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.
Former street kid Livy has put her past behind her and helps run an orphanage in the small town of Chestnut, Illinois. When she finds out that someone is using street kids for factory labor, she and Deputy Jake must find a way to help. I thought this book was very good and kept my interest. I am looking forward to more books by this author.
Pam Hillman begins Stealing Jake with some desperate choices by street kids trying to survive impossible situations. Livy OBrien has recently moved to Chestnut, Illinois and is helping care for kids at the orphanage, but donations are few and money is scarce. Known in Chicago as Light-Fingered Livy, she has the skills to obtain what the kids need, but she left Chicago and her old lifestyle behind and doesnt ever plan to return. As a relatively new Christian, sometimes its hard to trust God to provide what is needed though. Can she truly leave her past behind and trust God to supply those needs? Sheriffs Deputy Jake Russell is trying to catch the thieves who have been breaking into local stores. The number of thefts is on the rise, and the townspeople are complaining about the increasing number of street kids around town. The townspeople believe that if he would only arrest those kids, the thefts would stop. Livy knows the street kids arent to blame, but can she convince Jake without revealing her past? Will Jake give the street kids the benefit of innocent until proven guilty?
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked how Livy related to the street kids; she knew what to do, but especially what not to do, in her efforts to get them to come to the orphanage instead of staying on the streets. She also wanted more for them than just a warm bed and three meals a day; she wanted to introduce them to Jesus. The reminder that everyone has something to share with those less fortunate was subtle but very real. Jakes love and care for his family and friends was obvious. He also cared about his town and its residents. He wanted to find the truth about the thefts around town, not settle for the obvious answer that everyone else seemed to believe. Some things I didnt care for about the story were that Livy and Jakes romantic relationship developed too quickly, in my opinion. The book only covered two months, and Livy and Jake met at the beginning and were engaged at the end. Also, within about four hours after Jake was injured in an altercation and broke some ribs, he walked Livy home before returning to the jail then being called to the bank. That part was very unrealistic to me because a friend of mine broke some ribs and was confined to the hospital for several days. Again, I really liked the book overall, in spite of those few down sides. This book will go on my keeper shelf, and Ill be looking for additional books by Ms. Hillman to enjoy.
I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
Stealing Jake is a historical romance novel. If you like novels set in the 1800s with romance mixed in, you will love this one! Pam Hillman writes in a very easy to read format.
Livy OBrien used to be known as Light-Fingered Livy, but now she has made a change in her life and that life is behind her. Or so she thought. Until she spots some street kids doing what she used to do. She is helping to run an orphanage in town, and she is going to do all she can to help get these kids off the streets. Jake Russell is the sheriff. He is trying to stop these robberies that are happening in town. In the meantime, there is definitely an attraction between Livy and Jake. Livy has to deal with trust issues, and Jake isnt sure he is ready to settle down.
I received this book from bookfun for my honest opinion.
This book captured me from the beginning. Pam Hillman has written an amazing story about Orphans, street kids, heartaches, forgiveness, starting over, romance, love, faith and much more. There is also some mystery and drama included. Loved Livy and Jake and all of the supporting characters. Pam's writing draws you in to where you can feel like you are there with the characters. I could picture the streets, alleys, the orphanage and other sites in my mind. A wonderful read.
The story is set in 1874 in Chestnut, Illinois. Livy O'Brien lived on the streets of Chicago where she was known as Light Fingered Livy. She moved to Chester to get away from her past and worked with Mrs. Brooks at the orphanage there. Livy became a christian when Mrs. Brooks told her about Jesus. She is troubled when she discovers there are street kids hiding and trying to stay alive from one day to next. Livy wants to help them but they do not trust adults.
Jake Russell the sheriff's deputy in Chestnut has been dealing with a lot over the years including paying off a loan on his family's farm and feeling down on his luck. He and Livy literally run into each other. Livy does not trust any man especially a lawman but Jake is intrigued by Livy. I loved how God brought Livy and Jake together and how they teamed up to help the street kids.
Looking forward to reading more books by Pam Hillman.
I received a free copy of this book from bookfun.org for my honest opinion and review