The cover story:
Sean Raleigh has fired every nurse and physical therapist within firing radius. He wants to be left alone in his invalid despair. But when his best friend hires the beautiful Jaclyn Dalton, Sean’s curiosity about her selflessness and unwavering faith keeps him from sending her away.
Jaclyn needs this job to stay in Montana, but Sean’s icy heart and raging bitterness threaten to drive her away.
He believes his immobility is a punishment from some controlling but distant deity, yet she sees him crying out for a compassionate God he doesn’t believe in. Jaclyn wants to help Sean recognize the grace that can be his, even if she has to leave him to do it, which draws her into a surprising level of emotional vulnerability-a vulnerability that will be the key to healing Sean’s wounded heart.
I must admit that initially I wasn’t too fond of Sean, the shoe-throwing jerk who refused to do physical therapy or hang onto a nurse. But as the story progressed and the details of his accident emerged, he grew on me, and I appreciated how much courage and strength it took for him to change over the course of the book.
The moment he touched her soft skin, he forgot all about his knee injuries, his braces, and the fact that he couldn’t stand on his own legs yet. Her smooth hand in his own, combined with the solid strength of her grip, produced a heavy thud in his chest. For one glorious moment, he could have been a whole, healthy man again, able to climb a mountain. ~Sean Raleigh
Sean labels Christians based on his experience with his father, but Carter and Jaclyn’s selfless actions slowly erode his opinion. Faced with an angry and bitter former athlete, I’m not sure I would’ve showered him with unending grace and generous love like Carter and Jaclyn, but it was a great picture of how God loves us, despite our bitterness and brokenness and in the midst of our pain and struggles. Sean also questions whether he could believe in a God who allowed bad things like his accident to happen.
Jaclyn loved a God who was real. His dad used religion to get obedience from his children, or his employees, or his wife. He used a set of beliefs to get what he wanted out of other people. He had no concept of who God really was.
It was hard to separate the two, since they claimed to worship the same God. But they didn’t. A blind fool could see the difference.
Although Sean did the most growing in His Wounded Heart, Jaclyn struggled through a rough patch herself. I appreciated that she didn’t waver in her faith, but I actually doubted if this book would deliver a happily-ever-after.
A warm, peaceful feeling spread through her chest, and she closed her eyes. As she often did when she felt God’s presence, she opened her imagination, and let the Holy Spirit comfort her. She imagined herself as a little girl, sitting on her father’s lap, held safely in his powerful arms. The peace deepened. God was at her side, and no matter what happened, He would always be with her like this.
With so much depth, physical, emotional, and spiritual, this isn’t a fluffy romance to scurry through in a couple hours. I savored this one over a few hours, rooting for Sean to be physically healed and for both of them to be emotionally whole so they could be together. Overall, I really enjoyed His Wounded Heart and would definitely pick up another book by R. L. Syme.
Disclaimer: I received His Wounded Heart free from Pelican Book Group as part of their 40 days of Lent free e-book program.