In their home countries, vocations varied from chemist and biologist with PhDs, to teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals. Others came from poverty and had little education but were not afraid of hard work, long hours, and low pay. They were tenacious, and they worked with relentless determination and a bullheaded resolve to achieve their goals. They relied on each other and soaked in everything around them in their desire to assimilate into the American culture and find a new place to belong.
Immigrants in the late 1800s were not much different. Individuals came to improve their lot in life and be a part of the greatest country in the world. In Matters of the Heart, Hans Korhonen left Finland with his brothers to take advantage of the land grants. Together, they worked to establish a farm large enough to sustain four families and support troops during the Civil War. Yet, in their desire to belong and give back to our great nation, Hans’s idyllic life changed through his service as a Union soldier.
Kathleen Murphy, or Katie, came to the United States to escape a life of extreme poverty and abuse in Ireland. Working in her aunt and uncle’s boarding offered more than a job. It provided the love and support of a family. Katie rose from her previous station and started fresh with hope on the horizon. She found a source of ministry that gave her life a purpose she’d not had before.
My association with my former ESL students helped me develop the characters in this book into individuals with which readers can identify.
Join Katie and Hans as they establish themselves in their new home of Shumard Oak Bend.
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To celebrate her tour, Heidi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of the first three books in the series!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.