Davey Devaney has hit rock bottom at Fort Gibson after losing most of his family during the forced Trail of Tears march and Indian Removals. He decides to stop drinking and go in search of his sole remaining brother, Johnny, who left the fort months earlier. He travels what he hopes is the same route Johnny took and when he finds his brother, their reunion is all he hoped to find. Still, his brother’s found a wife and happiness, two things Davey craves. As he struggles to settle back into ordinary life along the rugged frontier, he finds he’s attracted to a lovely young Scotswoman, Jenny, the adopted daughter of the storekeeper at the nearby settlement. What Fills The Heart follows the same family from The Marriage Cure with the unique blending of Cherokee and Irish culture.
Review: Book two by this author, with the Devaney Brothers, was only 101 pages but a lot was packed into it. The main story is about Davey reuniting with his brother, Johnny, who was introduced in book 1 – The Marriage Cure – along with his wife, Sabetha.
A lot of background was given on the family, as well as Sabetha’s family, so that I didn’t feel lost or as if I was missing information as I read. The characters and plot were well developed for a novella but at times the story was choppy. The descriptions of the fields, the woods, the settlement, and the trail were very vivid. I could feel myself there, sweating as I worked in the fields while weeding, riding Cathal, or bringing water from the river. You could feel the love between Davey and Johnny and also between Johnny and his wife. There were a lot of phrases in Irish or Cherokee but since there were translations they didn’t detract from the flow. The ending was abrupt and I didn’t realize I had reached the end until the next page was about the author. I can visualize a continuation of the story with Davey and Jenny if they are married, as well as Sabetha’s brother, Tomas. Could that be why I didn’t feel closure?
At the end of the book there was an excerpt from The Marriage Cure along with a bibliography by the author. I look forward to reading book one as well as other books by Sontheimer Murphy.
Favorite Quote: “Does your belly still gripe ye?”
“Nay, but I’m thinking I’ll be sick for some time,” Sabetha said, laughter making her tone light.
“What do ye think it may be?” Johnny asked. “I tried to think of all class of disease starting with puking or belly ache, but there’s so many; typhoid, cholera, and others.”
“Tis yer doing,” she told him, amused. She shouldn’t tease him so because his expression combined both worry and confusion, but her delight in her condition made her want to tease him.