Stealing Jake by author Pam Hillman takes you back out west just outside of Chicago, in the small town of Chestnut, Illinois. Livy OBrien works at the newly opened orphanage to help the poor orphans stay off the streets and have a chance at a better life. Livy knows the life of a street kid and of a pickpocket from personal experience herself due to living on the streets of Chicago. She has found a new life that is forgiven and a new purpose. However, old feelings die hard and when she meets deputy Jake Russell, she has a hard time setting aside those old prejudices of police, especially the corrupt ones. Yet Jake is different as he is a moral man and both must work together to find the ones behind a rash of crimes that has erupted in their small town. Jake believes it is the swarm of street children coming from Chicago, yet Livy has her doubts and instead sets out to prove them innocent. What they both stumble upon is much worse than either could have imagined. This was an enjoyable tale of the American West complete with gunfights, explosions, danger, and a sigh inducing romance. I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own honest ones.
Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman, set in Illinois in the 1870s, is an interesting historical romance. Livy OBrien, alias Light-Fingered Livy, has put her past life in Chicago behind and is a new woman through Christs forgiveness. Her difficult past ceased when a Christian lady, Mrs. Brooks, took her in at the orphanage and introduced her to Jesus. Her past life behind her, but not forgotten, Livy helps Mrs. Brooks run an orphanage in Chestnut, Illinois.
Deputy Jake Russell has had struggles of his own. The family gold mine explosion and the loss of his father and others in the community has filled him with regret and persistent fear of the underground and dangerous passages. The job of Deputy helps his widowed mother and siblings but financial woes loom with his insistence that the mine stay closed.
Livy becomes involved with the plight of homeless children whose lives are similar to the one that she endured on the Chicago streets. She is adamant that their lives be changed and places herself in extreme danger for their sakes. The ruthless businessman, using Chicago street children in his factory in Chestnut, poses a threat to the entire town of Chestnut. Livys actions come under the radar and expose her as a target.
This novel is very entertaining but also has a great plot with the message of forgiveness and new beginnings and that of overcoming fears and failures. I recommend this very good book. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
The reason I love books is because they can take my mind on an adventure or build up my faith; they are more entertaining than any other form or venue of entertainment. With a book, you can share with anyone over coffee or a coke. Above all, anyone can pass down to the next generation a love of reading. When I was a little girl, my Nana read westerns written by Louis LAmour, Luke Short and others. In fact, she read them more than once in her lifetime. Now I have those books and I am adding my favorite stories and authors to my home library.
I read Stealing Jake in a day which tells you just how enjoyable the story is! There is action, adventure, mystery, intrigue and faith with romance intertwined. The greatest part of the story for me was seeing how characters learned that no matter what their pasts looked like, they were brand new creations when they turned to Christ!
As I read, it was a great reminder that all of us have a past and some of it we arent proud of, but God makes us brand new. When we are brand new, we have our faces up and are looking forward while walking one step at a time leaning on Him. The main female character, though in a new town and now a Christian, had a past she was afraid others would learn of and then reject her. Jake, who is the towns deputy among other jobs, had to face a fearful moment that paralyzed him. Then he heard the Spirit speaking to his heart, giving him strength to conquer his fear, which allowed him to save lives.
For awhile it seemed the town and churches were ignoring the needs of children who were orphaned and had no hope. Then, out of a dark trial that enveloped the town came hope, renewal, forgiveness and most of all a brighter future for the orphans. Perhaps now you can take a moment to sit outside, watch the leaves change color, and read a wonderful tale!
Stealing Jake is an amazing historical romance. It has humor along with suspense to keep your attention.There are abandoned children, stealing, pickpockets, and an orphanage to keep your interest. I look forward to reading more from Pam Hillman.
I received the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Review Title: Opening Doors of Long Closed Hearts (review of Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
***** 5 Stars
From the title and cover illustration, I did not know what to expect from this book. I had never read anything from Pam Hillman before. The story engaged me from the start. I did not want to put it down, but life often interrupts my reading. Each time I picked the book up, I could get right back into the story. I can't say that about all books so I give this one an A+ for that alone. I really liked so much about this book.
The story takes place in a small town not too far from Chicago. An orphanage has been set up to take in children who have lost their families for various reasons. The main character, Livy, has been a street kid in Chicago and was well known for her lock-picking skills and evading the law. She finally trusted an older woman who helped her to start a new life as a Christian working in the orphanage. Livy has such a heart for needy children. The reader's heart will be touched by Livy's dedication to the children. Livy enjoys her new life of relying upon the Lord. She finds work and gives thanks for being able to earn an honest paycheck. Fresh into this new life, she does not desire to have a relationship with a man that would expose her background.
The other main character, Jake, works as a town deputy under an aging sheriff. Jake has lost his father to a coal mine explosion, and he is so busy in his work and helping to provide for his mother that he has not had love on his mind. When he and Livy meet, as much as they try to deny any feelings for each other, they find themselves falling in love.
A mystery takes place in the novel as street children seem to be invading the town, and they are blamed for a rash of burglaries. Livy wants to help the children, earn their trust, and get them into a better life at the orphanage. Jake is pressed by town businessmen to enforce the law and go after the street children to arrest them. So Livy and Jake are at odds regarding their life purposes for awhile. You need to read the story to find out exactly what is going on in the town and how Livy and Jake eventually work out their differences.
Livy uses her former skills to help solve the crime and to gain the street children's confidence along with stealing Jake's heart. The characters are all believable as they are woven together with strings of plot. I appreciated how Christianity appears as a force for good in transforming lives. The street children's lack of trust that anyone wants to help them when they have been badly hurt by adults makes for a gripping story.
I thank bookfun.org, the author, and publisher for giving this book to me in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book to all who like to read a good story. It should appeal to both Christian and secular readers, in the age category of late teen through adult. My life has been enriched through the hopefulness of this book as it relates to the problem of modern day slavery and how the actions of good people can make a difference.