Jaded – Varina Denman – Mended Hearts #1 – David C. Cook – Published 1 March 2015



Ruthie Turner resents the Christians in her small Texas town, but when she falls for the new preacher, she must release her bitterness…and learn to love. On the surface, nothing seems to change in this dull town-yet God always works beneath the surface.

My thoughts

This book was really enjoyable and surprisingly moving. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book – from the synopsis it really could have been a historical for all I knew. Well, it’s actually a well-written contemporary that is beautiful, transporting and hopeful.

Let me tell you about Ruthie. Living in the small town of Trapp has both its good sides, like her cousin, who is more like a brother and best friend in one, and its hardships, working two jobs to stay afloat and the ever-present rejection from the church and its members. Ever since she and her mother were asked to leave the congregation, Ruthie hasn’t wanted to have anything to do with the church or the disapproval of its members. But a new family in town, a young pastor, his younger brother and mother, has the small community of Trapp abuzz. Ruthie is determined to keep her distance – all Christians are alike in her mind, not to be trusted thank you very much – but Dodd, the pastor, is captivated from the moment he sees Ruthie. As Dodd and his brother work their way into the fabric of Ruthie’s life, they promise to challenge all of Ruthie’s protective walls and maybe even her beliefs about God’s role in her life.

I enjoyed Ruthie’s strength, resilience and wit. I loved her relationship and banter with her cousin. And the romance – so sweet and yet realistic as Ruthie and Dodd face many challenges. The storyline is very relatable, the harm caused by the church is so very diverse and widespread, yet the book is hopeful and healing. The setting is perfect, I could almost taste the Texan dust, and the story kept me captive enough that I read it in one sitting. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, which will follow one of the secondary characters.

The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

More information

Category: Fiction

Genre: Christian contemporary.

Themes: Romance. Abuse. Family. Friendship. Small towns.

Series: Mended Hearts #1

Published: 1 March 2015 by David C. Cook.

Format: Paperback, ebook. 432 pages.

Author’s website: Varina Denman.


Find it on Goodreads


If you liked this try:

Book Two in the Mended Hearts Series: Justified.