Book Review: "Longings of the Heart" by Bonnie Leon

Newlyweds in the Outback

Hannah and John have settled down and gotten married in their new home in Australia. Now down with their prison sentences, they are ready to move on and start a new life and family together. However starting a family just isn't happening for the two of them. Hannah is worried that it's her fault, and that what happened in the past is coming back to haunt her. She knows she has to tell John but is scared as to what will happen. Then her secret gets out and is being used to blackmail the couple. Will they be able to survive this or is life as convicts starting to look easier than life as newlyweds?

Australian history has always been fascinating to me. It just is amazing that the country was colonized to be a place for prisoners. It's an amazing history and in my opinion, more interesting that the US! This book however focuses more on John and Hannah's relationship than on the Australian history. It was fun reading about how they were adapting to being newlywed's and having to adapt to each other. Being in the environment they were in, made life stressful so having to add a new marriage on top of that would have added more fuel to fire! I found Hannah's reaction to being an adoptive mother very surprising for a Christian novel. Normally everyone is all about hugs and being 100% loving from the beginning. However, I found her response to Thomas to be more realistic especially with what she had been going through. I enjoyed the story very much.

As in the first book in the series, it's an engaging tale with memorable characters in a unique setting. The only thing that bugged me about the story was John getting angry with Hannah about what had happened to her. I can understand his being mad about her keeping it a secret from him. She should have told this to him after they got married so he could understand her feelings. What I didn't like was that he acted like she had committed a terrible sin for what happened to her in the past. It wasn't her fault and I wanted to smack him for even thinking about blaming her! I got so frustrated with him to the point that I was actually glad to read how guilty and distressed he was for not being there to protect Hannah in her time of need. Luckily he soon regained my approval later on in the book.

The ending of the book was quite satisfying. People got what they deserved and the book did not have a cliched "everyone forgives" ending. I quite prefer what happened because it rings more true than the aforementioned ending. I was thinking, what would be totally awesome is if somehow this series and the Queensland Chronicles series was connected. I would have to go back and check on the dates between the two series but it'd be fun to have a cameo of someone from the Queensland series pop up in this set. I've always enjoyed Bonnie's books and this one was no different. I'll be eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series!

Longings of the Heart by Bonnie Leon is published by Revell (2008)


  1. Great review. I've always been fascinated by Australia too!


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