Monday, March 19, 2018

The Heart's Appeal

The Heart's Appeal
London Beginnings, Book 2
Jennifer Delamere
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764219214
March 2018/384 pages/$14.99

London, 1881

He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It's only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women's medical school. He's supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he's made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

Read an excerpt.


Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband. Learn more at her website,


What a fabulous story! Julia is full of spunk and courage, and I admired her determination and single-minded purpose, not to mention her absolute gumption! Michael was equally likable, and I appreciated his willingness, albeit reluctant, to look beyond the established and expected protocols to the true issue. Delamere creates a marvelous tale that pits Julia and Michael on opposing sides of a court case in addition to their unequal social station, providing all manner of opportunity for conflict. Richly crafted scenes bring London's Victorian era to life, while the cultured discourse – as well as its clever nuances! – reminds the reader of the value and care placed in those days upon maintaining appropriate distance between men and women. The unexpected ending surprised and delighted me, and I hated to turn the final page. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and will be looking for more from this gifted author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


1. In The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay comes to London in order to attend medical school. What made you choose this profession for her?

Medicine seemed a natural fit for Julia, due to her love of learning and her desire to help people. In 1881, when this book takes place, England had only recently passed laws allowing women to certify as physicians. Julia is a strong-minded and independent person and a natural groundbreaker, which describes all of the early female doctors. They faced a lot of initial opposition from many people in the established medical profession, and public opinion wasn’t always with them, either. But they persevered.

Julia’s choice of career also fits with her background of having been raised in George Müller’s orphanage in Bristol, England. When girls left Müller’s orphanage, most went into service (cooks, maids, etc.). However, some became nurses, as did Julia. It was easy to imagine that Julia would jump at the opportunity to become a physician when that field finally opened up to women. Her Christian upbringing in Müller’s orphanage has
made her a fervent believer. She wants to become a licensed physician so that she can be a medical missionary to foreign countries. But she soon learns there are many people in London who also need the physical and spiritual help that she can provide.

2. Although the main characters in your books are fictional, you often include real people in your books. Is this the case with The Heart’s Appeal?

Yes! Julia’s mentor at the medical school is Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who in 1865 became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. In 1874, she cofounded the London School of Medicine for Women and was active in its administration as well as teaching. Her husband, James G.S. Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line. They were a perfect match for many reasons, not the least of which was because he fervently supported his wife’s choice of a career. Jamie Anderson offers advice and help to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Today, Millicent is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. Both sisters were quite extraordinary, and I enjoyed being able to include them in this book.

3. The Heart’s Appeal includes scenes on the London Underground. Do you think this will surprise the reader?

I’m sure the image most people have of transportation in Victorian London is that of hansom cabs—two-wheeled carriages with the driver’s seat high in the back. Certainly there were countless numbers of those. But the first line of what became known as the London Underground was opened in 1863, so it was well-established by 1881 when Julia gets there. At that time, the trains were powered by big, smoky steam engines. You might say that London’s fog above ground was matched by the smoke-filled tunnels below. The trains were not electrified until the early twentieth century.

Many thanks to Jennifer Delamere and Bethany House Publishers for providing the above Q&A.


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