Where the Heart Is by Jennie Marsland

Where the Heart Is by Jennie Marsland
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (138 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

When Rochelle McShannon moves with her father from Morgan County, Georgia to the Yorkshire Dales, she thinks she’s leaving behind everything that matters to her. Her mother has passed away, her twin brother is going west to avoid the looming Civil War, and her family’s unpopular views on slavery and secession have destroyed her relationship with the man she hoped to marry. If returning to her father’s childhood home eases his grief, Chelle asks for nothing more.

Martin Rainnie understands grief. Since the loss of his wife in childbirth, he’s known little else, except anger. He’s retreated to his farm and turned his back on the world, including his baby daughter, who’s being fostered by Chelle’s relatives. With little Leah drawing them together, Martin begins to wonder if he can love again – and convince Chelle to do the same.

But the war overseas has far-reaching consequences, even in a small English village. Can Martin and Chelle overcome danger, loss, and bitterness to make a home where the heart is?

A rite of passage and a sweet love story, Where the Heart Is takes the reader to nineteenth century England.

Young Rochelle “Chelle” McShannon, uprooted from America and transplanted in her father’s homeland, is in bereavement, not only for her dead mother, but also for the loss of a love that she’d believed was real and true and for her twin brother, Trey, who chose to stay in America.

In the small community of Yorkshire Dale, she runs afoul of the mores of the villagers. Befriending a girl who is an unwed mother is bad enough, but spending two nights helping the precious baby girl Leah get accustomed to a new home with just the baby’s widowed father and a housekeeper in residence is an absolute non-no. Moreover, she danced with said widowed father, Martin Rianne at the community dance; AND he did not dance with anyone else.

Martine Rianne, a successful farmer, still mourns the loss of his wife when baby Leah was born. He had farmed the baby out to live with a wet nurse and never went to see the child. His dead wife’s parents become the bane of his life—antagonists this reader REALLY didn’t like.

Jennie Marsland wove together a short, but heart-touching love story that keeps one turning pages. She shows the reader the plight of the mill workers in the community, the moral corruptness of the ‘straight-laced” people who look down on Chelle, the story of her brother Trey, along with the happy, productive life of her father’s brother’s family. Chelle’s being involved in all these things transforms her.

A good evening’s entertainment!

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