With You Always by Jody Hedlund
Genre: historical, romance, inspirational
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date: June 6, 2017
Reviewed by: Rachel Dixon
Fiction Addict Scorecard: A
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.*
It is a well-known fact that Jody writes some of my favorite books of all time. Her ability to express the time and place in a beautifully real way has drawn me into more than one story. And on more than one occasion, my attention would not be relinquished until I turned the last page of the book (or longer).
With You Always is the beginning of a new series and it is full of the same passion and faith that infuses Jody’s other books. Elise is an immigrant woman in New York during the mid-1800s. A challenging time for many people, for a single woman trying to take care of her siblings there are limited options. When heading west to find employment, Elise struggles between doing what is best for her family and not wanting to be separated from them. Will she open her heart to God and allow Him to guide her steps?
On the other hand, there’s Thornton Quincy. With so much uncertainty about his future, Thornton Quincy is battling to find his identity. Constantly being compared to his brother, he has never allowed himself to discover who he truly is. What kind of man does he want to be?
The emotions in this story gripped me from the start. There was so much suffering and so many families torn apart, my heart was (and still is) heavy with the situations that our characters faced. However, it was so encouraging to witness God’s hand weaving in and out of their lives. He lined up the pieces and placed everything in the right order for them. Although, beware the cliff hanger! AH! I am hoping that this story continues (if not strictly from Elise’s perspective than maybe Marianne’s or Sophie’s??) because I NEED ANSWERS!!!
Ok, that is all. You need to pick up this book, read it, and let me know what you think of it! I think this is a brilliant opening to the series and a unique look into an aspect of history that is so easily overlooked.
*synopsis from Amazon.com.