Unending Devotion is a perfect title for this book.
I eagerly opened up the book and dove into the pages. This is the first book I've read from Jody Hedlund and I really enjoyed her writing style. In Unending Devotion, she shows us what a lumbering business looked like and she tackled the troubling topic of prostitution in 1883. This is a side of the late 1800s I haven't seen before, and I liked how Miss Hedlund handled it.
Our headstrong, save-the-world, heroine is named Lily. Orphaned at a young age, all she's wanted is to keep her and her sister together, to have a family. When circumstances force Lily to leave her sister with a family, she could never have known the consequences. Lily is hired on to help take care of sick woman. When the woman passes from her ailments, Lily receives a letter from Daisy, her younger sister, saying she's run away. Lily begins the search of a lifetime trying to find her.
Our number-crunching and noble hero is Connell. He runs three lumber camps in Harrison and is a member of a very wealthy family. He ignores the blatant drinking and prostitution because it keeps his men from leaving. When Lily arrives in Harrison he never realized he'd fall in love with a woman so headstrong.
From the very start this book tugged at my curiosity and wouldn't let go. There were some moments I was disgusted at Lily's foolishness and other moments I was grinning ear to ear at the romance between her and Connell. I loved how real and flawed Miss Hedlund's characters were. I also loved how you never really knew what was going to happen next, it's something I really appreciate in books. :)
I had not received this book from Bethany House at the time of this review.
Bear with me here because I really am trying to find my words. What do you say when a book has rattled you so much? When the author has a unique talent for putting together just the right words that'll come and grip you as the reader?
I can't even begin to say how many times that I had to pause, take a deep breath, send a prayer up and try to hold back the sobs as my heart bled while I was reading.
How did she do it? And on side note, if you're an avid reader of anything Christian Fiction and you don't know this by now, Hedlund's works definitely deserve a spot on your TBR pile.
With a well-researched historical background, Unending Devotion exposed raw cruelty. The antagonist in this story was just a partner in crime with the devil himself, no less. Lily's impulsive nature was frustrating at times, but her character evolved and throughout the story, her compassion moved me. The oh-so- tender love story was as good as they get! And I found myself cheering as I witness Connell rise up and take action as a man!
Emotionnaly, I'm afraid you can't come out of this inspiring journey the same way you entered. (Well, at least I didn't.) I will however admit that I was nervous to read the story. I'll say now that I think it's definitely for a matured audience but Praise be unto God Almighty the author did not give too many (horrifying, explicit) details throughout and that there was an ending filled with hope.
I was left breathless and in awe of God's love.
Bravo, Mrs Hedlund. Simply bravo!
This is my honest review. So many thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of the book.
In an Unending Devotion, author Jody Hedlund has penned an exciting, heart-rending novel set against the backdrop of the snow-covered, majestic white pine country of Michigan in the late 1800s.
Lily Young and her younger sister, Daisy, are left alone and destitute after the death of their parents and end up living in an orphanage. Thinking she is doing the right thing, Lily arranges for her sister to live on a farm with the Wretcham family until she can find a way to make a home for the both of them. She secures a position with Oren, a kind, elderly man and a photograper who travels from one lumber camp to another taking pictures. When she returns to the Wretcham's she finds Daisy has run away, leaving Lily to search the brothels in every town she and Oren find themselves in.
Harrison is known for its wickedness and debauchery, and is virtually run by James Carr, an evil man known to prey upon young women and children, forcing them into a life of prostitution. While in Harrison, Lily meets Connell McCormick, the boss of a successful lumber camp, and they immediately butt heads in spite of their attraction to one another.
Connell doesn't like the evil goings on in Harrison, but feels there is nothing he can do about it, and is content to run his father's business and stay uninvolved. But as his attraction to Lily grows, he finds himself longing to help her and devises a plan to help her find her sister. Lily, however, decides to take matters into her own hands and ends up in terrible danger. Will she ever find Daisy?...and can the evils and injustices of Harrison ever be rectified? These answers can only be found as Lily learns to surrender her stubborn will to the Lord.
This fiction based on fact novel will haunt and fascinate the reader-not only with its heart pounding excitement, romantic tension, and realistic characters, but with the heartbreaking realities of childhood enslavement, that still occurs in this day and time. Jody Hedlund handles this tough subject with compassion and discretion, and I applaud her. A remarkable book in every sense of the word!
This is the first book I have read by this author and she is an amazing writer! I loved Unending Devotion! It was powerfully written and rich in detail of actual historical accounts! Lily was a really unique character to me and I felt like I could really relate to her on many levels! This book was much enjoyed and one can definitely see the passion that was weaved into the story! I also learned a lot through the author's writings!
It is 1883, and Lily Young is desperate to find her younger sister Daisy. Daisy ran away, and Lily believes that she is still somewhere in Michigan. Thankfully, Lily's work as a traveling photographer's assistant provides opportunities to keep her eyes and ears open.
Connell McCormick runs the Harrison, Michigan branch of his family's lumber business. As far as he is concerned, Harrison's social ills are just that - an unpleasant entity that isn't worth fighting. His responsibilities keep him occupied full time; he must prove to his father that he can shoulder his portion of the business.
Lily and Connell's first meeting is a tangled mess. Literally. Lily's headstrong personality and lofty principles cause a stir in Harrison, and she hasn't even been in town 24 hours. Connell admires Lily's drive to find her sister, but he witnesses how it clouds Lily's common sense, causing problems not just for Lily, but also for those around her. Both Connell and Lily reap the unfortunate results of Lily's impulsive behavior.
Lily's story illuminates the widespread abuse of young women in a pivotal time in America's lumber industry. It was common practice to promise women jobs at hotels and such, when in reality, they were forced into prostitution. Does Lily find Daisy? Will Connell choose to take a stand against depravity in Harrison?
Jody Hedlund shares a wonderful and engaging tale packed with conflict, romance, and forgiveness. Her characters' goals collide at every turn, it seems, generating a roller coaster ride of adventure through an icy Michigan winter. This emotional story offers hope and redemption that is relevant even today.