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.