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Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Dreams of the Heart

Author: Penny Zeller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 7, 2023

Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart.

Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known?

For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows.

Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart?

In the sequel to Forgotten Memories, author Penny Zeller weaves a tender tale of faith, romance, and humor in a memorable story that reminds us God hears every prayer and has a plan for every life.

Wyoming Sunrise Series
Prequel: Love’s New Beginnings (Lydie and Solomon’s story)
Book One: Forgotten Memories
Book Two: Dreams of the Heart
Book Three: When Love Comes (December 5, 2023)

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics.

Today Penny is a multi-published author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. Her desire is to assist and nurture women into a closer relationship with Christ.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Penny is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website,, her blog,, and on Facebook at To subscribe to her monthly newsletter with book news and other fun morsels, please go to

More from Penny

A handsome deputy sheriff.

A woman in search of freedom.

An unconventional situation.

These three statements sum up the faith, tender romance, and plentiful humor found on the pages of Dreams of the Heart.

Some highlights during the writing of this book:

  • I conducted a lot of research on sheriffs because John Mark, one of the main characters, is a deputy sheriff in the small and lawless fictional town of Poplar Springs in 1894.
  • Many of us have heard of famous Old West lawmen such as the Earp brothers (Kansas, Texas, and Arizona), Doc Holliday (Arizona), and Pat Garrett (New Mexico). In my research, I also learned of a Wyoming Territorial sheriff named Christopher Castle who, with his deputies, noted the amount of money an outlaw had in his pocket when arrested. Later, when a fine was assessed, it was that exact amount.
  • A fun fact: some of the duties for Old West sheriffs included keeping the peace, collecting taxes, issuing liquor licenses, keeping the streets clear of dead animals, and cleaning up manure.
  • There is a brief Wild West shootout in Dreams of the Heart inspired by an historical Wyoming character’s experience.
  • John Mark carries a Colt Peacemaker revolver. While writing the book, I accidentally typed in “Colt Pacemaker”. Glad I caught it, although I’m sure it would have given my editors a laugh.
  • John Mark’s favorite cookie, the sugar cookie, is believed to have its origins in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and was named the “Nazareth cookie”. Enjoy the following recipe for the cookies mentioned in the book.


Lydie’s Sugar Cookies

Combine the following:

½ c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 egg

¼ c. milk

½ tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking powder

2 c. flour

Roll out on floured board with rolling pin and use cookie cutters.

Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes.

My Impressions

“A fresh start was the dream of her heart …”

“If only God would hear her prayers like

He heard the prayers of others.”

Welcome to the lawless town of Poplar Springs, Wyoming, in 1894. Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller is our mode of transport to arrive there. By the time you leave, you will have gained some new friends, enjoyed many laughs, learned Scriptural wisdom, and maybe even had your heart broken and put back together.

Hannah Bane is a poor, but gentle, kind, young soul. Her father, however, is a cruel drunk who treats Hannah like property. He abuses her to the point she is afraid to try to leave.

John Mark Eliason, one of the sheriff’s deputies, notices Hannah and takes compassion on her. His attempt to help takes a decided turn for the bizarre before he can stop it. Will Hannah ever be able to trust John Mark, and does the deputy realize what he has committed himself to?

I liked that Zeller shows both main characters with areas that need growth, and both with solid strengths. Yet they must work together to be their best.

I wanted to cry for the conditions that both Hannah and Ambrose endured.

And, such serious topics need comic relief! Both Ambrose and Pritchard add vital substance to the story while bringing much-needed laughter. (Ambrose is so cute, you’ll want to squeeze the stuffing out of him, too!)

Solomon Eliason lives up to his name with his Biblical, practical wisdom. He and his wife’s approach to some issues their family face give me food for thought for my own struggles.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, plus I bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“sometimes desperation to help someone caused one to do absurd things.”

“But when God is the center of any relationship, whether it be a marriage or a friendship, it has the best chance of success.”

My Rating


Magnificent! A great historical romance set in the Old West. Humor and Truth braided together to lasso some tough topics.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 12

Lakesidelivingsite, April 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 13

Vicky Sluiter, April 14

Texas Book-aholic, April 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 16

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 17 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 17

Connie’s History Classroom, April 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool, April 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 20

For Him and My Family, April 21

Holly’s Book Corner, April 22

Mary Hake, April 22

Splashes of Joy, April 23

Cover Lover Book Review, April 24

Pause for Tales, April 25


To celebrate her tour, Penny is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

19 thoughts on “Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller Review and Giveaway”

  1. Hi Becky! Thank you for your wonderful review of “Dreams of the Heart”. I’m thrilled you enjoyed your visit back to Wyoming and loved your “notable quotables”. Thank you also for being a part of the “Dreams of the Heart” blog tour and showcasing my book on your blog. I appreciate you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your impressions of Dreams of the Heart, this sounds like a wonderful story and I am looking forward to reading it myself

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds really good and your review helped me know this is a book I’d enjoying. We’re traveling to WY this summer on vacation so it would make a great read during the trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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