A Heart Most Certain / by Melissa Jagears. (Teaville Moral Society, 1) 12.28.2016

Bethany House ISBN 9780764217517

Adult (HS) Rating: 4

Award-winning author Melissa Jagears pens another historical fiction novel, this one set in Kansas during the early 1900s.

In A Heart Most Certain, Lydia King finds herself courted by Sebastian Little, an inspiring politician in Teaville. Lydia’s mother is getting sicker by the week, and her father’s debts are piling up. Marriage to Sebastian will secure her future, setting her dying mother’s mind at ease.

However, when Sebastian’s mother asks her to obtain a donation for the Teaville Moral Society from Nicholas Lowe–the wealthiest man in town–things begin to fall apart. At first Nicholas refuses, and then he agrees, as long as Lydia will agree to his own conditions. As they work together, they uncover Little family secrets that require them to expose the Littles’ involvement in corruption. Can they stand firm in their beliefs, even when it costs them that which they hold dear?

Jagears’ novel has excellent character development, a clear faith element (without being preachy), and solid historical detail. The relationship between Lydia and Nicholas builds slowly, as each grapples with their response to God’s leading them to confront the corruption of local politicians. The book’s focus is on rescuing those caught in the net of prostitution and helping them to build a new life in Christ. The reactions of the townspeople as Nicholas and Lydia try to help the former prostitutes mirror how the reader might react to anyone upsetting one’s comfortable setting, whether in church or elsewhere. Confronting evil and taking a stand takes courage, the kind that Lydia and Nicholas display.

Recommended for adults and high school students in school and public libraries. Fans of Regina Jennings and Jen Turano will enjoy this series.

Carol R. Gehringer, worthy2read.wordpress.com