"Three best friends, three cherished dreams, three searching hearts...As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a special plan for the future. Libby Conley hopes to become a famous journalist. Pete Leidig believes God has called him to study to become a minister. And Bennett Martin plans to pledge a fraternity, find a place to belong, and have as much fun as possible. But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well.
When Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?"
My Rating: Spring
The heart--the message--of this book is beautiful, and when the title In Every Heartbeat appears multiple times in the second half of the book, it is very uplifting. However, while the story is inspiring, it also left me a bit unsatisfied.
I love the characters, but at the same time I don't like how they are portrayed. There were some parts of the book that certainly captured the "feel" of college life, but for the most part I was surprised at the immaturity displayed. Certainly, we all act at times in ways that embarrass us later or in ways that shame us. In that sense, the characters were very real and authentic. However, many of the actions and attitudes shown by all of the young adults seemed to be more like those of high school students. The emphasis on clubs, on a social hierarchy, and on putting others down in order to gain popularity didn't completely fit with the independence of college life that I know.
The plot was intriguing, and it picked up more in the second half of the book. But I was torn with the way the story ended. Part of me felt satisfied with what was said and what was left unsaid, because surely life on this earth doesn't exactly have a full "happily-ever-after," where all issues are completely resolved. However, it was the things the author chose to leave unsaid that bothered me. I also wished that Sawyer could have incorporated the time period a little more into the story in some way.
Overall, the book is well-written and enjoyable. It didn't quite reach the caliber of A Hopeful Heart (click HERE to read my review), but Sawyer demonstrates the qualities of a great author, and I appreciated the reminder in this book to seek God and trust His plan, realizing that He truly loves us and knows what we need.
*With thanks to Jim Hart and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*