Book Review and Giveaway: Matters of the Heart Author: Heidi Gray McGill On Tour With Celebrate Lit
Matters of the Heart Kick-Off Package
About the Book
Book: Matters of the Heart
Author: Heidi Gray McGill
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 15, 2022
When those experiencing the same fate she endured show up at her doorstep…
Katie determines to be their champion, no matter the fallout.
Will the man who fought for the other side also fight for her?
Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.
He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.
Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.
Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.
Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.
Fusing Faith and Fiction™
True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.
More from Heidi
Where did the idea for Matters of the Heartoriginate?
Before I was an author, I was the founder and director of an English as a Second Language ministry. The program touched the lives of students from 35 different countries. Regardless of culture, religion, language, or age, I found a substantial similarity in these students—they all wanted to improve their lot in life and that of their children.
Stories abounded of walks across deserts, financial hardships, desperate attempts to explain emergencies to medical professionals or law enforcement, failed verbal connections with schoolteachers, and an inability to obtain work because of their lack of language skills. Prejudice and distrust blocked them, culture shock took them outside their comfort zones, and the urgent need to survive made them scramble to dig deep inside and find creative ways to secure shelter and put food on their tables.
It wasn’t that these immigrants weren’t capable of achieving success. In their home countries, vocations varied from chemist and biologist with PhDs, to teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals. Others came from poverty and had little education but were not afraid of hard work, long hours, and low pay. They were tenacious, and they worked with relentless determination and a bullheaded resolve to achieve their goals. They relied on each other and soaked in everything around them in their desire to assimilate into the American culture and find a new place to belong.
Immigrants in the late 1800s were not much different. Individuals came to improve their lot in life and be a part of the greatest country in the world. In Matters of the Heart,Hans Korhonen left Finland with his brothers to take advantage of the land grants. Together, they worked to establish a farm large enough to sustain four families and support troops during the Civil War. Yet, in their desire to belong and give back to our great nation, Hans’s idyllic life changed through his service as a Union soldier.
Kathleen Murphy, or Katie, came to the United States to escape a life of extreme poverty and abuse in Ireland. Working in her aunt and uncle’s boarding offered more than a job. It provided the love and support of a family. Katie rose from her previous station and started fresh with hope on the horizon. She found a source of ministry that gave her life a purpose she’d not had before.
My association with my former ESL students helped me develop the characters in this book into individuals with which readers can identify.
Join Katie and Hans as they establish themselves in their new home of Shumard Oak Bend.
Matters is the Heart is written by Heidi Gray McGill. This is part of the Shumard Oak Bend series. I had not read the other books in the series but did it feel lost at all. This book is set right after the Civil War and opens in 1866. The author chose to see the story in Missouri and included great historical details.
Katie has come over from Ireland to live with her aunt in her boarding house. Katie has some big dreams and feels it is her calling to open a orphanage in order to care and help the widows and orphans from the war. Katie however isn’t the most lady-like woman. But her spitfire personality made me like her even more.
Hans feels like a broken failed man. He didn’t see action during the Civil War but was affected a different way. He handled a lot of the deceased individuals. He worked at a field hospital and saw broken and deceased men all day long. He returned to his families farm afterwards but his brothers wife would rather see him off then assisting. Hans isn’t sure what God has in store for him and is afraid to talk to him. Until he meets Reverend on his way to Shumard Oak.
This book has a whole cast of secondary characters that make the book feel complete. The whole town has its own dynamics including the magistrate who will do anything to make sure Katie’s dreams are squashed. The author did a phenomenal job with bringing the town to life. I felt like I was a part of the story. I could see the scenes unfolding In front of my eyes.
I enjoyed seeing the characters all evolve throughout the book. The author places some great scripture in to back up the lesson she is trying to teach. Katie and Hans have an interesting meeting and it kept me laughing throughout the book.
Historically, I felt the author did a good job creating her story as accurate as possible. There were still prejudices that those of different descent faced at this time period. The nation was still healing from a horrible war. There were some that were still stuck in their ways.
Thank you to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this story. All thoughts are my own.