Heart Most Worthy, A
By Siri Mitchell
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2011, Bethany House
Paperback, 372 pages
The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times. Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client. Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?Siri Mitchell's books always seem to have the most beautiful covers, and, like the last one I read, She Walks in Beauty,I was originally attracted to this book for the cover alone. Before I read the book, I skipped to the back and read the "Note to the Reader," which detailed the historical background of the book, referencing the Great Italian Emigration and the Spanish Influenza. This perked my interest in the book even more so, since I did not know anything about these references before this book. The Italian aspect also interested me since I have some Italian blood in me.
One of the first thoughts that occurred to me when I began the book was how little the three girls and their separate subplots had in common. The characters do not seem to intersect at all, and all three girls are very different from one another, with the exception of the dress shop. It felt almost like three different stories that the author took turns telling. As the book progresses, that proves to be incorrect, as the different characters intersect in the most unusual ways, such as one of girl's love interest driving the delivery truck for the shop where another girl's love interest works. This aspect of the book became the most interesting for me, since Mitchell does not make a big deal of pointing out where the connections are, and I enjoyed tracking them.
The owner of the dress shop, Madame Fortier, had her own subplot as well, but I was a bit dissatisfied with how hers played out, since very little about her circumstances changed - even though it was this that made her unhappy in the first place.
All three girls were very likable for her own reasons, though each one's subplot ended somewhat differently. Luciana seemed to get the best deal of the three girls, though all were very happy by the end. Annamaria's ending was bittersweet, but it gave the reality of the Spanish Influenza more impact. I did not like Julietta overly much in the beginning, but the lessons she learned made me like her that much more by the end.
Overall, the book was at times intriguing, romantic, suspenseful, and even frustrating, but it was definitely worth the read.
The Cover: I love the dress on this cover, which is also directly described in the book, besides being an indirect reference to part of the plot's background.
First Line: "On May 2, 1918, a short article appeared in the Boston Globe."
Informative, yes, and boring, even more so - good thing I already like Siri Mitchell's writing.
Favorite Quote: "Who has ever deserved anything they've been given? Love isn't about deserving, cara mia. It's about giving. And accepting. And sharing. The most worthy heart is also the most courageous."
Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge, I Want More Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*