Focusing on the eldest of the Gregory sisters, Lorn Seilstad begins her series with the foreclosure of the Gregory farm, leaving the three orphaned women without a home. Taking care of her sisters like always, Hannah lets go of her dream of becoming a lawyer and turns to employment as a Hello Girl - a switchboard operator. While laws (and upholding them) are something Hannah approves of, following pointless rules has never been her strong suit, and the job of switchboard operator has a lot of them. When her childhood friend is arrested as an arsonist, Hannah is sure he is innocent, so she is forced to turn to a young attorney, the man who delivered the message of their foreclosure, for help. Can Hannah hold onto her job and care for sisters, or will the rules and the two young men angling for her affections drive her crazy?
Clearly the author has put in a lot of research to perfect the setting - both in its time period and place. Descriptions of the Des Moines capitol building sound breathtaking, while the little details of everyday life firmly set it at the turn of the century. It was fun to learn about the Hello Girls, though based on the rigid rules, I would think just about anyone would have a hard time keeping that job! I am sure they were exceedingly efficient, but to be forced to stare straight ahead without ever glancing at the people right next to you, or to be required to ask permission to blow a nose or wipe a forehead? Wow!
Seilstad is good at working messages into her stories, and this one is no exception; in fact, besides the main theme of depending on God and not just on oneself, she works into it a secondary theme - don't give up on your dreams. Sometimes circumstances force one to put them aside for a while, but God has given us dreams, and he finds a way to bring them to fruition. Hannah had long wanted to be a lawyer, but in order to survive, she has to work rather than go to college; yet that dream never dies. Even if it is not in the way she expected, God provides a way for her to use her talents and education. It was encouraging and good reinforcement after just discussing this same theme in bible study!
Sprinkled with a generous dose of humor, the story is a fine balance of drama, danger, and romance. The characters are both fun and flawed, making it a pleasure to follow their stories.
Hannah Gregory, eldest of three orphaned sisters, believes it's her duty to look after her siblings, Charlotte and Tessa. Her dream of finishing law school gives way to the reality of supporting her family that remains. Will working as a switchboard operator be the means to this end or can she survive Iowa Telephone Company's rigid rules? The year is 1908, and standards for women are as distant as a party line is from today's instant messaging.
To further complicate Hannah's life, add Attorney Lincoln Cole, who had to evict the Gregorys from their family farm but desires to assist them as they settle into their futureâ€”especially they lovely Hannah. Will his wealth and position elicit a busy signal from her? Plus Charlotte seems infatuated with George, a demanding young man who pays attention to her, but does he care for her as her should? Then Hannah's childhood friend, Walt, is accused of arson. Can she help free him?
All the complications make for an intriguing read as suspense builds and tensions flare. Author Lorna Seilstad has a firm handle on the period. Her historical fiction rings true and her characters vibrate with life. Enjoy stepping back to a simpler timeâ€”yet one with problems similar to our ownâ€”and explore the solutions along with the people on the page.
A Great Summer Read: When Love Calls by Lorna Seil
July 1, 2013
These past few years I've come to look forward to each book written by Lorna Seilstad. Light-hearted and fun romances with great settings and unique plots are pretty much guaranteed with every story. Her latest, When Love Calls, continues along these lines and is one of the sweetest romances I've read all summer.
Hannah, having suddenly lost both her parents, quits law school to become a Hello Girl for the local telephone company in Des Moines, Iowa in order to support herself and her two younger sisters. Along the way, she meets handsome lawyer, Lincoln Cole. Not knowing whether to loath him, he was the one who informed them that they were being evicted from their family home, or to love him for assisting the Gregory's in finding a new situation, Hannah is torn. To top it all off, one of her oldest friends is being convicted of a crime she knows he couldn't possibly be guilty of. With everything so uncertain in her life, she's stubborn, wanting only to depend on herself. Hannah learns to lean on God and on people who love her to make it through trying times.
Hannah is a thoroughly likeable character. She's gutsy, loyal to a fault when it comes to family and friends, and she is extremely stubborn. I was a little frustrated by her hard-headedness at times, wishing she would just let somebody help her without flying off the handle but still, I liked her. Hannah and her sisters were easy to root for. I'm anxious to read more about the youngest Gregory siblings in the upcoming books! Recently, I've read a few stories set in the early 1900s with the main characters employed as switchboard operators but When Love Calls is definitely the best. Lorna Seilstad's books ALL come highly recommended by this romance fan!
~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I am however an influencer for the author, however I wouldn't have posted a positive review if I didn't genuinely enjoy the book. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
When Love Calls is an enjoyable read, that is entirely wholesome and fun and never drags or gets dull. Not with Hannah as the principle character! She's strong, stubborn and independent and doesn't give up. It was interesting to learn about the Hello Girls, the early telephone operators, and all the rules they had! That would have been a problem for me too.
The author includes several fun tidbits from the time period, such as riding in an early car, and other such adventures and it's a lot of fun to see it through the characters' eyes. She did a great job with her descriptions, not making them overly long or cutting into the story but just thorough enough that you can see this story in full colourful detail.
This was a very enjoyable read that kept me engaged and entertained all the way through and I will be watching for the next book in the series for sure.
Hannah Gregory joins Lorna Seilstad's other historical heroines as a young lady of gumption and humor. Hannah becomes responsible for her younger sisters when their parents die and must quit law school to get a job. Working as a Hello Girl (switchboard operator) means keeping a lot of rules, something Hannah isn't so great at.
A young lawyer, Lincoln Cole, has the unenviable task of evicting the Gregory sisters when the family home is repossessed. There seems to be no way to get Hannah to see it's nothing personal, no matter how hard he tries to help her and her sisters.
When an arsonist begins targeting union holdings and Hannah's old friend becomes implicated, Lincoln steps in to help. What happens When Love Calls?
If you enjoy lightly humorous stories set in the early 20th century, check out When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad. I'm looking forward to reading about the other two sisters in upcoming novels.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".