by Lori Wick
Harvest House Publishers ©1995 Eugene, Oregon 97402
Reviewed by: Sarah Kourkoulis

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick, will make you laugh and cry and think. Although it is the story of a romance, to pigeonhole it there would be a real tragedy, because in so many ways, it is also the story of healing, and friendship, and God’s love.

Sophie Velikonja is a Czech immigrant with a rather poor grasp of the English language, which belies her incredible intelligence. She comes to the Riley household as housekeeper, where her employer, Alec, has several doubts of her intellect and her ability to keep a clean house, not to mention get along with his three children. His family is also in the middle of grieving the loss of their mother ten months earlier, and each member is at a different place with that.

Wick handles the topic of Vanessa Riley’s death with great delicacy and reality. As believers, the family struggles to come to grips with this tragedy in their own hearts, and also manage to help one another as best they can. The children, Rita, Craig and Tory, are 17, 12, and 9, respectively, and the author seems to have done her research into how young people who have a relationship with Jesus might handle something like this. There are times when their anger or frustrations come bursting out, but they each know the truth: that God is in control, and that He loves them dearly. Even Alec, who we see at the beginning trying to bury himself in his work, hears the voice of the Lord tell him that his children are suffering from his time away from home, and changes his lifestyle to care for them.

Into this, comes Sophie, whose gentleness and wisdom bring healing to their home. She is not perfect, however, and in that, she too must learn to submit herself to the Lord yet again, and be changed. When Alec changes her schedule for her, she struggles with her anger, and ends up having to ask God to forgive her for her wrong heart attitudes.

All in all, this is a simple book. The plot is rather straight forward. But then, Wick brings it to life, and like so many real lives, there are complications. For example, while the family tries to move on after Vanessa’s death, there is still the matter of Vanessa’s mother to deal with, a woman who does not believe that Sophie is necessary to the peace of the house. When she confronts Alec about this, he tells her calmly, and with authority, that it is his family who is concerned, and if she doesn’t like Sophie, she can leave. Meanwhile, the romance between Alec and Sophie is rather unique, in that it is not only fueled by their growing attraction for one another, but also by their joint desire to hear the Lord’s voice on where their relationship should go, and how to care for the children in the midst of it. This is typical of the whole story. Each choice and event affects nearly everyone in the book, and those affects are actually shown and worked through.

That’s why this was such a wonderful novel to read. There were no dramatic characters, ones that were larger than life. You won’t find any ravishing beauties or sulking heroes here. Instead, you will see the quiet tale of a widower and his family whose trust in God leads them to a young woman who helps them overcome their pain, and who in turn is herself healed of wounds.

Copyright 2014