About the Book
MIRI BRAYDEN teeters on a razor’s edge between placating and enraging her brother, whom she depends upon for support. Yet if his anger is unleashed, so is his madness. Miri must keep his descent into lunacy a secret, or he’ll be committed to an asylum—and she’ll be sent to the poor house.
ETHAN GOODWIN’s been on the run all of his life—from family, from the law…from God. After a heart-changing encounter with the gritty Reverend John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with murder. When Ethan Goodwin shows up on Miri’s doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces.
Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her brother. Only the truth will set them free.
4 out of 5 (stars)
This book actually turned out more fun and interesting than I initially gave it credit for (sorry!). At the beginning of the story I was put off by certain elements, but as I delved deeper, a smile slowly stole its way to my lips and then my heart. I even started to laugh at the little humor elements that Michelle neatly tucked into the story! And as the story went along, I began to understand why Michelle chose to include those elements that I found so unpleasant.
Please understand that Michelle brought to light the hard side of life in the historical times, something not very common in a romance novel, at least not to the extent found in ‘A Heart Deceived’. But it made the story very real and showed that even on the most rotten side of life, God can deliver anyone. If His eye is on the Sparrow, then it definitely is on you. He is looking out for you even when you don’t know, or even deserve it. This was the essence of the story. And yes, the end was so pleasantly fairytale. Loved it!
Before I go on further about the lessons, I’d like to mention something Michelle has encouraged in me, as a writer. If you’ve been following my blog, you would know by now that I love brave writers. That is, writers who take risks, step out of the norm and weld stories that drive home difficult truths. This is one of the reasons I appreciate ‘Bleeding Heart’ so much, a book very similar in my opinion, to Janette Oke’s ‘Love Come Softly Series’. Michelle did this, especially with the type of hero she picked for this story. Ethan Goodwin is most definitely not a typical hero. In fact, I will admit his character was one of the first things I didn’t like about the story (and I’ve heard this from another reader as well). You know we girls, we’re used to those kinds of dashing heros that make us stare into space and sigh in a dreamy way. Lols! But I tell you, somewhere along the story, this guy made me laugh and smile. And hey, I even had hopeful anticipation for him and did the unbelievable—pray for him (who does that?!), something I’ve done for only the characters of the Amish Vines and Orchards Series by Cindy Woodsmall. It takes an awesome writer to take this kind of risk and construct it into something beautiful. And Ethan wasn’t the only stunt Michelle pulled here. In my opinion, she handled it well. I applaud her for that.
As for the romance between Miri and Ethan, I can understand the quiet background in which it developed, but the decisions that followed afterwards seemed too hasty for two people that didn’t have a chance to know themselves so well. It came off as desperate, especially from Miri’s side of the story.
Also, I’m finding it hard to relate the title of the book to the story.
The simple but priceless lessons were tucked subtly into the story, but glaring enough for anyone to see: it doesn’t matter what low you sink to—thief/pick pocket, alcoholic, drug addict, woman chaser—God can bring you out of it and establish you in high and honorable places, if you are willing to hold on and trust Him, even when it seems a dead-end is what you’ll meet at the end of the road. I guess sometimes in purging the mess out of your life, He may require you to go through a test of faith, perhaps the worst kind. But if you keep believing your life is in no one’s hands but God’s, and you trust He hasn’t forgotten you, the morning and the joy that comes with it, will definitely come.
This made me wonder about the case of a certain character who claimed to love and serve God. It was clear he fought many demons within and even tried to turn to God for help in his own way. But I believe his arrogance (and the very foolish kind!—is there any other?), self-righteousness/judgmental character, lack of compassion, refusal to take responsibility for his actions/condition and abusive language, stood in the way of him truly finding help. Perhaps, if he were more humble and grateful, who knows?
About the Author
Michelle Griep. I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?
You can find Michelle on her website here.
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