"Can You Ever find Total Forgiveness?"
Reviewed by Susan Dyer
Posted May 26, 2013
Women's Fiction | Fiction Inspirational
THE HEART STONE by Sherry Kyle is a story of forgiveness,
hope, and redemption. Jessica and her son having been making
it on their own with no help or contact with Jacob's
biological father Andrew. When Andrew decides to break their
custody agreement Jessica and Jacob figure now is a good
time to visit Uncle George. George is Jessica's uncle who
took them in when Jessica was pregnant and had no one to
help her. When Jessica moves out on her own with Jacob she
takes lots of good memories with her.
Fast forward six years and Jessica finds Uncle George in a
rehab center. He has had his leg amputated. While he was a
missionary in the Philippines, he got an infection in his
leg and came back to the States for treatment. He was very
ill and they could not save the leg. Uncle George is very
bitter and having a hard time with his loss. Jessica also
learns that he is still pining for his long lost love,
Evelyn. Once back in the states, he learns Evelyn has moved
on a long time ago and married someone else. At the rehab
center Jessica meets the woman in charge, Holly. Holly
invites them all over for Easter dessert. There she meets
Nick. She is instantly attracted to him as he is to her, but
she doesn't act on it because of her past. Uncle George's
time is up at the rehab center and Jessica tries to convince
Nick to let them rent his cottage. This is where the fun begins.
THE HEART STONE is an awesome and totally believable story
with characters you will fall in love with. You will be
cheering for Nick and Jessica to come together and fight
Jessica's troubles together. The widow Evelyn still thinks
of George all the time now and wants to reconnect with him.
George is too stubborn to let go of the hurt he felt in the
past when he found out Evelyn married someone else. You will
find yourself turning the pages very quickly to find out
what happens to all of them. Sherry does a great job of
bringing all of the characters in to your heart and wanting
to be right there with them. THE HEART STONE has lots of
twists and turns and will tug on your heart strings as you
turn page after page.
When the biological father of Jessica MacAllister’s son
decides to break their custody agreement, Jessica and her
son visit her Uncle George for advice and refuge…
Following a year of grief, Evelyn Sweeney is finally ready
to move on. Pondering her new path in life, her mind drifts
to her first love, George MacAllister…
When the lives of these two women cross, they discover that
one heart-shaped ring binds their stories together. But will
the results be a rekindled faith and new hope, or will it
lead them both back into the darkness they’ve fought for so
Jessi, it's Andrew . . . Andrew Lawson."
At the sound of his voice, Jessica MacAllister's knees
went limp and her palms grew moist. She sat down on the
wooden stool near the kitchen counter and leaned her head on
her hand, her elbow resting against the cold tile. Why was
he calling? She hadn't heard from him since he signed the
papers relinquishing his rights to Jacob six years before.
"Jessi, you there?"
She fought the urge to hang up the phone. "I'm here." "
I want to see him."
Her heart beat a strange rhythm. She had prayed this day
would never come. "Andrew, I—I—I don't know,"
she stuttered. As a speech pathologist, she prided herself
on her communication skills, but this man could trip her up
regardless of her training.
"We can meet at a park. I'll sit at a distance and
watch." The desperation in his voice was palpable.
Jessica's jaw clenched and her stomach churned. How
could she trust that he wouldn't rush up to Jacob and tell
him that he was his biological father? Or worse, what if he
wasn't sober? His behavior when he was drunk could be . . .
No. She wouldn't let a man who had no part in Jacob's
upbringing suddenly waltz into his life—especially
someone who had shown her the ways of the world. But Andrew
wasn't entirely to blame. She'd given in.
"No. No, that won't work." Jessica ran her hand through
her shoulder–length hair.
"How about a restaurant? I'll eat at a separate table. I
only want to see our son."
Our son. Jacob was not their son. He was hers and hers
only. Andrew wasn't there for her when she was pregnant or
gave birth. He'd never been there. Why the sudden interest now?
When Jessica woke this morning, she planned to spend the
whole afternoon with Jacob—alone. What right did
Andrew have to show up in her life after she'd assumed he
was long gone? He'd abandoned her when she needed him most.
The wound hurt deep and it would take a lot more than a
A fire burned in her belly. "The answer is no—"
"Mommy, who you talking to?" Jacob padded into the
kitchen, clad in his dinosaur pajamas. He rubbed the sleep
from his eyes.
"Is that my boy?" Andrew's voice rose.
Jessica stared at her innocent son. Her hand shook and a
lump lodged in her throat. She couldn't tell Jacob who was
calling, and she couldn't tell Andrew the small voice he
heard was indeed his son's.
"Come on, Jessi, work with me here—"
A firm resolve flowed through her veins. She wouldn't
allow Andrew to worm his way into her son's life. Not now,
not ever. "I've got to go." She pressed the off button and
hung up the receiver.
"Hungry, buddy?" On shaky legs, she swung around the
counter. She hoped Jacob didn't notice how rattled she felt.
"How about some pancakes?"
"With chocolate chips?" He hopped on a stool and grinned,
showing the gap that once held a baby tooth.
Several months ago, she'd made his favorite pancakes for
his birthday. And now, after receiving the unexpected phone
call from his birthfather, she'd give Jacob anything he
wanted. "Sure." She smiled back.
"Can we go see Uncle George today?" Jacob pleaded.
"Thought you wanted to spend the day with me." A twinge
of jealousy twisted her insides.
She chided herself, and then grabbed a mixing bowl from
the cabinet. Uncle George had been through a difficult patch
lately. If they could spend an hour or two visiting, it
would make a world of difference to the older man.
"I've never seen someone without a leg." Jacob's eyes
grew big and round.
Jessica cringed—neither had she. Why hadn't she
taken the time to visit her uncle before now? The answer
made her pulse race. Fear. The smell of hospitals and
rehabilitation centers turned her stomach. Glancing down at
her hand, the heart– shaped stone glistened and caught
the light filtering through the window. Uncle George had
given her the diamond ring when he found out she was
pregnant with Jacob to fend off any unwanted
advances—or unwanted questions. He had said, "It's
hard enough being a single parent."
"Can we, Mom?" Jacob's voice interrupted her thoughts.
The phone rang. She recognized the number from moments
The phone rang twice more.
Jessica continued to gather the utensils and ingredients
for the pancakes. Maybe if she ignored him, he'd go away.
"Can I answer it?" Jacob reached for the phone.
"NO!" She stopped him, and then clicked the off button
of the answering machine before it could pick up.
"Who keeps calling?" Melissa, her roommate of a couple
years, strode into the room. Her short blonde hair stuck out
here and there, and her pink jersey T–shirt hung
almost to her knees over navy sweat pants.
Jessica shot her a "don't ask" look, and then gestured
to her little boy. "Jacob and I are going to Santa Cruz
today to see Uncle George."
"Yeah!" Jacob hopped off the stool and thrust his arms
in the air. He ran around the table like a speeding train
pumping his small fists.
"Whoa, buddy." Jessica caught him, wrapping her arms
around his chest. "Jacob, listen. I need to talk with
Melissa. Why don't you watch cartoons and I'll call you when
the pancakes are ready." Jessica rubbed the top of his head,
his soft, brown hair slipping between her fingers.
"Okay." He ran toward the couch. On his way, he reached
down and grabbed his favorite dump truck from the floor, and
then huddled in the corner cushion of the sofa.
Jessica flipped on the television, then motioned for her
roommate to join her in her bedroom.
"What's up?" Melissa planted her hands on her hips.
"You're acting strange."
"It's Jacob's birthfather. I spoke with him this
morning." Jessica paced the room. She grabbed her purple
terrycloth robe and slipped it over her shoulders. "I hung
up on him. And now he's calling again."
"What does he want?" Melissa sat on the edge of
Jessica's unmade bed and covered her legs with the striped
"To see Jacob." Jessica leaned against the wall, slid
down, and landed with a thud on the hardwood floor.
"Has he ever been part of Jacob's life?"
"No, and I won't let him start now. When he found out I
was pregnant, he made it clear he didn't want anything to do
with the baby or me. He even blamed me for sleeping around,
saying the baby wasn't his." Jessica hugged her legs with
both arms. "I wish I'd never gone to Mexico on that college
trip. But I did." She sighed. "My roommates and I wanted to
celebrate. I knew better."
"Graduation from Fresno State." Jessica bit her lower
lip. "We were seniors looking for a good time. That's where
I met Andrew." She stared at the floor, wishing the memories
"Don't be too hard on yourself. You have a beautiful
little boy." Melissa stood and meandered over to where
Jessica sat. Holding out both hands, she pulled her up.
"From now on, I'll answer the phone. I think Jacob's waiting
for those pancakes."
Her roommate was never one to mope and she wouldn't
allow Jessica to either. She cinched the belt of her robe.
"Please don't tell Jacob who called."
"Never in a million years." Melissa led her back to the
kitchen. "So, when do you leave for Santa Cruz?"
"Right after breakfast."
"It's spring break. Why don't you take the whole week?
I'll ward off any unwanted callers."
With Jacob having time off from school, Jessica had
cancelled all her clients. Her speech pathology business,
Speak Easy, would take a hit financially but she'd promised
Jacob to spend time with him. Santa Cruz sounded great.
Still . . . .
"But tomorrow is Easter and we planned a big dinner. I
can't leave you alone." Jessica poured a cup of coffee and
handed it to Melissa. "I bought more vanilla creamer. It's
in the side door of the refrigerator."
"Don't worry about me." Melissa's eyes danced. "A guy
from work hinted he had no place to go."
"Oh, I get it." Jessica grinned. "Don't let us get in
"It's not like that, and you know it." Melissa returned
the tease. "I was going to ask you today if he could join
us, but since you're leaving town, I didn't want you to
worry." She grabbed the creamer and poured a hefty portion
into her coffee.
"If it makes you feel any better, I'm glad you'll have
"Where will you stay in Santa Cruz?"
"My uncle has a trailer. I'm sure we can crash there."
Jessica cracked two eggs into a bowl and beat them before
adding the flour, baking powder, sugar, and milk to the
bowl. "He's going to be surprised to see us. I've been
hesitating—didn't want to scare Jacob. He's never seen
someone without a leg."
Melissa took a swig of her coffee. "Jacob didn't look
scared to me. Are you sure you're not the one who's
nervous?" She winked.
Jessica placed a small bowl of butter in the microwave.
"Okay, you got me there. I admit I'm scared. I can't imagine
my uncle, someone I've leaned on for strength my whole life,
needing assistance. I'm glad the nurses at Pacific Coast
Manor are available around the clock." She stirred the
batter gently, leaving small clumps of dry ingredients. "I
almost forgot the chocolate chips."
"In the pancake batter? It's not anyone's birthday."
Melissa opened the cabinet above the dishwasher and handed
the bag to Jessica. "You really are worried about that phone
Jessica nodded and let out a breath.
Melissa sidled up to her and spoke in hushed tones.
"Remember, it's not the end of the world. So, he wants to
see his son. Are you sure that would be a bad thing?"
Jessica scrunched up her nose and looked directly at her
roommate. "I'm positive." She placed a frying pan on the
stove and turned the heat to medium low before she added a
handful of chocolate chips to the mix.
Melissa dropped a pat of butter into the pan. "Okay, if
you're sure, then I'm with you on this."
"But promise me you'll take this week to really think it
through. Jacob needs a man in his life. And you haven't
brought one around since he was born." Melissa sprinkled a
few flecks of water into the pan. The drops sizzled.
"You forget. We're going to visit my uncle. He's the
best role model I could ask for. No other man is needed."
Jessica poured circles of batter onto the hot griddle.
"If you say so."
"Jacob, can you please turn off the television," Jessica
called. "It's time for pancakes."
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