Review: In Every Heartbeat, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

In Every Heartbeat, by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Bethany House, 2010)

Libby Conley and her friends Pete and Bennett formed a strong bond growing up together in a small orphanage. September 1914 finds them transplanted into residence at the University of Southern Missouri, sponsored by scholarships.

Libby dreams of becoming a famous journalist, Pete is studying for the ministry, and Bennett wants to dive into fraternity life. And although they’re on the same campus, each one carries goals and wounds that threaten to pull their friendship apart.

In Every Heartbeat brings a slice of American history to life. Social conventions carry great weight on- and off-campus. It’s a rarity for a woman to have a career as a writer (or to wear her long hair down, let alone wearing “britches”). And physical discipline is matter of course behind family walls—making abuse almost impossible to prove.

This is a delightful story of friendship, faith and love, and of learning to know God’s presence “in every heartbeat”. Libby (or Elisabet, as she wants to be known in journalism) is a feisty, unconventional young woman, and I enjoyed her.

I’d heard good things about Christian author and inspirational speaker Kim Vogel Sawyer, but this is the first of her novels I’ve read. It follows the award-winning My Heart Remembers, which featured the Gallagher siblings who are now adults running the orphanage where Libby and her friends grew up.

You don’t have to read one to read the other, but I now plan to go back and find out how Maelle, Isabelle and Matt came to be who they are. The hints about their past in In Every Heartbeat intrigued me, and I’d like to read more about Maelle.

I couldn’t find a sample chapter online, but the Bethany House site has an interesting Q&A with Kim Vogel Sawyer. You can also find her on her website and as one of the contributors to the Writes of Passage blog.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House,  a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

5 thoughts on “Review: In Every Heartbeat, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

    1. janetsketchley

      I hope it catches hold of you, Laura. I suspect when you reach the sections about Pete’s family it’ll touch your heart.

      My first reactions were very defensive on Libby’s and Pete’s behalf–I’ve always thought fraternity hazing sounded more like bullying than like fun, and I sure related to Libby’s thoughts about the “proper” way for young ladies to behave to suit fashionable society’s dictates. For me, it was good reading through to see how Libby kept true to herself but yet found value in people she’d originally discounted.

  1. Kim Sawyer

    Janet, thank you so much for the kind review of IN EVERY HEARTBEAT. I had such fun revisiting the Gallaghers, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting better acquainted with Maelle, Matt, and Molly/Isabelle. :o)

    Laura, I’m so sorry you didn’t find Libby’s story interesting. Of course, an author never wants to bore a reader! I hope you’ll give some of my other books a try and find them more to your liking.

    Take care, and God bless!

    1. janetsketchley

      Thanks for stopping by, Kim! I jumped at the chance to review this book, because yours is one of the names that kept coming up and I kept saying “Oh, I need to check out her books.” I definitely want to read more about Maelle, to find out how she gets to be so comfortable with who she is without just turning into someone who’s defiant towards the attitudes she doesn’t share.

      I hope In Every Heartbeat makes a connection with Laura, and I’m also taking this to heart for the day when/if I have my own novels in print. We know we can’t please everyone, but that doesn’t negate the story’s value for the ones it connects with.

      God continue to bless you with stories to share!

      1. Kim Sawyer

        Janet, the characters in MY HEART REMEMBERS are among my favorites. If you read the letter to the reader at the end of the book, I think you’ll understand why this story is so special to me. :o) Maelle is a lady in its truest sense…and I believe you’ll agree with me by the time you’ve finished MY HEART REMEMBERS. Thanks so much for giving my books a try! And I’ll look for your name on the cover of a book someday. Blessings on your writing. Take care…Kim


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