Friday, June 30, 2017

With You Always by 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 novel in Jody Hedlund's new series on the Orphan Train, and it is just as fantastic as her other novels. The storyline was well crafted and kept me glued to the pages. The novel was well paced and contained a perfect mixture of suspense, romance, danger, and betrayal that kept me continually guessing. I enjoyed learning more about the orphan trains, especially those where women signed up to go out West to earn money for their destitute families in the East. I was familiar with where they sent children out West if they were orphans or their families could not afford to care for them, but I did not realize that the women and men would often do the same thing to try to earn a living. I was saddened by the conditions that these people were forced to work in and how they were often never able to free themselves from the 'debt' they had to fulfill for the train ride and housing once they made it out West.

I enjoyed the interactions between Thornton and Elise. Both characters were well developed and engaging, and it was great to see how they challenged one another to look past their stereotypes and pride and then be able to use that to help others. The other more minor characters added greatly to the story, and while some of their situations were left in pieces at the end of this novel, I know that we will see them again in future novels. I cannot wait to see what comes next in this new series!

I received this novel from Netgalley and Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment