Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy.
It’s a classic story, but Allison Wells sets this story in America just before war breaks out. Her new novel is titled War-Torn Heart.
War-Torn Heart highlights the angst of those suffering on the home front: those waiting at home to be reunited with their loves, and those wondering whether their family members will return. There are lots of moments that give this story a coming-of-age feel, as the young female narrator comes to terms with what it means to be a woman. Moving from being a girl to a woman, she faces her sensuality and her sexuality, as she progresses through friendship to romance with a young man. She is forced to reconcile how that relates to living out her faith in this relationship. War-Torn Heart remains a family-friendly read, but it shows how the protagonist faces her urges and is honest with herself about these natural longings. It doesn’t lack moments of cheesiness or sappiness, and these moments could have been cut. What the story does offer young female readers is the insight that they’re not alone in the universal, inner female longing to love and be loved by a man.
Just like Little Women, where the ladies band together to get through, this book focuses on the female perspective. In War-Torn Heart, the men have their own ideas and beliefs about war, while the women face their own challenges. Everyone’s attitude is focused on “bringing the boys home”, yet the women face things through their own eyes. In War-Torn Heart, there is undeveloped potential throughout the story that could have been better shaped. Particularly, in the last chapter, one of the characters faces a significant challenge that almost seemed added on, as if it was an afterthought. However, for young women (particularly teenagers) who enjoy historical fiction or romance stories, War-Torn Heart could be a rewarding read.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from this publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no compensation for this review.