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!
This is the second book I have read by Jody Hedlund, and I would have to say I was thouroughly surprised. I loved the amount of depth and layers this story held. The plot, setting, history and characters were all carefully crafted.
For me, the best part of this story was to read the Author's Note at the end and discover that the town was indeed a real place, and the villain was, in fact, a real person. Many of the events incorporated into the plot were based on real events. This is an element to Jody Hedlund's writing style that I love...she bases her stories on real people. Her characters have depth, they are relatable, and they grow throughout the pages of the story.
I love the steady thread of Biblical themes throughout this book. The author covers a wide range of topics: from "tastefully"and carefully dealing with prostitution/human-trafficking, to demonstratnig purity in a relationship, to teaching readers to stand up for what is right, and also to giving the reins over to God and letting Him lead our lives. Overall, I would say this is a wonderful story of how God can change lives. This is demonstrated through the redemption of Daisy (a prostitute), through Connell (a apathetic lumber boss) and through Lily (a reckless," ge- ahead-of-God, woman). This story is filled with relatable characters that make the story come to life.
There are only a few aspects of the story I would critique. At times Lily's fiesty personality came across too strongly. She would recklessly put herself in dangerous situations, without thinking of the consequences or danger she would bring on herself and those around her. Although the author does bring about a "learning lesson" from this behavior, there were several scenes that were just pretty unbelievable. It was difficult to picture someone to be "that" reckless, regardless of the situation. One other issue was that at times in the book the plot seemed slow and disconnected to the flow and pace of the rest of the story. There were some scenes that didn't feel like they belonged and make the reading a bit rough.
Overall, this was a great story, and I do recommend reading this book. I recieved this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Lilly believes her sister is being held in a brothel in an area filled with a lot of undesirable people. She helps to get women out of bad situations where they have been mistreated and taken advantage of by men. Connell McCormick, who runs his family lumber business in Harrison, comes into play when Lilly comes into town. Once she discovers what is happening in Harrison, she tries to open Connell's eyes to the truth while trying to figure out what happened to her sister.
What I liked:
I really liked Lilly's personality. She is a feisty, strong, and determined young woman. She will tackle a challenge head on if she believes in what she is doing. I think that is cool.
The story got off to a slow start, but once I was a few chapters in, I was the story picked up and I was able to get more into it. This is the second book by Ms. Hedlund that I have read, both of which were really good historical fiction stories. The writing was smooth and everything flowed well. She describes everything in vivid detail and makes the reader connect with the character. Unending Devotion is an engaging Inspirational Historical Fiction story that deals with courage, loss, and love. It is perfect for fans of Christian/Inspirational Historical Fiction.
** I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for nothing, but my honest review. Thank you!**
Interesting history of the logging industry and early town growth around it. Several unexpected twists in the plot to keep you wondering what the next sequence of events will be. I enjoyed it as a light read.
All the major players in this story (some of whom really lived in this time/place) were interesting, rounded characters who did, indeed, experience change/evolution in the process of working through difficulties. Lily learns to stop "running ahead of God" and wait for Him to work His will and goodness into the different challenges she and her sister face. I was really able to "identify" with the lead characters...this author is truly talented in developing characters...bringing them to "life" so that the reader is still thinking of them when she walks away from the book!
I thought Ms. Hedlund handled the topic of prostitution in the logging camps very well. Truly heartbreaking learning about the terrible circumstances that brought so many of the women/girls into the camps (lest we forget this horrifying travesty still occurs all over the world today!)! Thankfully, Connell is convicted to join Lily in her battle against the cruelty and injustice going on there, and he is also able to help Lily give God room to what needs to be done in their fight for what is right! We live in a very fallen world and that is shown clearly in this story. Not every "story" (Daisy) ends well, or as we would wish. But, God is in control. And...in the end, always puts us in a "better place".
I really did like this book, although I'd have to say that Jody's "The Doctor's Lady" is still my favorite so far! The Preacher's Bride is very good, too... Just read them all! You won't be sorry!! Keep up the great work, Jody Hedlund!
Thank you Bethany House for the free copy and the opportunity to review. The thoughts expressed in this review were entirely mine. I was not required to write a positive review.