A Worthy Heart continues the story of the O’Leary family of Long Island, New York. This second installment of the Courage to Dream series follows Maggie and Gabe Montogmery as they arrive in New York from Ireland, Adam O’Leary upon his release from prison as he attempts to rebuild his life, and Aurora Hastings as she overcomes a broken engagement and finds the courage to pursue her dream of nursing. Will each of these characters manage to let go of their past disappointments and mistakes in order to fully embrace the future God has in store for them?
Without having read the first book of the series— Irish Meadows— it took several chapters to grasp who each of the four main characters were, and how they related to one another. That said, Mason did an admirable job filling the reader in on each back-story without rehashing her entire previous novel. Unfortunately, most of the main characters, namely Gabe and Aurora, still felt one-dimensional. Gabe is a strapping Irish fireman, and Aurora an heiress with an overbearing father, but their characters never truly evolve past these basic types. Gabe rescues Aurora a time or two, and they are clearly attracted to one another, which is apparently sufficient reason to get engaged by the end of the book. This lack of character development caused this particular love story to fall flat.
The one redeeming exception, however, was Adam O’Leary. Witnessing his struggle to understand his own failures, forgive his hurtful father, and finally accept the blessings God has put in his life made for a compelling story. While his love interest— Maggie— could have used a bit more depth, her fiery personality and dedication to her loved ones made this story-line the most entertaining of the novel.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.