The Heart's Appeal
Series: London Beginnings #2
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date March 6, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance, Christian Fiction
Setting: England Victorian Era – UK – 1837 – 1901
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.
Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
The Heart’s Appeal had such a wealth of history contained within its pages. I loved that Julia spent part of her childhood in one of the orphanages run by George Müller. Adding to the story the probable impact of being raised in this manner by such a man of faith was a great touch.
This story is a great mix of faith, history, and romance. The love the author has for the Lord and for history shines through bright and clear.
I really appreciate that the author didn’t attempt to take the easy road in the conflict of interest Michael experienced because of his attraction to Julia and the fact that he was obligated to assist the man who was trying to shut down the only medical school open to women. Additionally, during this conflict, more details about what was involved in being a barrister were shared.
Reading this book gave me a much greater appreciation for Women’s Suffrage than I had before. I have known of the inequalities between men and women but didn’t really understand the implications in the way that I do now.
While I hesitate in describing this book as “gritty”, that adjective comes to mind. Julia and Edith go to the slums of London to help and to gain medical experience in a clinic there and the circumstances and events that take place reveal deplorable conditions. With this book being about aspiring doctors, there is also quite a bit of discussion about diseases and the treatment of conditions that has the potential to affect people with weak stomachs (which would be me!) The entire story is not this way, but I felt this was worthy of mention so you would perhaps carefully pick the time when you read this. 🙂
Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere
Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.
In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.
Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.
In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:
“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”
Who couldn’t love a man like that?
Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.
Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”
Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.
Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.
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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cacd