The Heart Only Grows
by Michele Paige Holmes
Published by Mirror Press
Publication Date 28 September 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
For Children’s Aid Society employee Addelaide Campbell, riding the Orphan Train is a labor of love—a last, heart-wrenching attempt to do the best she can for the children entrusted to her care. If only she could keep them all…Or at the least, keep children from the same family together. When the sheriff of Somerset, Wisconsin, offers an unexpected proposal that might allow her to do just that, Addie takes a leap of faith—or possibly insanity—and decides to accept.
Miles Linden has sworn off women, children, marriage, and family. In the two years since he lost his wife and daughter to influenza, loneliness has been his constant companion, except on Friday nights when he drowns his sorrows at the local saloon. He’s coping with this arrangement just fine, until the morning he’s rudely awakened by a pert woman and two gawking children who mistake him for a real outlaw, instead of a man sleeping off his liquor on the cot at the jail. Being awakened and accused are the least of the surprises awaiting Miles, since Addie Campbell and the Orphan Train arrived in town.
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The Heart Only Grows is a tender romance about Addie, a young lady caring for the orphans traveling through the Midwest to find homes for orphans, and several of the children under her care. If you are interested in learning more about the Orphan Train, there is an article about it on Wikipedia.
I was very touched by the plight of Addie and her love for the Daniel, Sarah and Caleb and her willingness to do anything to help them. Her distress at seeing Caleb sent off with a woman who didn’t appear to be kind showed some of the depths of her tender heart.
While the initial meeting of Addie and Miles was humorous, the overall tone of the story was more serious as it dealt with deep heart issues the main characters were dealing with. I wouldn’t consider it a tear-jerker, though, and the tale was full of hope.