Love Unexpected, Beacons of Hope Series #1   -     By: Jody Hedlund
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Love Unexpected, Beacons of Hope Series #1

Bethany House / 2014 / Paperback

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Stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0764212370
ISBN-13: 9780764212376
Availability: In Stock
Series: Beacons of Hope

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Publisher's Description

1859
Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

Author Bio

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Captured By Love, Rebellious Heart, and The Preacher's Bride, winner of the 2011 Award of Excellence and a finalist for the 2011 Carol Award in First Novel. She received a bachelor's from Taylor University and a master's from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She can be found online at www.jodyhedlund.com.

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  1. Texas
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Sweet romance at a lighthouse.
    June 4, 2015
    Andrea Cox
    Texas
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    by Andrea Renee Cox

    Love Unexpected took me by surprise. The first two paragraphs jumpstarted the story with a pirate attack, which snapped me to attention and piqued my interest. It slowed into a sweet romance that kept me engaged in every chapter. I felt I was falling in love with the characters just as much as they were falling for each other.

    Theres a strong similarity to one of my favorite movies, Love Comes Softly. In that movie, after Martys husband dies, she marries Clark so shell have a place to stay over the winter, and she can help raise his daughter in the meantime. In Love Unexpected, Patricks wife dies and then he marries Emma so she can help with his son and the house while he tends the light, and Emma will have a safe place to stay in a town full of lonely men. Its the differences between these two similar stories that make each on its own unique and entertaining entity.

    Author Jody Hedlund artfully crafted a beautiful tale of a marriage of convenience, yet she managed to revive an overused plot by adding her own style to it. Who wouldnt love a story that features pirates, a lighthouse, stunning Presque Isle, and characters you come to loveand a few you love to hate? The twists Jody brought into that juicy mix created a great atmosphere for a cozy romance tinged with mystery.

    As a lifelong fan of foreign accents, I couldnt help but notice the lack of Irish accents in the two lead characters (and the heroines brother), who were Irish immigrants. The only hints within the dialogue that Patrick, Emma, and Ryan were from Ireland were occasional nays and ayes. I kept forgetting they were Irish and instead heard American accents in my mind. I appreciated the reminders in the narration, but it would have created better continuity if the characters heritage was woven into the ways in which they spoke.

    That being said, this charming story held plenty of surprises and sweet moments to carve out a spot in my heart. Im looking forward to reading more novels from the talented Jody Hedlund.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from netgalley.com in exchange for this review.
  2. Ossineke, MI
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I'd give it 6 stars if they'd let me!
    May 28, 2015
    Pegg Thomas
    Ossineke, MI
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    Could not put it down! Fascinating story, beautifully told, more than worth every minute of reading. Characters so real you'll think of them as old friends by the end of the book. My favorite Jody Hedlund book so far.

    Emma Chambers wants a home of her own with a husband and a family to care for. But she's moving once again with her brother until their ship sinks into Lake Huron off the coast of Presque Isle. Pulled from the waters by handsome lighthouse keeper Patrick Garraty, Emma finds herself the unwelcome and unwanted guest of the only other woman at Burnham's Landing. When the circuit preacher suggests she marry the newly widowed Patrick Garraty and become mother to his young son Josiah, she agrees.

    In spite of the fact that she can't cook and has absolutely no idea how to raise a child, Emma is thrilled with her new home. She's even getting used to the idea of being married to the taciturn stranger who spends most of his time either fishing or tending the light. His kindness stirs feelings she barely understands. But then she hears things - disturbing things - about his past. Just who did she marry? Is he the man she thinks he is? Or is he the man the rumors say?
  3. KarenCollier.com
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Lovely Historical Romance
    May 5, 2015
    Karen Collier
    KarenCollier.com
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    Love Unexpected kept me turning the pages long after I shouldve been asleep, and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. Id definitely recommend this for fans of historical romance, particularly if youre into lighthouses, stories of redemption, marriage-of-convenience stories, and/or pirates.

    I loved the emotional vulnerability of the characters because I thought it added a real poignancy as their relationship developed over the course of the story. Husband and wife each entered the marriage with insecurities arising from their past that caused them to doubt whether their new spouse could ever come to love them. Their fear of rejection makes it that much harder to reach out, but also that much more wonderful when they do. Definitely some sigh-worthy moments here as they get to know and trust each other. ☺

    As if fear of rejection werent enough for a newlywed couple to deal with, Emma also has to figure out how to parent a two-year-old and cook without burning everything from biscuits to soup, while Patrick has to keep the arrival of an unsavory element from his past from jeopardizing his job and his relationship with Emma. Plot twists and turns, plus a bit of mystery serve to keep things interesting from beginning to end.

    This is the first novel in Jody Hedlunds Beacons of Hope series, but theres also a lovely prequel novella called Out of the Storm that I reviewed at EIR a few months ago. Chronologically, the novella comes first, and its story comes up in this one as an example of hope, but honestly I think you could read them in either order without missing anything. Ive enjoyed both so far, and Im looking forward to the release of the second full novel in the series, Hearts Made Whole, coming in June.

    Thank you to Bethany House for providing an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley for review purposes.
  4. Davenport,Iowa
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    wonderful
    April 29, 2015
    Thereadmaster
    Davenport,Iowa
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a story that takes place on Presque Isle, Michigan. There is a lighthouse romance and pirates. Who would have thought there were pirates in Michigan on a Great Lake. I had never read anything about that before. This really kept my interest throughout the whole book. There were some twists and turns that helped the romance and hurt it. People need to learn to talk and listen. I really look forward to reading more in this series called Beacons of Hope. I received this through Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion.
  5. Clare, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Michigan historical fiction with mystery, suspense, romance and pirates!
    February 2, 2015
    Gazpacho
    Clare, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book has a lot to offer a reader. There's adventure when pirates threaten the waters near the Presque Isle lighthouse, a marriage of convenience, a vengeful gossiping neighbor, a man with dark secrets, a family trying to survive deep oppression, and sexual tension. It is a historical fiction set in the mid-1800's at one of Michigan's scenic lighthouses. Much of the material has basis in historical facts, including the presence of a circuit riding preacher, a pirate that robbed ships and goods at various docks, the lighthouse keeper himself and his wife, and the setting at Burnham's Landing.

    Patrick Garraty, the lighthouse keeper at Presque Isle, was a man with numerous secrets and a shady background, yet his story is one of miraculous redemption. But, as so often happens to us, the past rears its ugly head and threatens Patrick and his son's future.

    Emma Chambers and her brother Ryan are all the family they have left. Their mother died during the potato famine, their father leading them to America before drowning his sorrows in alcohol. His death on Mackinaw Island prompted them to take a steamer to Detroit to start their life over again. But on the way, pirates raided their ship, stole their life savings and the ship's cargo, and set the steamer on fire. Emma and Ryan swam to shore, guided by the nearby lighthouse's beacon. Reaching Burnham's Landing, Ryan found a job chopping firewood. But there was no place for Emma to stay. The only females in the area already had seven people living in their tiny cabin.

    When the kindly Reverend William Poyseor, the traveling minister often fondly called "Holy Bill", arrived to conduct a funeral, he suggested a solution to Emma's problem; she should marry Patrick Garraty. She agrees and married Patrick the day after her escape from the pirates. She immediately inherits the care of rambunctious 2-year-old Joey. But she sees in Patrick a dedicated, loving father and thoughtful husband. Despite Ryan's concerns she wants to stay in the remote northeast part of Michigan with Patrick.

    I enjoy reading historical fiction and the combination of that with a marriage of convenience is irresistible. In this case, Emma has never kept house, cooked a meal without burning it, or taken charge of a child. She feels woefully inadequate for the task. This leads her to befriend Bertie Burnham for guidance and cooking lessons. But Bertie secretly seeks revenge on Patrick. Emma allows Bertie's poisonous tongue to color her perception of Patrick, and coupled with the secrets he keeps, disaster nearly overtook the newlyweds before they became better acquainted. The suspense, mystery and revelations as I read this book made it difficult to put this book down at times.

    Not only is the action riveting, but the character development is well done. Several bits of Patrick's past haunts him so that he has to struggle with his new found faith to find inner peace. Like us many times, he is his own worst enemy when it comes to living under the umbrella of "no condemnation."

    The third part of this book I like is the author's use of comic relief through little Josiah, Patrick's son. His antics keeps the story warm and charming. His legendary temper tantrums tested Emma to her limits, although he is endearing nonetheless. He is essentially the glue keeping Emma and Patrick together while they work their issues out.

    This book is the first book of the Beacons of Hope series by Jody Hedlund. The prequal to the series is an ebook novella, Out of the Storm. I highly recommend these stories for you.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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