Friday, July 14, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund - a book review

This book is part of a series that is very near to my heart and I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.  This is the first story in Jody Hedlund’s Orphan Train series.  My grandmother and great uncles were orphan train riders so this book, while fictional, was very interesting to me.  My grandmother rarely spoke of her experience, and like so many children, lost touch with her siblings. She was fortunate in later years to be reunited with them.

The main character in this story, Elise, is a German immigrant whose family falls on hard times and becomes destitute. She ends up being responsible for not only her own siblings but children of a family friend.  She and the children take refuge in a mission house that provides them with a place to sleep and a job for Elise.  When the banks fail and the mission closes it’s sewing shop, she must look for employment elsewhere.  She makes the difficult decision to travel to Illinois as part of the Children’s Aid Society skilled workers program, and must leave the children until she can make enough money to send for them.  

This is from the publisher’s website:

Could Following the Opportunity of a Lifetime Cost Them the Love of Their Lives?
One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.
Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?”

This is another book that I would classify as a clean, historical romance with an underlying thread of faith.  It’s a story of desperation, hard choices, integrity, suspense, ethnic prejudices, rivalry, danger and love.
The author does a great job of putting the reader in the middle of the bank failure and ensuing gang riots.
I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and Baker Publishing Group through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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