Tuesday, June 2, 2009


by Erin Herrin and
Lu Ann Staheli

In 2006, as the world watched the Herrin family’s medical drama play out, Richard Paul Evans saw another story winding through the media’s medical coverage—a mother’s story of faith and determination.

The seven-time bestselling author of such books as The First Gift of Christmas, approached Erin Herrin, the mother of conjoined twins, Kendra and Maliyah, and convinced her that her inspiring story needed to be told. He turned to author, reporter, editor Lu Ann Staheli to help Erin tell her story. The result is the tender, bestseller titled, When Hearts Conjoin, co-written by Erin Herrin and Lu Ann Staheli.

It is through this combined lens of Staheli’s notable literary gift and Erin Herrin’s poignant maternal point of view that we experience the pitch and roll of the Herrins’ lives through trial and triumph. At times intensely personal, Jake and Erin Herrin’s story is a candid illustration of the power of faith and perseverance to trump adversity and human frailty. There are lessons aplenty in this book.

On one level, When Hearts Conjoin chronicles Erin and Jake Herrin’s handling of life-altering events, culminating in the separation of their conjoined twins, Kendra and Maliyah. And while that medical miracle is at the crux of this tender book, it’s really a story about relationships—husband/wife, child/parent, sibling love and faith in God.

Peppered with just enough medical detail to illuminate the miraculous outcome of their daughters’ daunting journey, it is the painfully candid glimpses of the Herrin’s interpersonal lives that provide the greater drama. Time and again, choice and chance bring Erin and Jake Herrin to the very edge, testing the resolve of their parents, their marriage, and their faith. Through it all, it is Erin’s overarching love for her children, all of her children, that shines through.

Lu Ann Staheli performs her role with precision, guiding and structuring a complicated, highly emotional story while maintaining Erin’s point of view. This counterbalance of deep drama, told in pure first person format, magnifies the pure grit and faith of this valiant wife and mother. The foreword, written by Richard Paul Evans, expresses it this way:

“Erin Herrin’s journey is one of sheer determination and the willingness to sacrifice nearly everything to keep her family together.”

You will be moved.

(When Hearts Conjoin, published by Richard Paul Evans Publishing, 2009, is available at http://www.whenheartsconjoin.com/whc/Home.html. It can also be ordered online at http://www.utahtwins.com/. Proceeds from the book sales go to a medical trust for Kendra and Maliyah Herrin.

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