A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Jody Hedlund, Netgalley, the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Series: Orphan Train, #1
Published by Bethany House on June 6th 2017
Source: Jody Hedlund, Netgalley, the author
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical, Religious, Romance
A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.
The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.
With You Always is the first full-length novel in the Orphan Train series by Jody Hedlund. I love this author’s writing. Don’t mistake this as me saying I’d review this book with rose-tinted glasses. I wouldn’t. Honesty is always super important to me. Favorite author or not. Jody just has a way of setting a scene for me. She captures all five senses, touch, sound, taste, sight and hearing in a way that few authors can. I feel as if I get a good idea of all that the characters are experiencing.
I think that some parts of this book were slightly predictable but it didn’t ruin the story for me. I think anyone reading would have been able to pick up on the subtle Cinderella vibe. It works for this story though. Maybe I’m just a romantic at heart. Can’t fault me for that, ehh?
I think I mentioned in my review of “An Awakened Heart” that this book gives me a “Call the Midwife” vibe. Certainly, this book continues to delve into social injustices and the plight of women. I wouldn’t say that it has an overt feminist tone by any means. It does, however, give an accurate glimpse into social issues, that while much improved, need to be resolved even still.
When I picked this book up, I almost expected the focus to be on Christine and Guy from “An Awakened Heart.” This book, however, focuses on Elise and her struggles to provide for her siblings after the mission was forced to close its doors. My heart went out to this young woman but I appreciated her strong personality and determination. I loved how she pushed Thornton to be a better man and to learn from experience the conditions that his workers endured.
Again, I must warn that this book is a bit predictable and maybe even a little sappy. But, as usual, the author didn’t shy away from the dirt and grime of life. Instead, it was woven in seamlessly. Jody Hedlund truly has a gift for capturing the trials and triumphs of the indomitable human spirit.