“Orphaned Hearts” by Shawna K. Williams

An Unexpected Adoption During the Great Depression

Pastor David Langley understands six-year old Caleb Holsheyer — what it feels like to be damaged and alone. His family killed in a fire, and his body severely burned, David grew up in an orphanage, ridiculed and shunned. He couldn’t let that be Caleb’s fate.

When adoption plans fall through, David is desperate to find Caleb a new home. But in the midst of the Great Depression, most families are barely getting by. No one seems willing to take on the responsibility of an extra mouth, especially one belonging to a crippled child.

Except for Sadie Miller, the town spinster. In Sadie, David sees the answer to Caleb’s needs. But Child Welfare doesn’t agree, and demands other arrangements be found, or the boy be returned to the orphanage.

David and Sadie team up, determined to find a home for an orphaned child, but while searching, might they find a family instead?


“How could they think Caleb’s not normal? He’s as normal as any other child.” Sadie folded her arms in front of her. “Goodness gracious! You’re telling me he can be adopted – just not by me — but he can’t be placed-out to anyone?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“I’ve never heard anything more preposterous. I don’t even know where to begin.”

“I know, Sadie.” David gently placed his hand on her arm. “It makes no sense to me either.”

Sadie huffed and then looked down at his hand. Strong, warm… ringless. Caleb could be adopted, but only by a family with a mother and a father. A married couple.

She envisioned how a gold band would look circling the base of his finger and suddenly realized she’d unknowingly extended her own hand and was holding it outward, like she showcased her own imaginary matching ring.

Good heavens! Sadie curled her fingers into a fist and then extended them again, curled and extended. “Guess I spent too much time kneading dough today.” She giggled like a silly girl and glanced at David to see if he believed the excuse.

His brow creased with a look of concern. “Does it hurt?” He took her hand and cradled it like a wounded puppy. His tenderness melted her to her core. Why couldn’t she be young and beautiful, someone he’d want? How she’d love to share her home with him… her bed… her life. If he married her, they could be Caleb’s parents. They could have more children. If she was able. If she wasn’t too old.

Sadie watched his beautiful face as he tended to her hand, gently massaging her palm. He might marry her, for Cale–

What was she thinking!

“It’s fine,” Sadie said, pulling her hand from his. It was a farce. She wasn’t hurt; she was just taking advantage of his kindness. Just like she’d be doing if she suggested he marry her for Caleb’s sake. He might very well do it. It would be for Caleb’s well-being, but her own selfish motivation would be hidden in there as well. David didn’t feel that way about her, and she wouldn’t use Caleb’s misfortune to trap him. What sort of person would that make her?

She side-glanced to find that he stared at her, with something strange dancing in his eyes.

“Sadie, did you know that you’re lovely?”

She had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. “You spend too much time in your office.”

“But I haven’t. I’ve been spending it with you.”

She knit her brow, her heart pounding like thunder. What on earth was he saying?

“There is no one like you, Sadie Miller,” he said. The depth in his hazel eyes held an unspoken draw, beckoning her to him. She felt herself leaning, and she tried to resist, but some invisible force seemed to be pulling her closer… and closer… Her eyes started to close.

“You’ll make some man very happy someday,” David blurted, averting his gaze as he stood. “I should go. I have to be on the road early.” He tightened his necktie and straightened his collar, then nodded courteously without looking directly at her. “We will find Caleb a home.”

Before she could respond he’d trotted down the steps of her front porch and off into the dark without even saying goodbye.

Sadie sat alone on the swing, heat radiating within her. Her hand went to her mouth. Had she almost kissed him?

Have Mercy! No wonder he’d suddenly run off. How would she face him tomorrow? She looked into the blackness where David had disappeared, the humiliating moment replaying in her mind.

Wait a minute. He was leaning too. Had he — had he almost kissed her back?


Shawna K. Williams is an inspirational novelist who loves telling a story through flawed characters – the only kind she can relate to. She also likes a good dose of nostalgia, which is why many of her stories are set in rural America during the first half of the 20th Century.

However, being a fan of other genres, including Science Fiction and Suspense, she has a few surprises planned for future works.

When not writing, Shawna spends time with her husband and three children enjoying life on their ranch. She’s also an avid reader, book reviewer, blogger and jewelry designer.

Source for pictures.

My Review:

Shawna Williams has written a wonderful Christmas story about adoption that is set during the Great Depression, though the hopefulness of being adopted is a daily reality for children living in an orphanage, especially for those who are crippled.

Pastor David Langley’s childhood is a poignant reminder set within this story, making for a double-edged sword in the placement of Caleb when an original adoption falls through.  Rules are broken in desperation, but are picked up on when those in charge of the orphanage find out the details.

Shawna’s story is one of love, warmth, care, and concern of the town spinster, Sadie Miller, for Caleb, which is set against the rigidity, rules, and criminal activities of certain parties in the orphanage. Since single parenting was forbidden, Sadie and Pastor David set out on a plan to work out the complications. For those wanting to adopt, this is a heart-warming story of the depths of persistence an adoptive parent is willing to forge through to overcome the regulations that hinder single parent involvement.

The camaraderie between Pastor David and Caleb bypasses outward appearances for personal reasons.  And the hints of romance keep you intrigued about the relationship between the town spinster and the single Pastor, as tongues are wagging in their small town.

This eBook was provided free by the author, Shawna K. Williams, in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.


Please leave an opinion or comment for this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s