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70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Who can resist little know facts about submarine activity off the coast of the United States coupled with a love story? I thought I knew a great deal about World War II. Much to my surprise the submarine activity along the Southern states and the Gulf of Mexico was extensive. The facts in the book are amazing. Can you believe that German sailors were mingling with movie goers in New Orleans? The background in this book was exceptionally interesting.

But the war history wasn't the best part. A damaged young woman and an equally damaged enemy sailor find love, turn their lives around, and surprisingly, live happily ever after. But the romance isn't sticky sweet. It portrays the need for forgiveness and has an aspect that makes the best thrillers sell like hotcakes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't recommend it highly enough for an educational and inspirational read!
The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances was one of the best books I've ever read. From the very first page, I was absorbed in the fascinating story and barely able to put down the book. Andy Andrews masterfully weaves the historical tale of love, intrigue, and forgiveness.

While cutting down a tree on his property, Mr. Andrews discovers an old can that contains eight antique buttons, three photographs, a ring, and a medal. His quest to discover the origin of these items uncovers little-known World War II history as well as a story of the many kinds of love, including the forgiveness that one can only learn from knowing and loving God.

During World War II, German U-boats patrolled the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, sinking ships and intercepting Allied supplies. Far from their homeland, the German submariners obtained food and fuel from money-hungry American traitors and, sometimes, even came ashore to see movies. One submariner, wounded by a member of his own crew, washed ashore and was found by an angry young woman whose husband had already been killed in the war. The unlikely friendship between these two people leads them both to forgiveness and healing through faith in God.

Mr. Andrews provided a helpful Reader's Guide to spur group discussion or invite further self-reflection on concepts such as symbolic imagery, the nature of decisions, the idea that "No Man is an Island", the course of civilizations, and the power of forgiveness. Lastly, the author provided a "Where Are They Now" summary at the very end of the volume.

This book is an excellent transition for mystery or historical fiction readers who are ready to take a step toward reading for self-improvement and personal growth. One cannot read this book and be unchanged. Much like faith itself, it requires a decision and action. In this case, one is confronted with the following questions that demand a response: What does it mean to be a Christian? Who do I need to forgive? What people has God placed in my path for me to mentor and love? And, finally, what legacy do I want to leave behind?
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2010
The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews is a very heartwarming book, yet not without suspense and history intertwined throughout it's pages. It starts off from the perspective of an author who uncovers some surprising items in his backyard, and from there weaves a beautiful story about war, love, and forgiveness.

I personally love historical fiction, especially when there is a bit of romance involved, so The Heart Mender was a very enjoyable novel for me to read. Romance was not the main theme of the book though, just an offset of it. The main theme of the book was about forgiveness in times of hardship and fear. It was split into three parts, yet each part flowed to the next, so it was an easy book to read and take pleasure in. In fact, I finished it within a few days of starting it because the story was very captivating to me

The historical part of the book followed events occurring during WWII when German submarines attacked U.S. vessels off the Gulf of Mexico. I had never heard of these events before (which are true!) so I was very interested in the background, the storyline, and what would happen next.

If you love a good heartfelt story and the chance to learn a bit of history in the process, I would highly recommend this novel.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Andy Andrews is a master at telling stories that weave principles into the narrative. His latest book, The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances, is no different. He takes a true story that he experienced, and shows how anger can destroy a life and how forgiveness can set that life free.

Andrews discovered a buried "treasure" while trying to remove a tree from his property. It was a can that contained a family picture, some buttons, a ring, and a medal that traced back to the German submarine corps from World War II. Given that this was found on the Gulf coast in Alabama, it did present a real mystery as to how it got there. He starts to talk with some of the older people in the community, those who would have been around during the war. What he learns is a surprise to him. The Germans were active in the Gulf with their U-Boats, sinking cargo ships to disrupt the American war effort. But much of this was hushed up by the government to prevent a loss of morale by those at home. This explains how a submariner might have been present in Alabama, but what was the story behind the picture? Andrews finally finds a couple that remember certain incidents at the time, and they tell him a tale of lost love and hate. But through forgiveness and understanding, hate is soon replaced by love and freedom from a self-imposed prison.

Even if you aren't interested in the principle angle of the book, the story is still fascinating. The first question that almost everyone asks him (and it would have been my primary question also) is "this is true?" He explains it as "yes, for the most part." Before you start to think it's fabricated, it's not. It's just that he's changed locations and names as the primary players are still alive. The experiences and general events *did* happen, and it's due to forgiveness that all things worked out as they did.

The Heart Mender is an excellent read, both for the example of how forgiveness can heal, and for the story of survival during war time in an unfamiliar country.

Obtained From: Publisher
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2010
The Heart-Mender is the story of two people who have been destroyed by harsh events in their lives. Bitterness, anger and despair are coming easily to both characters. Then another horrific accident brings the two characters together and they together must learn the practice and power of forgiveness.

If this sounds like a romance novel to you and that makes as nervous and as ready to bolt as a man accidently wandering into the feminine hygiene aisle then you feel like I did when this book arrived in my mail box. But I had made a committment to Thomas Nelson to review the book so I read it.

What I discovered was a real pleasure to read. Mr. Andrews has a gripping writing style, without a ton of action I was still riveted and had to know what happened to these two characters. I also felt like Andrews was able to make his characters very real, like people you might actually know.

The theme of the book was finding forgiveness in the midst of real despair inducing hardships. The book is not only easy to read but does a powerful job of explaining forgiveness and showing its power to heal.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2010
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves history and unforgettable stories!! I read this book in two days and hated to put it down.

Based on a true story, Andy Andrews weaves a tale of healing, hope and forgiveness set in World War II America.
Helen Mason is angry at everyone and everything. After losing her young husband to the war, Helen is bitter. Moving away from everything, she finds shelter in Coastal Alabama. Lt. Josef Landermann served on a German U-boat that was patrolling the Gulf of Mexico. Betrayed, shot and left for dead, he washes ashore where Helen finds him. Both struggle with how life treated them and their current (and dangerous) circumstances. Together they find that forgiveness and letting go of the past brings healing: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2010
I didn't know what to expect when I got this book but I loved it! It provides great information about history in the Gulf - which it seems is not well known. It also has a very interesting story line that is easy to "get into" and turns out a lot of the story is true which makes it even better! I definitely recommend this book if you are a reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I was blown away when I read The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances. Author Andy Andrews claims this is his best book to date, I can say it is indeed one of the best books that I have ever read. When I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down and ended up reading it from cover to cover in one sitting.

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances is a historical "fiction" book about war and forgiveness, love and espionage, the gulf coast and German U-Boats. I've lived on the Gulf Coast for 13 years and was immediately drawn into the imagery and story painted by the author. Even though this book is "fictional" in nature, Andy does a great job of drawing out several facets of forgiveness in this book. The people who will benefit most from this book are those who are dealing with anger and struggling to forgive.

As a blogger I received a complimentary review copy from the Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program. There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2010
This book captured my attention from the first sentence, and held it all the way to the end! It was really hard to even put the book down at 3am! If I hadn't already had plans over the weekend, I would have finished it in a day.

<em>The Heart Mender</em> uncovers facts about our nation's pre-WWII involvement that I'd never known. Though I knew supply ships being sent to England were in danger of being sunk by the Germans, I never would have guessed that many of those attacks were taking place only miles off the American coastlands just in the Gulf of Mexico.

This book has all the makes of a made-for-TV movie or mini-series, combining aspects of a historic and romantic novel, filled with intrigue, heart-ache and betrayal, later yielding to forgiveness, friendship and a love that would stand the test of time.

Author Andy Andrews proves himself to be a master teller of tales in <em>The Heart Mender</em>. When Andrews discovered an old box buried nest to his house in Orange Beach, AL, he was compelled to research its contents. He had to find out why a photograph of Adolf Hitler, along with other Nazi artifacts, were in his yard. He wanted to know who had put them there all those years ago.

I didn't know that one of the most recognizable German medals was worn during WWII as a quiet symbol of rebellion, announcing to those in the know that the man wearing it saw himself as a German soldier, yet would not embrace the ideals of the Nazi party.

If you're interested in US history - read this book.
If you're a WWII afficianato - read this book.
If you just want to read a romantic story - read this book.

The two main "characters" are still alive, residing somewhere in the United States. The names have been changed to protect their privacy, as well as some of the details being scrambled. when you read it, you'll understand why this has to be.<a href="[...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2010
Raised in Florida, there were always rumors about enemy German subs offshore. Andy Andrews drew me in immediately with his initial research into the box and contents he found. Why there's still such a mystery surrounding this subject and the authors fascinating description leaves me wanting to know so much more. I hungerly consumered this book in a few days.

Andy Andrews has never disappointed me as an author. This book was outstanding and will stay on my bookshelf to be read again and again and I shared it just as I have with many of his other works. This story of second chances and forgiveness is truly freeing. I don't want to spoil a single moment of anyones pleasure when reading this book so I'll try not to give anything away. Germany is showing us how easy it is to destroy our boats after Pearl Harbor. Their u-boats are blowing up tankers, commercial and private vessels off of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. We considered all Germans as nazi's but Hitler knew better. He made sure he put a card carrying nazi on each boat to keep everyone toeing his mark. If the nazi didn't trust someone, he used deadly force and answered to no one. A German sailor who has the misfortune of not being a nazi is shot and thrown overboard. He floats to shore where he is discovered by an embittered widow who lost her husband to German pilots. She intends to turn him in if he survives but instead, they become unlikely friends. He too has suffered from this war. His wife and child were killed by RAF pilots. The sailor was educated in England and speaks it well. He integrates into the community and is well liked. At least he was until the nazi shows up with an American traitor and profiteer. Three quarters of the way through the book I was sure I knew how it was going to turn out. A few more pages and I flipped to the end because I just couldn't stand not knowing AND I WAS ALL WRONG! Going back I kept reading and found out that there were even more surprises to be had. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

My favorite quote from the book was "To forgive is to set a prisoner free...and discover the prisoner was you." I'm so glad that the original work was republished under a new name and can totally understand why earlier readers found it unforgettable. If you've been grieving a loss, hurt by the past or just plan angry with life in general, this book is for you.
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