Saturday, June 03, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

About the Book
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.

My Thoughts
I absolutely love this author’s ability to make the more obscure parts of history come alive on the page. Growing up as a Christian and a homeschooler historical fiction was my bread and butter and I recall a decent amount of stories surrounding the orphan trains. But I don’t recall ever reading about the women who were placed out west to work. So the history nerd in me was soaking up all the little historical tidbits. But the fascinating time when the story takes place wasn’t the only thing I loved, every other part of it was equally rich and I was completely lost in the story. After meeting Elise in the novella that preceded this book I had already begun to admire her. Life seemed to have dealt her blow after blow but through it all she stood strong and was determined to do whatever necessary to keep her family together and safe. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to travel so far from your family at the time, when letters were the only form of communication and that could take weeks. But Elise was willing to make the sacrifice for the hope that she could provide a better life for her siblings.
Thornton couldn’t have grown up more different than Elise. He was the son of a wealthy businessman and had never wanted for anything. Though thankfully he hadn’t let that turn him into a completely stuck-up snob. Sure he was oblivious to much of what the poor had to go through but when confronted with his misconceptions he was willing to change. To the outside observer there were a million reasons why Elise and Thornton shouldn’t even speak to each other let alone fall in love but despite their differences they were exactly what each other needed. I loved how Elise constantly challenged Thornton to see things differently and how listened and then went and did something about it, he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
The challenge issued by Thornton’s father was certainly out of the ordinary and it provided quite the interesting twist to the story.
So yeah, this book was brilliant and wonderful and I hated to put it down! I’m looking forward to the rest of this series!

Meet the Author
Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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