A Heart’s Journey, by Michele Fleming, is the touching story of two motherless sisters during the Civil War. Ana and Lucy’s father is a colonel in the confederate army. As the enemy inches closer to their home, Col. James Lawson sends his daughters to stay with his wife’s sister in Texas. He sends them via train under the watchful care of their freed slave, Liza, a gentle train conductor named Thomas and a handsome soldier, Jacob.
During this journey, Ana moves to center stage. The reader experiences the loss of Liza under horrible circumstance, admires Jacob’s charm and learns of God’s irresistible love, all through Ana’s eyes. When the girls arrive at their aunt Josie’s ranch, they are welcomed with open arms. Romance blossoms in the most unexpected places. Fear begins to be replaced by hope, until terrible news about their father and their home arrives by telegram.
Michele Fleming does a good job of weaving conflict into the story. Many of the challenges the characters face cannot be anticipated and leave the reader in suspense for several pages. However, no single conflict carries through the whole book, leaving the reader feeling a bit like a missing puzzle piece without much continuity. Also, the characters seem almost too good to be true, the heroine and leading roles lacking any real flaws and making it difficult to relate to them.
Despite the decentralized conflict, Fleming concludes the story with a sweet sense of “happily ever after”. And though the characters feel a little contrived, A Heart’s Journey, leaves the reader with peace and hope.