THE HEART’S CHOICE by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse
SERIES: The Jewels of Kalispell #1
GENRE: Inspirational Historical/Western Romance
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2023
They must uncover the truth before it’s buried forever.
After witnessing a wrongful conviction as a young girl, Rebecca Whitman–the first female court reporter in Montana–is now determined to defend the innocent. During a murder trial, something doesn’t sit well with her about the case, but no one except the handsome new Carnegie librarian will listen to her.
Librarian Mark Andrews’s father sent him to college hoping he would take over the business side of the family ranch, but Mark would rather wrangle books than cows. When a patron seeks help with research in hopes of proving a man’s innocence, Mark is immediately drawn to her and her cause.
In a race against time, will Rebecca and Mark find the evidence they need–and open their hearts to love–before it’s too late?
First of all, before I say anything else about The Heart’s Choice, I have to mention the cover. I was drawn to the mauve tones right from the beginning, but as I read this compelling story the various elements of the cover took on new meaning & I liked it even more.
Second, I have two words for you: bookish. hero. Oh yes, I said it. The hero of The Heart’s Choice is – drag that fainting couch closer to you for safety reasons, dear readers – a LIBRARIAN! And he loves the smell of new books. (Are you hooked yet?) And reading serial mystery novels. And he loves shared reading with the people he cares about. And he thinks about doing a story time for children at the library. I mean… be still my readerly heart!!!! I was all aswoon before we got any farther than our intro to Mark Andrews where he indulges in the smell of the library’s books and I blissfully-sighed into fictional-character love with him.
I also love that the ‘typical gender role’ swapping doesn’t just stop with Mark as a librarian (a role typically given to females in historical and contemporary fiction alike). For onto the scene comes our delightful heroine, Rebecca Whitman, and her newly acquired job which makes her (fictionally, anyway) the first female court stenographer in Montana. Neither Mark nor Rebecca are fussed with each other’s profession of choice over the course of their growing friendship; rather, they show deep respect for and enjoyment of the other’s talents and ambitions. I adored watching their friendship become more layered and less platonic as the story progressed, and I just plain had fun reading about them together. The sidewalk scene in the blizzard is one of my very faves, and I caught myself grinning like a fool and chuckling like one too.
Oh goodness, there are so many other things I want to talk about. Judge Ashbury and his determined wife Marvella who steal almost every scene they’re in. (And if one of them doesn’t, then their dog Sir Theophilus will.) The way Rebecca and Mark team up to try and clear an innocent man of murder. The intriguing things we learn about Montana history. And – most importantly – the faith journeys that both Rebecca and Mark take throughout the book. Because of the different stages they are at when our story begins, the faith element not only presents the gospel message clearly and organically but it also addresses rubber-meets-the-road issues that longtime followers of Jesus need refining too. I thought this was very sweetly done in a way that fit the story flow and the characters.
Bottom Line: The Heart’s Choice by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse is a sweet friends-to-more romance, an entertaining look at an intriguing time of history, and a compelling story with different layers. The characters are relatable and engaging, and dashes of humor throughout made my heart happy. The solid faith thread will tug at your heart and doesn’t feel preachy or forced. This is one of my fave reads by these two authors so far, and I look forward to the next book!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, the company for which I freelance as a blog/review tour coordinator was hired to promote this book with a social media tour, with which I have no involvement. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Tracie Peterson is the award–winning author of over 100 novels, both historical and contemporary, with nearly 6 million copies sold. She has won the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. Connect with Tracie at her website.
Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books. Kim and her incredible husband of 30-plus years live in the Poconos, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them. Connect with Kim at her website.
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Bethany House is offering a print copy of The Heart’s Choice by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
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