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The Heart Mender [Paperback]

Andy Andrews

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Book Description

12 April 2011
A unique blend of historical fact and engaging fiction showing the power of forgiveness. While digging up a withering wax myrtle tree beside his waterfront home on the Gulf coast, author Andy Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts and begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard . . . literally. In 1942, as the country gears up for a full-scale commitment to WWII, German subs are dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to sink U.S. vessels carrying goods and fuel. While taking a late-night walk, Helen Mason-widowed by war-discovers the near-lifeless body of a German sailor. Enraged at the site of Josef Landermann's uniform, Helen is prepared to leave him to die when an unusual phrase, faintly uttered, changes her mind. Set in a period simmering with anger and suspicion The Heart Menderoffers the very real chronicle of a small town preparing itself for the worst the world has to offer. As cargo from torpedoed ships begins to wash up on the beach, Josef and Helen must reconcile their pasts to create a future. Blending his unique style of historical accuracy with unparalleled storytelling, New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews offers a tale of war, faith, and forgiveness illuminating the one principle that frees the human spirit.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Andy Andrews; Reprint edition (12 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078523229X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785232292
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,299,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  386 reviews
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gulf of Mexico in World War II Spawns A Heartwarming Love Story 4 May 2010
By Nancy Famolari - Published on
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
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart Mender 12 May 2010
By S. Wilson - Published on
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?
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Heartwarming Read 10 May 2010
By L. Kylen - Published on
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story, and a great principle... forgiveness *can* set you free... 24 July 2010
By Thomas Duff - Published on
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.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart Mender Review 16 May 2010
By M. Jinnette - Published on
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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