Sunday, June 11, 2017

With You Always: Orphan Train Book One

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are having a delightful weekend.  I wanted to share some upcoming releases with you today.  Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton is the sixth book in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series and will be released on June 23.  On June 13 The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne will be out.  

With You Always by Jody Hedlund is the first book in the author’s new Orphan Train series.  The novel starts in 1857 in New York.  Elise Neumann and her two sisters were out on the streets until Miss Pendleton discovers them.  She persuades them to move into her Seventh Street Mission. Elise works as a seamstress in the workroom on site until the recession hits.  Left with no choice, Elise agrees to go west with New York Children’s Aid Society to find work as a seamstress.  Marianne and Sophie, Elise’s sisters will stay in New York with Miss Pendleton at the mission along with two young children the Neumann’s took in.  Thornton Quincy and his twin, Bradford are given a challenge by their dying father.  The son who establishes a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad and marries for love will become the new head of his company (they only have six months).  Thornton establishes the town of Quincy, Illinois (want to guess where Elise ends up).  Elise and Thornton had met in New York during the gang riots and Elise made an impression upon Thornton.  They meet up again on the train and have an instant connection.  But Thornton cannot let himself be distracted from his goal of winning the competition.   As it turns out, Elise can help Thornton with the town and his life.  Can Thornton give Elise up to marry a woman of his class?  Which brother will win the competition?

With You Always is well-written, has a steady pace and flow, and good characters.  I enjoyed the authors descriptive writing which brought the story and characters to life.  The characters were lifelike with real life troubles, sorrows, happiness and love.  I liked Elise (and her values) and how she influenced Thornton and others.  There is a light, Christian theme throughout the book that I appreciated.  We see how God is always with us not matter how we feel towards Him.  I enjoyed the authors take on the orphan trains.  I have read several books about the children sent out west to find homes, but there are very few on the woman that went looking for work.  I was drawn into this story and it held my attention until the end.  There are several storylines in this novel, but it is easy to keep track of them along with the related characters.  Ms. Hedlund did a wonderful job of portraying this time period.  She showed the struggles that immigrants, women, and the poor faced in our country and the difficult choices they faced.  I give With You Always 4.5 out of 5 stars.  At the end of the book, I was left with a couple of unanswered questions.  It is frustrating and disappointing when you finish a book and it is incomplete.  I hope answers are provided in the next book in the Orphan Train series (which I will be reading).  

I appreciate you taking time to read my latest review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Ghostal Living by Kathleen Bridge.  May you have a wonderful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  

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