Andy Andrews, NY Times bestselling author has published a great new book “The Heart Mender.” In stores in May 2010, this novel teaches love, faith, forgiveness, determination and hope. After finding several pieces of Nazi memorabilia (including a picture with Adolf Hitler in it) in his own back yard, Andrews sets out to find the story behind the artifacts. The result is a book that will change your life. Life, loss, love, mystery, intrigue all make up this novel which is for the most part true. The historical figures and events all happened and can be found on the internet today. There really were German U boats in the Gulf during WWII destroying American vessels and lives, yet being kept from the public by the Government. Mr. Andrews has only changed names and locations out of respect for the people whose lives were actually impacted by the events in the book.
Helen one of the main characters in this book is the character that rang true with my spirit. Helen, a young war widow, is harboring hatred, resentment, and bitterness against the Nazis who killed her husband. She is not living; she merely exists in a world now that looks bleak and hopeless to her.
Lt. Josef Landermann, the other significant character in “The Heart Mender” washes ashore in the Gulf after being shot, betrayed, and left for dead by an officer aboard a German U Boat. Helen discovers him lying there during one of her midnight walks along the beach. Angry when she sees his German uniform, she literally begins to beat the injured man. It is only after something he says to her that she begins to help him. Though she is still full of venom toward Josef and what he represents, she leads him to her cottage, cleans his wounds, and hides him from the public all without really knowing or understanding why.
In future conversations, Helen and Josef begin to answer questions between them that eventually allow them to become friends to a degree.
Another truly special character in the book is Danny who at 49 lives his life as a child, the result of Down’s syndrome. It is Danny who really makes Helen start thinking about forgiveness. While in the truck with Helen one day, Danny began to talk. Danny let Helen know that he knows she is angry because her husband died in the war. He states to Helen “If you are mad at a soldier, I think you have to forgive him. You want to know why? Convinced that her only option is to listen to Danny, Helen answered, “Yes.” Danny says “I think you have to forgive him for you. Intrigued by this line of reasoning said “Why’s that?” Danny answers “Because whenever you get hurt by somebody, you can either think about ‘me all day long and let ’em keep hurting you inside… or give them to God.” It is so refreshing that Mr. Andrews has acknowledged Danny for his wisdom and creativity in spite his Down’s Syndrome. There are so many stereotypes placed on the handicapped and mentally retarded today that is unwarranted. Special needs kids have so many redeeming qualities and are capable of giving so much love, they are truly a blessing and far from a hindrance in the lives they touch.
By asking elderly people around his hometown, Andy Andrews asks questions and determines to find out the story behind the buttons, pins, and pictures he unearthed until he does find out the truth. He then weaves this wonderful tale of faith, love, forgiveness and strength. Margaret, Billy, and Wan are also important influences in the book.
You will not want to miss reading this jewel! It is just what everyone needs in order to view their own hurts and blessings from another perspective, learning to live and love again after grasping the most important principle in our lives, forgiveness.
The Book “The Heart Mender” by Andy Andrews
Personal reading and interpretation