Searching for You by Jody Hedlund is the third book in Hedlund’s “Orphan Train” series. In this series, Hedlund takes an interesting perspective on this historical phenomena, following the perspectives of three German immigrant sisters and how their lives in America were all touched by the orphan trains of the Children’s Aid Society.
Together Forever by Jody Hedlund is the second book in the Orphan Train series, the sequel to With You Always, which you can find my review of here. While I suppose this book could work as a stand-alone, it will make more sense if you read book 1 to get background on the characters: who they are and how they came to be where they are at the start of book 2.
Marianne Neumann works with the Children’s Aid Society placing orphans from the streets of New York with families out west. While she works, she looks for records of her younger sister Sophie who disappeared in book 1. In doing so, she befriends another placing out agent, Andrew Brady, and the two of them travel out on the orphan train with a group of kids and the two of them learn to love and let go along the way. Continue reading “Together Forever”
With You Always by Jody Hedlund is the first full book in the “Orphan Train” series. I say “first full book” because Hedlund released a prequel novella to the series, which is currently free on the Kindle platform, and is entitled “An Awakened Heart”.
Elise Neumann is a German immigrant who, with her siblings, has lost everything, including her parents. Now as she tries to make a life for herself and sisters in America, she must rely on God and the charity of others. When riots and gang rivalries happen on the streets, the rich and poor clash together to find safety. Will this mixing of social circles remain after the storm passes? Or will things go back to the way they were? Can Elise and her sisters survive when the market crashes and she loses the job she fought so hard to get? What will become of the fragile life she has built for herself? Will she have to apply for a job out west and leave her siblings behind?
Thornton Quincy is the son of one of the most influential and wealthy men in New York City. As his father’s death nears, his father issues a challenge to Thornton and his twin brother. Whichever brother can create a successful town along the railway and find true love in six months will receive the inheritance. When his world collides with Elise’s, will his eyes be opened to the hardships of the poorer classes, or will he move on with his life?
I liked the premise of this story. Orphan train novels have always had the ability to tug at my heartstrings, and given that the main character was a young German immigrant, which I can relate to seeing as my grandmother was such, I expected to fall in love with this story from the outset. However, I felt the story was very slow moving, and the way Thornton met Elise and related to her for the first 60-70% of the story struck me as being more on the creepy side than on the tender side. Additionally, there wasn’t really an “orphan train” element to the story, more of a “women sent out west looking for work”. I liked the end of the story though, although it was predictable. I was able to believe Thornton’s motives and come to like him as a person/character in the last 30% of the book, and Elise’s character began to gain some sympathy from me as well. Hopefully this series will get better with every book, as Hedlund’s lighthouse keepers series did.
Thank you to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.
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