The novella sequel to Karen Witemeyer's novel Full Steam Ahead, "Love on the Mend" follows young Jacob Sadler, now grown up and a doctor, having come through the Civil War to accept a practice in his old hometown. Jacob knows it's God's will he return, and he's ready for it - until he discovers his uncle is still there and alive. Knowing he should forgive and actually forgiving are two different things, but his nurse, Mollie - a woman he finds more attractive by the minute - is determined to help him.
Though it is not a full-length novel, the story is fun epilogue to Full Steam Ahead. I especially liked that it took a mystery from the first novel - Jacob's past - and let us know how he ended up a runaway in the the streets of Galveston - what drove him and instilled such fear and hurt into him. So it isn't just the story of what happens to him when he grows up, but also the story of what happened to him as a young child.
I liked the point the author makes about forgiveness, something Jacob finds harder than he planned: "He'd been prepared to face his past as long as it was easy. . ." but with his uncle alive, "a few mumbled words wouldn't be sufficient - he'd have to live out his forgiveness day after day. Anything but simple." True forgiveness is not just saying it - it's living it, day in and day out. It's not easy, but it must be done, or it will eat away at you, leaving festering bitterness in its wake.
A nice balance of adventure, romance, and spiritual themes in one sweet, short story!