Refuge of the Heart
By Dorine Linnen
Aug 31, 2015 - 3:36:00 PM

Magdalena "Lena" Serida and her five-year-old sister Anna live on a limited income. Since a Catholic church sponsored their immigration from Chechnya over three years ago, Lena has been studying to regain her medical degree in the United States. Their limited funds barely provide for the essentials, so a flat tire right before Christmas is a crisis in the making.

District Attorney Mitch Sanderson is about to start his campaign for reelection for the position he's devoted his life to. When he discovers a young woman with a small child in a parking lot about to notice her flat tire, Mitch can't drive by without helping them. Something about Lena and Anna remind him of his faith and he buys them four new tires for their car.

Lena is determined to pay Mitch back for his kindness so she tries to do exactly that, but Mitch wants to see Lena again on a more personal level. He convinces Lena to go out with him and slowly wins her confidence. But there is more to Lena's life story than she's willing to share. Will Mitch do the right thing when he discovers the truth about her immigration, or will he walk away to protect his reputation?

REFUGE OF THE HEART is a sweet story that follows a couple through the normal challenges of developing a relationship. Lena's fears are well-founded due to her experience within a war-torn area, and having dealt with a heavy loss of family and friends. She's not easily convinced to trust and is reluctant to accept Mitch's interests. Mitch finds it hard to have faith especially due to his line of work where trust is often missing. When he finally earns Lena's complete faith and acceptance, will he prove himself unworthy of her love?

There were times within this novel when the hero disappointed me with his actions but in the end he makes up for it enough for me to believe in his sincerity. Lena's story is pretty horrifying, once we learn what actually happened to her and Anna, so it's easy to be sympathetic to their plight.

This book is perfect for those who love a faith-based novel that's character driven and inspirational. The deep emotion felt while reading this story tugged on my heartstrings and I was happy with the resolution. Lena isn't an easy woman to love because of her fears and experience that make her too proud to explain her situation. Mitch cares deeply but allows what others say to influence him. In the end, they both show great courage and redemption that's gratifying.

REFUGE OF THE HEART showcases the plight of two refugees and their adaptation to the possibility of a more positive future, never forgetting to be grateful for the small things. The lessons taught through scripture are very enlightening and spoke to my heart. I don't think anyone can read this book and not feel inspired to give to those in need. Author Ruth Logan Herne has a gift for interpreting scripture with compassion and illumination in this beautiful, heartwarming story.

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