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6.29.2015

Hearts Made Whole ~ Review and Author Interview

Hearts Made Whole
Beacons of Hope 2
By Jody Hedlund

Hearts Made Whole is the second book in the Beacons of Hope series.  Set at the Windmill Point Lighthouse we are taken on trip to 1865's Michigan.  The country is recovering from years of war that have torn at its very foundations.

As the country rebuilds, two individuals struggle to rebuild their lives in Lake St. Clair.  Caroline Taylor is trying to retain her position as light-keeper, one that she assumed temporarily at her father's death.  But standing in her way is Ryan Chambers, a man haunted by the horrors of war and his wounds - physical and emotional.  Both need this position.  Caroline to care for her younger siblings and Ryan in an attempt to right the wrongs he feels burdened by.

But letting go of our guilt is often the only way to heal.  Can Ryan let go of his guilt?  Can he accept that sometimes we need a helping hand to make our hearts whole again.  And true freedom from the guilt that binds our hearts can only be found in the forgiveness offered to us by God.

But Hearts Made Whole is more than just an entertaining story, it is a step back in time.  And not that far a step back at that.  A time when inequities were being fought.  A simpler time, though not necessarily an easier time.  A time when rights were being fought for.  A time of unrest.  A time when healing was being sought.  Not all that different from the world in which we find ourselves today.

Jody has a talent for bringing a piece of history to life, introducing us to characters which we grow to care for and others which we loath more with each encounter.  Her story and the characters that populate it have a depth that can at time be lacking in other works.  Her characters add the extra dimension that a page needs to make it three dimensional.

I was provided a copy of this book through the generosity of both the publisher and the author in exchange for my honest review.


Jody's Bio:
Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves history and happily-ever-
afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she's not
writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating
chocolate, and reading.

Contact Jody:
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com
For lots of fun pictures, follow me on Pinterest: pinterest.com/jodyhedlund
I get personal on Instagram: instagram.com/JodyHedlund/
Or you're welcome to email me at: jodyhedlund@jodyhedlund.com


Interview with Jody Hedlund

1. How did you come up with the idea for Hearts Made Whole?

Historical textbooks are full of stories about men like George Washington, Thomas Edison, Andrew
Carnegie, and so many more.  And while such men are truly remarkable, all too often their stories
overshadow equally courageous and remarkable women. One of my goals as an author is to help bring forgotten women of the past to life.

In the Beacons of Hope series, I'm focusing on historical women light keepers who have often been kept in the dark by the more prominent stories of their male counterparts.

As I researched for writing a lighthouse series, I came across a fantastic book called, Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The book is a tribute to the approximately 50 or so women who served either as primary or assistant keepers in Michigan Lighthouses.

I based the heroine in Hearts Made Whole on one of those women light keepers. It's my hope to bring her and the other women keepers out of the historical shadows and into the spotlight.

2. Is there anything about this second lighthouse book that ties it to the first one? Or are they both stand alone novels that can be read in any order?

All of the books in the Beacon of Hope series can stand alone. Readers don't need to read one book to understand the next. However, I do recommend starting with the novella, Out of the Storm (free in
ebook format) which lays the foundation for a common theme that stretches through each book in the
series.

The hero of Hearts Made Whole, Ryan Chambers, is the brother of the heroine from the first book (Love Unexpected). Readers will enjoy meeting the younger, more carefree Ryan in Love Unexpected. But they'll fall in love with him in Hearts Made Whole even if they haven't yet met him in book 1.

3. Many of the heroines in your books are inspired by real women. Is that true of the heroine in 
Hearts Made Whole? If so, what women provided inspiration?

The woman light keeper in Hearts Made Whole is inspired by Caroline Antaya. Caroline lived at the
Mamajuda Lighthouse on the Detroit River a short distance away from Windmill Point Lighthouse.

Caroline's husband served with honor in the Union army during the Civil War, losing several fingers on his hand at Gettysburg. Eventually after returning from the war, her husband was named as keeper of the Mamajuda Lighthouse, but he passed away of tuberculosis.

Part of what really impressed me about Caroline Antaya's situation was that she had been doing a
fantastic job as a light keeper. But the district lighthouse inspector trumped up charges against her
saying that she was in ill-health and incompetent. He took away her position simply because she was a woman and gave it to a man instead. Fortunately, her community rose to her defense and enlisted the help of a Michigan Senator to help her get her position back and she went on to serve as a light keeper for another three years.

In those days, when women were regularly discriminated against because of gender, Caroline's story is inspirational and an encouragement to persevere in the face of injustice. I admired Caroline's will to stand up for herself and to pave the way for women coming after her to use their God-given talents and abilities in roles and jobs that had previously been closed to women.

4. You also like to base your villains on real Michigan criminals. Who inspired the villain in Hearts Made Whole?

The villain in Hearts Made Whole is Stephen Simmons, a real rogue from the pages of Michigan history. While he lived in the early 1800's in the decades before the Civil War, I used this villain as the basis for Mr. Simmons in the book. He had a tavern outside of Detroit and was a Goliath-of-a-man. At first he gave the impression of being cultured and educated. But once people got to know him, they realized what a brute he really was.

The community where Simmons lived grew to fear him because when he was under the influence of
alcohol, he searched out his enemies, picked fights, and inflicted painful beatings. Eventually he killed his wife in a drunken rage.

5. Do you do a lot of research for your novels? Do you do it before, in the middle, or after you write your novel.

Since I write historicals, research is an integral part of my writing process. I usually spend anywhere
between 4-6 weeks on initial research, reading biographies, getting a feel for the time period, and
digging into the meat that will comprise the plot of my book.

Once I start writing the first draft, I have to stop from time to time to do a little more research,
particularly if I switch settings within the story. But usually, if I don’t know something, I’ll highlight it and then do more research during my editing phase.

6. What do you do to get away from it all?

READ!! I absolutely love reading! When I find a really good book, I have a hard time tearing myself away from it to get to sleep.