Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu

Posted February 13, 2017 by meezcarrie in Christian, giveaway, Marie Wells Coutu / 6 Comments

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about the book

Truth is messy. But will their shared secret destroy his political career—or sabotage their marriage?

After a whirlwind romance, beautiful Shawna Moore marries Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee. Now, she wonders if the governor ever loved her or only hoped to avoid a scandal.

In this modern re-imagining of the biblical story of Bathsheba and King David, an investigative reporter is asking questions—the wedding took place only six weeks following the death of Shawna’s first husband in Iraq. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection, as well as Shawna’s reputation, will be ruined.

But keeping their secret is destroying their marriage.

Will Hunter’s choice mean the end of his political career or his family?

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SERIES: Mended Vessels #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: Write Integrity Press
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2017
PAGES: 262

Other Books In This Series


“Everybody has secrets. It’s what you do about them that affects your future.”

Two things set apart Marie Wells Coutu’s The Secret Heart from other reimaginings of the story of David and Bathsheba. The first is that it takes place in a modern setting. The second is that it focuses more on the deception employed to cover up the adultery than on the affair itself.

Watching Hunter and Shawna struggle to find their footing in a marriage begun on a foundation of coverups and lies really refreshed my perspective on the familiar Biblical story. The modern take on the ancient story made it come alive in new ways, particularly in how we relate to the characters, and the author did a great job of deciding what to transfer to the contemporary and what to leave within the Biblical narrative. Establishing Hunter as a governor up for re-election in the Bible Belt was a very creative choice, in my opinion, and I enjoyed seeing how she reshaped the tale from there.

While Hunter took a bit for me to warm up to, I connected (and felt for) Shawna right away.  In the Old Testament account, David’s side of the story is fairly well-developed but Bathsheba remains somewhat shadowed. Being able to see the emotional damage, the hurt, the shame – and the courage – from Shawna’s point of view (as well as Hunter’s) added further layers of appreciation to the Biblical story for me.

Bottom Line: The emotions in this story run deep, and so does God’s grace.  A strong & sympathetic heroine is just one of the highlights of The Secret Heart; the message of forgiveness and redemption is another. Marie Wells Coutu has a knack for setting the scene and keeping you riveted to the page with her talented prose. If you want a fresh perspective on a familiar story, this book belongs on your TBR list!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Great book!

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The Secret Heart for Kindle is available for pre-order now at a reduced price, and a prequel novelette of the heroine’s journal called The Divided Heart is available free for orders placed through Feb. 20. To find out how to get the bonus prequel, visit

about the author

Marie began making up stories soon after she learned to talk. At age seven, she convinced neighborhood kids to perform a play she had written. After a career writing for newspapers, magazines, state and local governments, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, she returned to her first love—writing fiction—at the age of fifty-five.

She and her husband now divide their time between Florida and Iowa. You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (, or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu) or on

Marie Wells Coutu is giving away an ebook of The Secret Heart to one of my readers. Comment on this review post by midnight 2/15 (I’m extending the giveaway for 1 day) and head over to my interview with Marie to claim 5 extra entries on the Rafflecopter form.

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6 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu

  1. Connie Saunders

    Recently I heard a minister comment about Bathsheba’s predicament. David was powerful, he wanted her and she didn’t know know how to refuse his advances. As old as I am, I still hadn’t considered that she may not have had a clear choice!
    I am anxious to read Marie’s retelling of this story.

    • Connie, I think that we modern women really don’t understand all that biblical women went through. I tried to give Shawna appropriate emotions of a woman today–and those are revealed in detail in the prequel, The Divided Heart. But I’d love to hear what you think after you read the book.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed the other two books in the series because she presents the Bible story in a way that, even though you recognize the story at first, you soon get lost in the characters’ lives. Even though her stories are fiction, they’ve made me remember that the biblical characters were real people. As Connie said above, it’s so easy to condemn Bathsheba. I can’t wait to see how she handles this one!

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