Audiobooks · Historical Fiction

Audiobook Review | Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

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In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?
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My Thoughts

I was in nursing school when I met my pilot husband; who’s father’s side of the family immigrated from Ireland just three generations ago. Therefore, when I read the synopsis of Grounded Hearts my curiosity was piqued. March brought with it Jeanne M. Dickson’s cover reveal and I was totally smitten… To the extent that I joined the Litfuse Blogger tour!  However, when printing was delayed I pre-ordered a digital copy along with audible narration.

Alana Kerr Collins was the perfect narrator for this story. Her lilting Irish brogue captured the story in a way I could never have achieved on my own. Add to this her ability to convey the urgency or intimacy of a scene and you have a pretty perfect audio performance.

Dickson gave me a crash course in Ireland’s neutrality during WWII as well as a refresher course in Catholicism. As to the first, I believe she adequately explains Ireland’s political climate during war and how they implemented and executed interment for Allied and Axis combatants. To the later, nothing on the cover keys potential readers into the integral role Catholicism will play in the story. However, the Church’s views on suicide, confession, penance, relics, and worship make up the very fabric of who Nan is and what governs her decision making.

Nan’s concealment of Dutch as well as her efforts to smuggle him to freedom are reminiscent of other stories set in Europe during this time period. Instead of the SS we have the sleazy, status seeking, Shamus Finn. We also have a network of co-conspirators—a hilarious group of women and one unconventional American doctor. What may be new to some Christian fiction readers is the rather steamy scenes between Nan and Dutch. Overall, a good debut novel even if some aspects were a little unexpected.

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