Independent thinking Hannah Gregory and her sisters lose their parents, and their farm, and she must drop out of law school. To support herself and her sisters she must keep her difficulty following rules under control as she becomes a telephone operator, which at that point in history and at Hannah's work location had ridiculous rules to follow.
Attorney Lincoln Cole feels guilty because he is the one who had to start the eviction of the Gregory girls from their farm. He tries to help but Hannah resists his efforts, being quite put out with him. Eventually she realizes she really does need help and he's willing to offer it.
Arson is blamed on Hannah's close childhood friend, who is also sweet on her. She must use her legal skills and Lincoln assists her to defend the young man. When Hannah overhears something, she doesn't share it, because of the rules at work. But her choice to keep this secret could have been deadly.
Excellent read full of wonderful historical details that really bring the reader right to the capitol building with Hannah and Lincoln. Sweet love story!
I've read and enjoyed several of Lorna Seilstad's books in the Lake Manawa series, so was happy to read this book which begins a new series by her called The Gregory Sisters. The first one is entitled When Love Calls, and is the story of the oldest sister, Hannah, who drops out of college where she is studying law to become a switchboard operator in order to support her two younger sisters after the death of both their parents.
Life can be hard in the early 1900s for those without support, so she is happy to find this job as a "Hello Girl" even with the strict rules. Little does she know that the hardship of losing the home their parents raised them in will cause her to meet a lawyer who does care for justice and the poor.
This book has it all--history, family relationships and a love story, too. A delightful read, and I can't wait for the next book in this series. This book was supplied by the publisher for a review, but these thoughts are all my own.
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.*