Hi everyone! I am excited to be back today with a review of the second book in the Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall. I raved about book one here. This series is so refreshing because it creates beautiful love stories that are also clean and focused on God. I really enjoy reading them. I also appreciate that I don’t feel uncomfortable or like I need to skip over anything. Book two surprised me because it’s a lot different than book one.
A few initial thoughts:
- I really love that we get a new story in the same world that we begin with in the first book. It’s fun to see characters I recognize from the first one but now to get inside Meredith’s head.
- This is a beautiful love story. I knew (or at least I hoped I knew) the ending from the start, but the way it comes together is surprising and darling.
- This series makes me want to visit Seattle again and Boston 🙂
The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall follows the story of Meredith Summercourt a wealthy Boston socialite whose guilt over past mistakes threatens her future happiness. We learn right away that Meredith was seduced by Vance Everstone, the rakish brother of Nathan Everstone, years ago but has since decided to marry him to atone for her past mistakes. However, she quickly finds herself falling in love with Lawry Hampton, her best friend since childhood. When Lawry unexpectedly kisses her (and Meredith unexpectedly enjoys it), Meredith finds herself head over heels in love with Lawry. He wants to marry her and bring her back to Seattle, where he has founded an orphanage. When they bond further while helping an abandoned orphan named Wynn, Meredith starts to believe that maybe she deserves a happily ever after. But can she let go of her past? And can she overcome the shock of Vance returning to Boston, several marriage proposals, and a wedding day that doesn’t go as planned?
I really loved Meredith for her honesty and humanity. I felt like she was relatable because of her past. We have all made mistakes in life and many of us feel guilt because of those mistakes. I felt so sad for her early in the novel when she thought she didn’t serve happiness. But I love that Meredith can finally overcome her past and choose who will make her stronger. I think I actually liked her even more than Amaryllis from the last book. She was more realistic because she was balancing so much–family, social, and humanitarian life. And she was also balancing so many emotions–her pride, her love for Lawry, her guilt over Vance, her respect for her father, and her attachment to Wynn. I easily rooted for her and for her happiness.
And then there is Lawry. Sigh. I just want to say a few things about him. Crandall has such a gift for writing kind and loving gentlemen. Lawry is everything to Meredith–kind, forgiving, and loyal. He has loved her forever, and I love that. He is genuinely good. And he cares about and serves those around him. I wanted him and Meredith to get together from their very first kiss. No one can declare their love quite like Lawry:
“You realize, don’t you, that I’ve been waiting, that I’ve been in love with you for much of your life?”
“We were meant for each other, Mere. I’ve known it since…I think I’ve known it forever.”
“Do I have no say in whether you deserve me or not? It’s my future you’re determining with these reckless decisions, as well as your own. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; I love you still . . . . Because that’s what love is.”
“I would have wanted you forever. And I would have waited my whole life for you.”
The Bound Heart, pages 196, 198, 250, 299
Wynn was a surprising character because she so easily endearing. I just fell in love with her sweet personality and disheartening history. Through all her trials and difficulties in life, she remained so happy and excitable. I love that she is still a child and can still be happy–at least with Lawry watching over her. Also, I love the way she affects Meredith for good. Wynn brings out Meredith’s best personality traits and, in many ways, can be given credit for bringing Lawry and Meredith together so often.
The plot of the novel kept me turning pages quickly throughout and the twists were, at times, almost shocking. I felt so many different emotions while reading this book–excitement, happiness, shock, fear, disappointment, terror, and satisfaction. Yes, this is a love story, but it is also a story of Meredith’s journey to find her best self–with the many decisions and experiences she must have along the way. I appreciated that the focus was more on her journey and less on the “love triangle” between Lawry, Vance and Meredith. We get a little bit towards the end but the focus is definitely on Meredith’s journey.
A few words about the ending are worthwhile here. While I love the way it ultimately ends, I felt that wedding in Bar Harbor was a bit rushed and the crazy climax that occurs there was a bit out of place. It needed a bit more explanation. Yes, it gave Meredith the ability to follow her heart, but it was a bit over dramatic for me. And quite sad.
One of my favorite elements of the novel was the beautiful morals of forgiveness and finding the love of God in one’s life. Meredith’s ultimate spiritual revival and forgiveness of her self is a simply beautiful moment. I love that Crandall incorporates religion and God into her stories without being overwhelming or overbearing. Meredith struggles with her past sins for the majority of the novel so I loved seeing her let that burden go. One of my favorite quotes from the novel comes after her conversion:
I don’t deserve you, but I don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness either. And yet, somehow, I have them . . . in abundance.”
The Bound Heart, page 299
What a beautiful final moral from a beautiful love story. I highly recommend this second book in the Everstone Chronicles!
Have you read the Everstone Chronicles yet? What did you think?