15 Oct 2019

Review: What Heals the Heart (Cowbird Creek #1)

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

From Goodreads:
Joshua Gibbs survived the Civil War, building on his wartime experiences to become a small town doctor. And if he wakes from nightmares more often than he would like, only his dog Major is there to know it.

Then two newcomers arrive in Cowbird Creek: Clara Brook, a plain-speaking and yet enigmatic farmer’s daughter, and Freida Blum, an elderly Jewish widow from New York. Freida knows just what Joshua needs: a bride. But it shouldn’t be Clara Brook!

Joshua tries everything he can think of to discourage Freida’s efforts, including a wager: if he can find Freida a husband, she’ll stop trying to find him a wife. Will either matchmaker succeed? Or is it Clara, a woman with her own scars, who can heal the doctor’s troubled heart?

Two stars? Two and a half? Maybe three, but not full three. What Heals the Heart is captivating, but there were a few things that bothered me.

The language used in the writing is a bit formal, which in a way compliments the book since it doesn't tell about the present time. But here's the but: When everything in the book moves slowly and the language is a bit too formal, it sometimes makes the book feel a little passive to the reader. I don't mean that they should be using modern language, but just a little bit less formal to keep the reader hooked. 

I didn't understand Freida's part in the entire book. She was clucking in the background most of the time, spreading rumours and complaining about how skinny Joshua was. Instead of focusing on Freida and her unmarried status, I missed the connection to Clara's background. Now that the focus shifted to Clara only closer towards the end, I found the ending a little forced. 

Since Joshua was a doctor, there could've been a little more about his work. Now, most of his time was spent on complaining about how the barber steals (and almost kills) his patients. And then later the miracle-cure-seller Joshua claims to be a hoax stealing and possibly killing his patients.

I don't if it just how the people in their time were or was it just my take on the book, but all of them felt devoid of hope. They were handed something and they were just content they got it. No aspiration to get anything bigger and better.

So, although the plot itself was interesting to read, the things that bothered me really flattened the reading experience. 

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