If this story had happened in today’s world, Meredyth Summercourt would have been considered a victim. In the late 1800’s, however, she keeps her trauma a secret, labels herself ruined, considers herself responsible for the crime committed against her, and decides to either wait for a marriage proposal from the one who wronged her or remain unmarried for the rest of her life. Throughout the story, I had to keep the cultural/historical difference in mind, desperately wanting Meredyth to understand what seemed so obvious to me. How tragic for a victim to be burdened with false guilt, to feel obligated to let it define her whole life. I’m sure there are those who continue to burden themselves with such even today, but our society has come a long way when it comes to helping victims instead of condemning them. I am thankful for this.
In spite of Meredyth’s decision, faithful-friend-since-childhood Lawry Hampton loves her and is determined to win her hand. When he invites her to view pictures of and participate in his secret helpful work, the passion of his heart, Meredyth knows this man is just too good to be true—which makes him too good for someone like her. But when they rescue an orphan together, Meredyth begins to wonder just what kind of game God is up to.
The scene where she finally figures it out is one of the most touching I’ve ever read.
The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall is the second book in her Everstone Chronicles series. Familiar characters and settings from the first book make this one a friendly sequel. The story works alone, though; knowledge of the first is nice, but not necessary. Crandall sent me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I’m starting to read her next book now!