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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Growing up in the country pre-World War II was difficult for Helen. With few of the amenities the young people in town enjoyed – like running water – Helen was constantly self-conscious and a target for teasing because she wasn’t as clean as the others and her clothes were often worn out at best. During her high school years, she moved into town and lived with her grandparents, but that wasn’t easy either. When a fellow student, one of the popular boys in school, Joseph, connects with Helen, she has high hopes that perhaps she has finally found love and a chance at a happy life with a family of her own. Then World War II begins and some of the choices Helen makes may not be for the best.
Clare Bills's romance novel, Mending Helen’s Heart, is the sequel to Mountains of Trouble. It’s a touching story about coming of age during a difficult era in world history. The plot follows Helen as she adjusts to life in town, living with a controlling grandmother and making her way in the work world. As the romance develops, Helen’s character evolves and she actually starts to blossom, breaking free from the previous stigma of being the dirty girl from the country with greasy hair and grubby clothes. The descriptive narrative sets the stage and invites the reader into the story. The characters are well developed and the dialogue is well constructed and believable and helps move the story along. This is an engaging read for young adults and up.