Substitute Heart by Summer Michaels gives us a sweet and sensitive retelling of the “Scrooge” Christmas story come to life. In this case, however, it is not a miserly heart but a broken one that is in desperate need of saving.
Travis has lost the husband of his heart, Lane Foster, while on mission in Afghanistan. The story sweeps us through the funeral and three following years in of Travis’ life where we see him diminish into a mere shadow of himself. However, the company of men that his husband led try to keep tabs on Travis—one in particular, Oliver Huff. It will be by divine intervention and Oliver’s growing love for Travis that he is pulled back from the brink of living a life that is earmarked only by despair and unhappiness.
This story was so delicately unfolded. Written with a sensitive hand by the author, we felt the very real sense of loss that the main character lived with on a daily basis. I simply wish it had been a bit longer. Due to its length, I felt we missed the growing relationship between Oliver and Travis, something I dearly would have liked to read about as both characters came to life on the written page for me.
At a mere 12, 000 words, however, Summer Michaels is still able to give us a wonderfully positive story with redemptive themes and rising hope. Just lovely!