Jody Hedlund's Unending Devotion tells the story of a young woman serving as a photographer's assistant as she meticulously searches through Michigan's lumber camps for her missing younger sister. Along the way Lily has discovered a passion for helping fallen women toward a better life, knowing that her sister is likely one of these women. The town of Harrison she finds to be a city rife with corruption, and with the reluctant aid of complacent Connell McCormick, the boss of three of the local lumber camps, she searches for Daisy and encourages a spirit of reform. However, the corrupt and powerful people who run the town have no interest in seeing her succeed at either task . . .
The plot starts out at a fast clip and it just keeps going - there is definitely no sagging in the middle before the climax. However, it does not feel like there is TOO MUCH happening either (as opposed to stories where so much happens one just quits caring); it is well paced, and every event is well developed. And oh, the romantic tension in some spots! Regarding the villain, it was shocking how much of the evil in the book is based on real people and events. This book successfully deals with a fair number of problems that easily beset Christians: complacency (going with what society accepts rather than standing up for what God wants), self-righteousness, and self-reliance (rather than reliance on the Lord).
My only issue - and a minor one, at that - is the heroine's personality. She is one of those incredibly idealistic people who is impulsive, never backs down from a fight, and always thinks she's right - which gets her into trouble. A lot. Granted, she is admirable for standing up for what she believes in and throwing herself into a worthy cause, but she does not use her head enough. I like to play it safe and maintain peace as much as possible, so while I largely agreed with what she believes, I cringed at her methods. Thus I connected significantly better with Connell, the peace-maker, than with Lily.
Unending Devotion is, again, another great novel by Jody Hedlund. She has a way to play with the readers' emotions. This one is no different. She has the best author's notes in her novels and usually has a surprise for her readers. Unending Devotion shows the awful ways of the sex slavery during the 1880s in Michigan - which does continue to this day throughout the United States.
I loved this novel! I believe anyone who loves history would enjoy this page turner. Highly recommended. 5 plus stars!
There's passion, suspense, drama, adventure, humor, education and social reform all held together by the amazing story of Lily Young, who tries to rescue her sister, Daisy, from prostitution in the lumber industry ruled Michigan of 1883. She stands for temperance, family and morals against environmental destruction, drunkenness and white slavery. But she stands in her own strength. It's also the story of Connell McCormick, wealthy lumber king, who learns to care about what Lily cares about when he learns to care about Lily. They both learn to stand in God's strength.
I loved that it wasn't just a shallow romance set in an historical setting. It was eye opening to see how that particular historical setting influenced things that are still issues in society today. I didn't just come away entertained - I came away informed, educated and thinking about how social reform works. Well done Jody Hedlund.
My first book by Jody Hedlund and I found it to be well written, historically solid and engaging. The characters were fun although I must say that Lily's got a stupid streak that seems to break out a little too often, and Connell, (bonus points for the cool name) is the chivalrous hero that every girl dreams of. I mean, who doesn't love a guy who rescues you from a blizzard and then fights off an entire pack of wolves.
I also loved how committed to purity he was and how important it was to him.
Highly recommended to lovers of historical romance and all those you are in need of a good book to pass the time. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
Once again, Jody Hedlund has written a story that kept me wanting to turn the page to find out what would happen next. It's a story of determination, danger, and romance.
Lily Young poses as a photographer's assistant in hopes of finding her sister, who has become lost to the world of brothels and prostitution. Facing danger at every turn, she takes it upon herself to rescue all of the young women she can who are trapped in this hideous lifestyle, at times, barely making it out unscathed. All the while, searching different locations, hoping to run into her sister. To her surprise, she finds an unlikely ally in lumber boss, Connell McCormick.
Connell McCormick is the boss of three lumber camps. Trying very hard to live up to his father's standards, he sets his sights on increasing business for McCormick Lumber. That is, until the lovely Lily Young steps into his life, distracting him from his goals. But every time he turns around, Lily is getting herself into hot water with her escapades of rescue. Connell doesn't want to make an enemy out of brothel owner, James Carr, but when Lily gets herself into trouble, his protective nature kicks in and he finds himself rescuing her more times than he can count. And at the same time, falling for the girl with the big brown eyes.
I like the fact that, not only was the story based on historical events, but that some of the characters were actual people, as acknowledged in the back of the book. I would note here that, while Jody didn't go into graphic detail concerning the subject of prostitution, it is still a sensitive subject and might be best for a mature reader to read first. It did make me stop and think, as a Christian, how would I treat someone who might potentially be in that kind of situation? Would I do my best to show them God's love, or would I turn my back and walk away? Definitely food for thought. Great job, Jody! Two thumbs up!