Tag Archives: Jody Hedlund

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

Series:  Bride Ships, #1

Publication Date: June 2019

Publisher: Bethany House

“When we’re born we’re put out to sea and can’t always control our fate or destination. We have only to ride out the journey as best we can.”

–Mercy Wilkins

A Reluctant Bride is the beautifully written story of Mercy Wilkins, a compassionate young woman, from the poorest slums of London who agrees to immigrate to Vancouver Island on a bride ship in the year 1862, unknowingly to become a bride to one of the many miners inhabiting the area. Before leaving London, her path crosses with Dr. Joseph Colville, Baron of Wiltshire at a medical clinic and once again, their lives intersect on board the ship.

This young woman with courage, compassion, and heart utilizes everything within her power to break free of the hopeless situation in which she was born. She partners with Dr. Colville, utilizing her minimal nursing skills, to provide care for everyone on the ship regardless of class. Dr. Colville, well known for defying traditional conventions, finds that compassion and a God given courage may be exactly what he has been searching for to help him face the past.

I love the historical detail interspersed through this story based on historical fact woven with fiction. The life lessons in this novel are profound, dealing with concepts such as looking past outward appearances, sacrifices made for love, and the influences of one’s past on our lives. I loved this book and I think you will too!

 This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 #AReluctantBride #NetGalley


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Searching for You by Jody Hedlund

Series: Orphan Train, Book 3

Publication Date: December 2018

Publisher: Bethany House

“We’re human. We break things. It’s what we do with the brokenness that counts.”

                                                                       -Euphemia Duff

In the year 1959, Sophie Neumann, a beautiful, young woman almost 18 years old, finds herself in more trouble than she ever dreamed of in her struggle to live life on her own terms in New York City. Sophie, the youngest of the three Neumann sisters whom we met in the previous two novels in the series, continues living in a difficult situation in large part due to her strong will and hard head. Sophie lies, steals, and finagles her way through life in order to hang on to Olivia and Nicholas, the young orphan children she raised since birth.

Sophie’s lifestyle soon catches up with her causing her to head west with the children on the orphan train, just like her older sisters did in years past. In spite of Sophie’s best efforts, the children are separated from her once they reach Illinois. Sophie, taken in by Euphemia Duff and her family, finds that Reinhold Weiss, a family friend from the past, owns the farm next door.

Read this intriguing story of how city girl, Sophie, finds her way on the frontier farm and how she manages to save her young charges. Don’t miss the captivating end to this series as the Neumann sisters reunite on the Illinois frontier, each with their own unique story to share and a faith made stronger through their trials and triumphs.

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.


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Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Series: Orphan Train, Book 2

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Publisher: Bethany House


“He said it takes great courage to accept what I can’t change, and even more courage to move forward and live my life to the fullest in spite of how achingly hard it is to face each new day.”

-Elizabeth Garner

Together Forever continues unfolding the story of the Neumann sisters, three German immigrant sisters who endured an extremely difficult start to their life in America during the first few years. This novel centers on the middle sister, Marianne, who is currently employed by the Children’s Aid Society. Marianne is stealthily on a mission to find her youngest sister, Sophie, who disappeared while under her supervision.

Marianne’s job as a placing agent puts her in a position to see if she can locate her sister as well as putting her in close proximity to Drew Brady, her male counterpart. As Marianne and Drew begin their journey with the orphan train to Illinois, each discovers a new depth to the other and a strong friendship grows. As the trip continues with many stops along the way to deliver their precocious crew of orphans to their new homes, Drew and Marianne find their feelings growing and deepening.

Will the secret that each of these young people carry destroy their budding relationship? Will they find homes for all these delightful children?  Read this absorbing tale of life with the orphan train as Drew and Marianne work together to restore their faith and love and unravel their secret fears.

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 #TogetherFoever #Netgalley

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With You Always by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund, Jody With You Always

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

Series: Orphan Train, Book 1

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Publisher: Bethany House


In order to determine which of my sons is worthiest to inherit sole control over all my investments and companies, I am issuing a six-month challenge. The two conditions are as follows. First, each son must build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad. And second, each son must get married to a woman he loves.                                                                                              -From the will of Mr. Quincy

The stipulations in the will of Thornton and Bradford Quincy’s father set a chain of events into motion that will impact many lives other than their own. Elise Neumann, an extremely poor young immigrant woman, struggles to provide for herself and four younger children for whom she is responsible. Her path crosses with that of Thornton and Bradford Quincy when they begin hiring people for employment to move to the towns they are struggling to build in the wilds of Illinois territory in 1857.

Elise Neumann is forced like many others to take a job in the Midwest as there is no longer any work available in New York City at this time. She embarks on a train journey leaving her siblings behind until she can earn enough money to send for them. Women were at a distinct disadvantage at this time in history. Pay was not equal; accommodations were not equal; and life was significantly more complex if you were a female.

Elise Neumann finds her life entangled with Thornton Quincy in spite of their very different social classes. Faith, love, and spirits filled with integrity and honesty eventually bring Elise and Thornton to a place where they can pursue their dreams together.

This book is an excellent start to a new series. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and feel that is one of Jody Hedlund’s best books. The characters are engaging and dynamic. The plot pulls the reader right in from the very beginning and carries through to the end. Ms. Hedlund draws on real historical detail to provide depth to the story. Readers of historical inspirational fiction will love this appealing novel! Excitedly awaiting book two!

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.



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Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund


Publication Date: September 2016

Publisher: Waterbrook and Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House




“If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity befalls you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.”

-William Law from A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

Jody Hedlund once again weaves a story around a very real historical man named John Newton, adventurer and philanderer and his wife-to-be, Polly Catlett, a devout and beautiful young woman raised in an upright manner. John meets Polly when he becomes late and is forced to stop at a distant cousin’s home one evening on his way back to the coast. John is an irresponsible person with no real sense of ambition when he initially meets Polly.

The story deals primarily with John Newton’s life after meeting Polly. Their story is one of Polly’s loves of music, hymns, and education and John’s struggle to become a person that deserves a girl like Polly. The characters in the novel, particularly John, undergo transformations as they mature and undergo life altering circumstances. From deckhand to writer of one of the most beloved hymns of all time, Amazing Grace, John grows and develops into a devout, Christian man. As a young man John tended to make the same mistakes over and over before he finally learning some valuable lessons. One of these lessons was the quote at the beginning of the review. This becomes one of his life mantras by which he learns to live.

The message carried throughout the storyline is that God loves us absolutely regardless of what we do and how we behave. The story also carries the underlying theme of the prodigal son, acceptance and forgiveness. This book will appeal to serious readers of Christian fiction and inspirational historical fiction. The story starts out a little slow, but gains momentum as it progresses. I liked the book and very much enjoyed the historical notes and details at the end of the novel.

 This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook and Multnomah and Bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.



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Can’t Wait to Read 2016!

As I roll through January, I am already thinking about the new books I am excited to read in 2016. I  made a list to  give you a brief peek at some of the books I hope to review for the coming year. I am sure many of you will be as excited to read some of these new novels as I am. Here is what we have to look forward to in 2016.

  • Benton, Lori A Flight of ArrowsAuthor: Lori Benton

Release Date: April 2016




  • Cambron, Kristy The Ringmaster's WifeAuthor: Kristy Cambron

Release Date: June 2016




  • Ladd, Sarah Dawn at EmberwildeAuthor:  Sarah E. Ladd

From the Treasures of Surrey series, Book 2

Release Date: May  2016



  • Camden, Elizabeth From This MomentAuthor: Elizabeth Camden

Release Date: June 2016




  • Mitchell, Siri Flirtation WalkAuthor:  Siri Mitchell

Release Date: March 2016




  • Sawyer, Kim Vogel Room for HopeAuthor: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Release Date:  February 2016




  • Copeland, Lori The Preacher's LadyAuthor:  Lori Copeland

Release Date: March 2016Series: Sugar Maple Hearts




  • Peterson Tracie A Treasure ConcealedAuthor: Tracie Peterson

Release Date: March 2016




  • Author: Laurie Alice EakesEakes, Laurie Alice The Carpenter's Inheritance

Release Date: June 2016

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Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund, Jody Undaunted Hope

Publication Date: January 2016

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers


“He wanted to pull out his money and outbid his brother.”

-Alex Bjorklund

Tessa Taylor certainly complicates the lives of bachelor brothers, Alex and Michael Bjorklund, when she lands in Eagle Harbor, Michigan on a September day in 1871. Tessa, a beautiful young woman, hired to be the local schoolteacher finds herself in all kinds of trouble after being hired by Percival Updegraff, superintendent of the local mining operation, because he thought she was a man.

The novel follows the drama of life in a mining town which is controlled by a dishonest, scheming man who thinks nothing of destroying anyone who dares to dispute his word. The tale unfolds as Tessa begins teaching and gradually finds herself enmeshed in the lives of the Bjorklund brothers, who run the local lighthouse.

Some of the characters in the story are based on real people and events which were detailed in diary entries. The detailing of life in a mining town during the most brutal time of the year is both interesting and sad at the same time.  The book is centered on themes of overcoming fear by facing it with faith and the fact that goodness and faith triumph over evil even in the darkest of times.

Personal Thoughts:

The characters in this novel were not as appealing as in the previous books in the series. The story did not move at a very fast pace. I had to push myself to get through a couple of slower spots. I have read all of Jody Hedlund’s books; and to me, this particular book was not as engaging as her others.

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.


Links to author websites:

Jody Hedlund


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Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund, Jody  Luther and Katharina


Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Publication Date: October 2015

Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House



Luther and Katharina is a fascinating novel based on a framework of true facts about Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina, a former nun. With the spread of Martin Luther’s message, an exodus from the Roman Catholic theological community began in the early 1500’s. Nuns and priests who had an interest in marriage and family found means of escape from the convents and monasteries to which many had been connected since childhood.

The story predominantly deals with Luther’s life after meeting Katharina during a very tumultuous time in history. Their story, while containing romance, is really one of grittiness, turmoil, and perseverance. Luther spreads his message while continually living on the edge of poverty and threats. He struggles with trying to support the peasants who use his message in a manner he never intended, with physical force. At the same time, in order to stay free of prison and hanging, Luther needs the support of the royalty. He walks a fine line both mentally and physically in trying to resolve his choices.

The story is filled with a cast of interesting characters from the friends who protect and support Martin Luther to Aunt Lena and the multitude of nuns that escaped the Marienthron abbey. The messages of faith, acceptance, and forgiveness run throughout the novel. The pace and voice of the novel are compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah and Bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.


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Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund, Jody  Love Unexpected

Series: Beacons of Hope, Book 1

Publication Date: December 2014

Publisher: Bethany House



“I’ve always thought that once you’re set free from the past,” Holy Bill continued, “there’s really no reason to keep bringing it up.”

 Patrick Garraty, lighthouse keeper, and Emma Chambers, an attractive young woman, each find a solution to their unique problem by getting married. In spite of the fact that the two had never laid eyes on each other prior to Patrick rescuing Emma and her brother from the debris of a ship wreck, their marriage presents a perfect solution. Patrick needs a helpmate and mother for his young son, Josiah, and Emma needs a safe place to live on the male dominated island of Presque Isle.

This novel is set in Northern Michigan in 1859 on a remote island in the great lakes. Piracy plays a large role in the lives of the people in the area. The pirates are continually thieving and looting in this poverty stricken area which is home to numerous fishermen. Piracy and theft have played roles in both Patrick and Emma’s earlier lives in different ways. Each has paid their dues, but they continue to struggle with their consciences.

The story develops as Patrick and Emma learn more about each other and begin to figure out how their life will proceed together. The characters grow and mature as their story progresses. I was a bit annoyed with Emma at times for not seeing the obvious in people around her; but she developed and finally differentiated people’s qualities. The characters are based on real people and the author’s notes at the end of the novel are very interesting.

Once again Ms. Hedlund draws us into a story filled with historical detail and grounded in true history. The romance and inspirational messages of forgiveness, love, and hope stand out in this book. Good read!

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.




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Out of the Storm by Jody Hedlund


Hedlund, Jody  Out of the Storm

Series: Beacons of Hope, a Novella

Publication Date: 2014

Publisher: Bethany House

                                     “Why did love and heartache have to walk in such close companionship?”

Isabelle Thornton, a lovely young woman living a secluded life at the Presque Isle Lighthouse, has a terrible secret that keeps her frightened and alone on the remote island until Henry Cole, a rather lazy, handsome young man from a wealthy family washes ashore one morning. Isabelle’s life is changed forever with the introduction of Henry into her life.

The lighthouse is located in northern Michigan and the time period is 1854. Set during the time of a large expansion of the lumber business, the story touches on historical details regarding the lumber trade, shipping on the great lakes, and the keeping of a lighthouse. Henry and Isabelle’s story unfolds as Henry recuperates at the lighthouse after a terrible wreck in their area.

This novella is an intense, short story that helps remind us that having a handicap in one aspect of our life does not stop us from enjoying life to the fullest in the rest of our existence. Faith, love, and hope make all things possible is definitely a strong theme in this story.

5/5 for novellas


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