The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews presents two compelling and engaging stories. The first story, which consists of parts 1 and 3 of the book, tells the story of Andrews’ discovery of World War II German U-Boat artifacts in his Gulf Coast yard and his own personal journey to uncover the origins of how these items got into his yard. The second story details the ramification of a chance encounter between Josef a German submariner who becomes separated from his German U-Boat while patrolling the Gulf of Mexico during 1942 and Helen a woman deeply hurt by personal loss leading to anger with God and everyone she is in contact with. Their story is one of grace and ultimately forgiveness allowing each to gain a fresh start on life.
I started this book expecting it to read much like Andrew’s The Traveler’s Gift which used an interesting story to present a number of principles. Instead, this book uses both stories to underscore one valuable lesson, the power of forgiveness and the freedom it gives the forgiver. The book itself and both stories within it are engaging. This combined with the fact that the story is based on real people, made it difficult for me to keep from peeking to the end of the book and where they are now section or searching the internet for information about U-166, Josef’s boat. The story of Josef and Helen combine elements that both men and women will enjoy, giving the reader images of both U-571 and The Notebook as they race through the text. If Andrews’s goals were to entertain and provide a valuable lesson about forgiveness, he has achieved his desire. The Heart Mender is a release of Andrews’ Island of Saints, which he notes had a vocal but small audience. This rerelease will hopefully expose more readers to this engaging tale.
Review Copy provided by Thomas Nelson