Author Karen Witemeyer starts her second book in the Hanger's Horseman series ,The Heart's Charge, by hooking readers with an intriguing line. "When Mark Wallace left Gringolet two days ago to deliver a prize gelding to a wealthy rancher west of Llano, he never dreamed he'd be called upon to deliver a baby too." (Witemeyer, 9). Seriously, what a curiosity-inducing introduction!
Mark Wallace along with Jonah Brooks, half of Hanger's Horsemen take a detour to deliver the infant to a foundling home. What Mark doesn't expect to meet a woman from his past, Katherine 'Kate' Palmer. Kate was not just any woman from his past. She was once a woman he almost married. Seeing her brings back memories and has Mark wondering what his life would have been like had he married her.
Kate and Eliza Southerland run Harmony House Foundling Home. While Mark is confronting his past, Jonah may have just found his future.
Kate Palmer. She might be one of my favorite heroines Ms. Witemeyer has ever written. I admired her fortitude and strength to forge her own path. She had found her calling in running the foundling home for orphans and forgotten children. She has a heart for helping others and the children adore her. "I knew what I was doing when I made my choice, and even now I wouldn't unmake it. Not when I can see how God used those years of loneliness for good...A strange thing happens when you find yourself on the outside of society. You start to see the world from a different perspective. Satan uses loneliness to isolate and depress. But God uses it to build compassion." (Witemeyer, 130). I realize I've just used a tremendously long quote, but I think it speaks to not only to Kate's character, but reminds us about how God can take circumstances and change them in ways we can't even fathom. Her perspective is one we can all aspire too.
The second-chance romance between Mark and Kate tugged at my heartstrings. "The miracle of finding each other after years apart and the hope of a second chance." (Witemeyer, 187).
There are so many different aspects of this story to take in and appreciate. While The Heart's Charge was set in the late 1800's post- Civil War, I'm sad to say there was still animosity towards African Americans, however, I appreciated how the author strove to show that the relationship between Mark and Jonah was one of respect despite the cultural opposite. When Mark and Jonah hear about rumors of children being taken as Horseman, they feel honor bound to verify these claims are true. They are both honorable men. All throughout the investigation, Mark and Jonah communicate and work in tandem. I appreciated watching this culturally complicated, non-romantic relationship at work.
Ms. Witemeyer skillfully balances dual love stories in The Heart's Charge, giving readers double the romance while managing to give both couples complete and satisfactory love stories. She gives each love affair equal attention and doesn't make you feel like you need to choose one or the other, but equally enjoy them both.
One of the traits that I so appreciate about Ms. Witemeyer's novels is she whenever she writes about a character who is a different ethnicity or has an unusual physical feature that makes them stand out; she writes them in a way where you always see the character in a multifaceted way, just the way God made them.
You can definitely read The Heart's Charge as a standalone, but I recommend reading At Love's Command first to get the full effect of the Hanger's Horseman series.
With double the heroes and double the romance, The Heart's Charge is not to be missed.
~~ The Heart's Charge was provided to me by the author and Bethany House in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own.~~