Harvest House, Ocotober 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Sophie Velikonja, a new immigrant from Czechoslovakia to America, is busing tables for an upscale Chicago restaurant. Formerly a translator for the Federal Assembly in Prague, her life has become a lonely struggle because she had to leave her aging grandmother and last living relative behind when she came to America. After attending a local ladies’ Bible study group she makes friends with Janet, the group leader. Janet and her husband David Ring decide to take Sophie under their wings and help her adjust to her new life in the US. When Sophie expresses a desire to settle in someplace a little quieter than the big city of Chicago, David and Janet think they might know of the perfect place for Sophie.
Alec Riley's world was suddenly shattered when his wife, the mother of his children, was killed in a car accident. Ever since Vanessa's death, he and the kids, Rita, Tory and Craig, have become an empty shell of the family they once were. As the months pass, Alec tries to do his best but things are not getting any better. When his sister Janet suggests he hire a young Czech immigrant from Chicago, let her move into the apartment over his garage, and become housekeeper for his family, he agrees to the arrangement on a trial basis. Alec realizes his fragile family needs help but he's just not sure Sophie is the answer.
SOPHIE'S HEART is a deeply emotional story of healing. You can't help but care about these characters and become engaged with their struggle. The pace is slow and the romantic chemistry is handled with a very light touch. The transformation of Sophie and Alec through their losses, and the guiding theme of the loving kindness of God in our most painful experiences, make this novel a powerful story. Issues of faith and discussion of Christian values play an important aspect and are heavily layered throughout this novel. Originally issued in 1995, SOPHIE'S HEART is a stand alone novel.
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