With You Always by Jody Hedlund (review by Kristi)

With You Always

About the book:  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.

Paperback, 359 pages                     Published June 6, 2017, by Bethany House


My review:  This book was an emotionally exhausting read but in such a GOOD way. There so many feelings to experience along the way in this story. I found myself laughing, being sad, angry, and maybe, just perhaps, wanting to smack a character. Above all, I found myself totally submersed in this story and enjoying every moment of it.

Not knowing much about orphan trains or the financial crisis of 1857 I found this book to be educational as well as entertaining. The story is well told and it is obvious that Jody Hedlund did her research about the topic. There are little facts and tidbits throughout the book that made it very interesting to read. The pace of the book is wonderful, too. There is so much happening and it progresses in such a ways that seemed realistic.

There are many characters in the book and they each have their own distinct personality. My favorites were Elise and Thorton. Oh, that Thorton! He was so easy to like (and maybe have a wee bit of a crush on). He reminded me of Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables because he liked Elise for who she was and didn’t try to change her. He just let her be herself and loved her for it. Elise had intelligence and wit and Thorton wasn’t intimidated but these things one bit but, in my opinion, was enchanted by them. Elise and Thorton are now one of my favorite book couples. I loved the natural progression of their friendship. Nothing was rushed and the evolvement was perfect for this reader.

This isn’t my first Jody Hedlund book and it definitely won’t be my last. Her writing is consistent in that she has a way of writing that makes it so easy for me to quit seeing the words on the page and instead feel as if I’m right there alongside the characters in the book and a part of the story. I love her writing because of this and I love the characters that she creates that I can feel as if I know personally. I can’t wait for the next book in this series to learn more about the orphan trains and also maybe (hopefully) get to catch up with characters from this book. There are parts of the story left unfinished so I’m hoping we get more of these characters. I enjoyed my time with them.

If by chance you are reading this review then I must say that you simply must pick up a copy of this book. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a great story with realistic characters and not only entertaining but educational. This book is definitely one for the keeper shelf.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

A ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ read!

(What’s a six heart read?  That’s a rating we reserve for those books that are so good they deserve more than 5 stars.  #bookswelove )


About the author:  Winner of the 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.

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