Sunday, May 27, 2018

Review: "With You Always" by Jody Hedlund

In December, I included With You Always in my Top Ten Tuesday list of books I'd love to find under the Christmas tree. My sister Val read that post, and With You Always showed up in my stocking!

Could following the opportunity of a lifetime cost them the love of their lives?

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?

Whether she's writing adult historical romance or medieval YA romance, Jody Hedlund is a master of her craft. In With You Always, she writes about the Orphan Trains ... with a twist.

Here I have to mention that I loved reading about the Orphan Trains when I was a kid, so learning that With You Always involved them made me want to read it even more than I already did!

With You Always begins the story of the Neumann siblings. After losing her job, eldest sister Elise Neumann joins other workers on an Orphan Train bound for Illinois. While on the train, Elise bonds with Thornton Quincy, but when she learns who he really is and of his family's reputation, she determines there can never be anything between them. For his part, Thornton has no intentions of marrying Elise, either—she's certainly not the type of woman of which his father would approve. But as they both work to make Quincy, Illinois, a thriving town, they can't deny their attraction.

While the romance in With You Always is spectacular (as it always is in a Hedlund novel), the novel also shines a light on a time in history we don't often think about. With You Always is obviously meticulously researched, and Hedlund brings to life the horrible working conditions of those involved in the westward expansion.

With You Always is not a light, happy read, but it does include healthy doses of hope—hope for a better life for immigrants, hope for love, and hope for familial peace. It's a beautiful book that I highly recommend. 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Hedlund's Beacons of Hope novels Hearts Made Whole (5 stars), Undaunted Hope (4 stars), Forever Safe (4-1/2 stars), and Never Forget (4-1/2 stars); the Michigan Brides novels Unending Devotion (5 stars) and A Noble Groom (5 stars); and her YA books The Vow (4 stars), An Uncertain Choice (5 stars), A Daring Sacrifice (4-1/2 stars), For Love & Honor (5 stars), and A Loyal Heart (5 stars).

Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a gift and chose to review it. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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