I am a Texas girl, born and raised.
I’m also an inveterate lover and pursuer of good story, especially in the fiction realm. I’d like to say that I never met a book that I didn’t like (but I have); however, Varina Denman’s splendid Mended Hearts series would only ever show up on the “Much-Loved” books list!
I happened on Varina Denman’s first book in the Mended Hearts series, Jaded, just over a year ago. I was captivated immediately by Ruthie’s story of life in a small town, after she and her mother were rejected by their own church home. Denman’s ability to capture the very essence of life and personality of rural Texas locales, and those who peopled them, drew me in as I pored over the pages to discover what would become of Ruthie, the Trapp, Texas know-it-alls, and the young man who’d caught Ruthie’s eye. As I turned to the last page of Jaded I was already anxious for the next book in the series! (You can read my review of Jaded here, by the way.)
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long. The second Mended Hearts book, Justified, brought readers back to Trapp and into the heart and mind of Fawn, Ruthie’s former friend-turned-enemy, as she faced challenges she’d never expected. Seeing inside a character I’d so thoroughly disliked in Jaded was fascinating; and Denman’s ability to show us that the person others see as they look at us is often not at all what we’re like on the inside. This viewpoint is paramount here as Fawn, the girl I’d once viewed as a cruel “queen bee,” became a woman I sympathized with and rooted for.
And now, finally….Jilted is here! (I know. I buried the lead!)
That’s only because I want you to know the wonderful background for Varina Denman’s third book in the Mended Hearts Series. While each book is written as a stand-alone, you’ll definitely want to read all of them! So now that you know a little about Ruthie’s and Fawn’s stories…..
Lynda is a still-pretty-young single mother. In fact, she’s Ruthie’s mother. And single? Yes, sort of. Ruthie’s father walked out on the two years and years ago. While each of them desperately hoped he’d come back…he never did. That desertion, combined with the complete abandonment of Lynda and Ruthie by their church home, really did a number on Lynda. Depression snared her with its jagged, ugly teeth, and refused to let her go.
But she beat it anyway. And though it threatens to come back now and then, Lynda is determined that she won’t give into it. So when depression rears its ugly head, Lynda drives out to the wind fields on the caprock, parks her car by the side of the road, and breathes. The enormous wind turbines, each the height of a football field’s length, rotate gently and calm her spirit.
However, she can’t stay out there forever. Small-town Trapp and all its busybodies await her, as does her waitressing job at the local diner. And Clyde Felton. Yes, Lynda has a would-be boyfriend (that is, if she’d give him any encouragement); a quiet and faithful man. There are only a couple of problems with Clyde. First, he’s a newly-released convicted felon. (Although he’s done his time and embraced God completely.) And second, he’s a man. Which of course in itself is a good thing. But Lynda doesn’t feel confident at all about relationships, given her dismal track record with the men in her past.
There’s more ahead for Lynda, however, than an empty and quiet life. An unexpected discovery captures the town’s attention. More men than just Clyde begin to vie for Lynda. And things come to light that will rock Trapp’s inhabitants…indeed, the town’s very foundation. How is Lynda going to make it through all this? And is faithful love really waiting for her at the end…or will it be snatched away?
Jilted is a fine and intriguing end to Varina Denman’s incredible Mended Hearts Series. As I felt about Fawn when I began Justified, I wasn’t too sure I could really love Lynda as I opened Jilted. But just as with all of Denman’s other books and characters, I was enthralled by Lynda and her story, and I wished her the best even when I wasn’t sure she’d ever get it.
Read Jilted. In fact, read ALL of the Mended Hearts books. Even if you’re not a Texan, as I am, you will be mesmerized by the experiences, stories, and hearts of these fascinating women. And just like I am now, you’ll be anxiously awaiting Varina Denman’s next book!
And now….the giveaway!
Best of all—Varina Denman has provided a copy of Jilted for one of my readers! Just enter via the Giveaway Tools form below. Giveaway ends on Friday, July 22, for US entrants only. Enter today! (You can also read my lovely interview with Varina here!)