Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher

Published June 25, 2019 by Thomas Nelson

Synopsis: Can two broken paths lead toward God’s redemption?

When Ashley Showalter and Ben Henning meet on Ashley’s horse rescue farm, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Both were raised by single moms. Both want to help where they see a need. And both work with horses in the Boise valley. Ben needs Ashley’s help and expertise after starting an equine therapy barn on his great-great-grandfather’s farm—and the more time they spend together, both Ashley and Ben have the feeling that there could be something more between them.

They also carry the burden of past experiences that may drive them apart if the truth is ever revealed. Ben is a recovering alcoholic with five years of sobriety behind him, while Ashley’s brother is an opioid addict residing in court-ordered rehab. Holding fast to the belief that addicts can never be cured, Ashley has promised herself she will never walk knowingly into the chaos created by addiction. Ben knows that with God, all things are possible—but will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance? Or will her brother’s mistakes and the pain of her past jeopardize her future with Ben?

Cross My Heart threads together a contemporary love story with the heartwarming tale of Ben’s great-great-grandfather, Andrew Henning—reminding us that God’s Word is timeless and that His promises are new every morning.

4 Stars: 

Cross My Heart is the second book in the Legacy of Faith series, but it is a standalone story. It is a dual-time story, with one family involved. Ben Henning and his grandfather Grant are the family members in the present, and Andrew Henning and his family are the focus of the past storyline, which takes place during WWII. It is the family bible and the names handwritten in it that bring the two timelines together.

Ben was a rebellious teen and after climbing behind the wheel while drunk he has a serious car accident that leaves his best friend in a wheelchair and him wallowing in the bottle. It is not until he finds Jesus, that he is able to move on with his life, always praying that his friend will forgive him. Because of his strong faith, and following God’s plans for his life, he plans to open The Harmony Barn where they will provide equine therapy for troubled and disadvantaged people. While searching for horses, he meets Ashley Showalter, who is dealing with her own issues. She doesn’t have the room on her property to keep the many horses she rescues and rehabilitates so accepts Ben’s offer to work with him. Both of these flawed characters have hearts of gold and when Ashley finds God, she is able to move forward in her life as well.

In the past we find Andrew Henning and his wife, Helen raising their family of five in the 1940s. When his oldest son, Ben, tells his parents he wants to go to college so he can enroll in flight school and join the airforce, they are worried. Andrew prays and reads scripture to guide him in his decisions. As time marches in, Andrew and Helen will deal with many trials involving their children and their involvement in the war.

This book has a little romance, some family drama and family love, second chances and a lot of faith. This was a well-written story that I read over a couple of days. The two different timelines meshed well together and gave an enjoyable look into five generations of the Henning family. Ben Henning (in the present) is a wonderful MC. His faith directs all his decisions and actions and he trusts that to lead him in the right direction. Ashley is a strong character who needs a nudge to move forward with her family and her faith. This was a sweet romance, that blossomed over time. It was not instalove, but love that grew with some bumps along the way. I really enjoyed the addition of the equine therapy story as a main plot. This is an area that is growing all the time as more and more therapists recognize its value. My one complaint with this book is that it seemed to wrap up a bit too quickly. It seemed that there was a climax and turning point, then the end. Besides that, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Christian Fiction. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book  upon request.  The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Hatcher Robin Lee

About the Author: Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

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I have a wonderful home office with a large screen iMac and the perfect place to keep important papers and reminders right in front of me for easy access. There is also a bed for my dog, Boo, because no office is complete without a bed to welcome the dog. Right?

I also do a lot of writing while seated in a big easy chair in the living room. It all depends upon my mood and how many reference books I might need at the time.

My office usually looks neat when I begin a book. By the time I’m writing the end, the room has become a disaster—stacks of papers demanding my attention and a layer of dust are the most obvious issues.

My office also serves as my art studio (where I do decorative planning and Bible art journaling), so every inch that isn’t taken up by writing related items is filled with art related ones—paints, washi tape, stickers, pens galore, etc.

An early riser naturally, I consider sleeping in to be anything after 6 AM. On a normal writing day, I try to get in half an hour on the treadmill first thing in the morning (and often return to it for ten minutes segments a couple other times during the day). Then I sit at my desk or in my easy chair to do my Bible study. And finally I begin writing.

I can usually create new words for about four hours or so a day. The rest of the work day is filled with editing, revising, research, and correspondence with publisher, agent, readers, and other writers. I have an active online presence which needs attention daily, as well.

I am also a late-in-life part time college student, taking my classes online, so at least a couple of days a week, you’ll find me doing assignments and taking quizzes. For some reason, I rarely use my office for that. The kitchen table seems to suit me better. Probably because it is a large table and I can really spread out.

I feel very blessed to be able to work at home. I had a full time job when I wrote my first book. In fact, I wrote nine novels over the course of nine years while still working full time. The month my ninth book released, I quit my job in order to write full time. Seventy books and almost 28 years later, I’m still at it. As I said, I am blessed.