Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

June 1, 2017

With You Always {Jody Hedlund}

with you always 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.

My Thoughts:
When Jody Hedlund writes a book you know two things: it is going to have a beautiful cover, and the story inside is going to match that beauty. It is a constant with her, and this book is certainly no exception.

I had never heard of the Orphan Trains before this book, but the thought of our country tearing apart families and putting children on trains to unknown breaks my heart. When we meet Elise and her sisters it is clear this is their destiny unless some type of miracle occurs first. Unfortunately, that miracle does not come before Elise finds herself on a train, alone and headed to an unknown city and an unknown job.

Elise meets Thornton on that train, and we already know his is wealthy and looking to best his brother in a competition for the family business. I was skeptical of Thornton at first but quickly realized he was one of the good guys and deserved all the happiness he could find in life.

As Thornton struggles to build his town, and Elise worries about her family she left behind, we see them build an amazing relationship based on friendship and mutual admiration. But Thornton has a competition to win and Elise is not included in his plans.

We see God show up and work to find a way to happiness for both Elise and Thornton. God works that miracle only he can do and the ending is simply perfect. 

This is a great start to a new series based on the orphan trains and I know you will want to add it to your reading list.

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