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Jun 16, 2019

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Sunday, June 16, 2019





Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
William Morrow, June 6 2019
eGalley provided by the publisher, thank you!

My review of other Jean Kwok books:
Girl In Translation
Mambo In Chinatown


A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation
It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.

Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.

But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.

A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.

I have been a fangirl of Jean Kwok's writing since her 2010 release of Girl in Translation and I was so eager to read this third novel of hers. The author has quite a unique voice for storytelling and you can tell her words come directly from the heart. This novel is a beautifully complex blend of passion, heartache, prejudice and loss.

The broad theme of this novel is to solve the mystery as Amy is searching for her missing sister but in reality the reader is taken on a journey of the heart of the characters of Amy's family. Sylvie was always on a pedestal once she returned to Amy's family in New York but when Sylvie is compelled to return to the Netherlands to be with her dying grandmother she disappears soon after. Amy is forced to overcome her own insecurities to begin the quest for Sylvie. Traveling to the Netherlands Amy meets the family where Sylvie was raised and discovers so much more about her sister. Amy is confused as to why there is so much animosity towards her sister from the family who were supposed to love her like one of their own. Slowly secrets are unraveled as the narration switches between the characters as well as different time frames so that the veil of the mystery is being slowly lifted for the reader. Nuances of guilt and dishonor come to light as the family is forced to face the reality of what should of been foreseen long ago with Sylvie. The sins of the mother are visited upon the daughter and wounds are laid open to bleed with little hope of healing the wound. The lessons that are given through the character studies are worthy of us all and points us in the right direction of respecting values and embracing flaws. "If you were born a dime, you would never become a quarter."

Searching for Sylvie Lee is a hypnotizing story that will pull you in from the beginning. I especially loved the way the voices changed from each character's point of view, and I can both appreciate and envy Jean Kwok's gift for saying so much within a sentence.

Favorite quotes:
"This was how the mind worked, deceiving us so we could bear the many sorrows of life."
"But he has only taught me that in these modern times, the distinction between hero and villain was often in the eye of the beholder."


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jun 10, 2019

Layover by David Bell

Monday, June 10, 2019



Layover by David Bell
Berkley Publishing Group, July 2 2019
Mystery & Thrillers
Review Copy via NetGalley


In this high concept psychological suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth.

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work, his life a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their respective flights, Morgan kisses Joshua passionately, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As soon as Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. The reason: Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets as Joshua tries to discover why Morgan has vanished from her own life. Every time he thinks one mystery is solved, another rears its head—and his worst enemy might be his own assumptions about those around him.
Review of Somebody's Daughter by David Bell can be found here.

I am enjoying the suspense/thriller genre over the past few years because they aren't supposed to put me to sleep with facts and minutia, but this one was a little more wordy with a lot less suspense. Maybe that is what "high concept" means in the blurb, I am not sure. This story was about a chance meeting at an airport between a totally boring dude who is completely bored with life in general and meets a mysterious girl with a floppy hat in an airport. He becomes a creeper and stalks her and feels like one good kiss means he should ignore the very important business meeting he is supposed to go to with his boring dad and follow this girl from the bathroom to a different flight. She tells him to get the heck away from her and yet he still continues to follow her around.

If you ignore the fact that none of this would happen in real life then you can try and appreciate the other narrative of the detective in charge of tracking down the same person that is the creepy guy's new love interest. Turns out Morgan is a missing girl possibly responsible for the disappearance of her ex-boss and now the creepy dude doesn't know if she is a good person or a bad person or just really good in bed.

All in all, an interesting plot but personally I find it hard to "care" when the characters themselves do not offer any reason for me to root for them. There was no real reason for me to like boring dude, or the person of interest Morgan, and there was not a whole lot from the detective except to hope she gets to see her kid's soccer match someday. If you are on a layover and need a quick read, this one is great for that. Plenty of concourse and terminals for your pleasure.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jun 3, 2019

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

Monday, June 03, 2019

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund
Bride Ships book #1
Bethany House, June 4 2019
352 pages
Review copy via netgalley, thank you
Previous posts regarding Jody Hedlund here at BBR
Burton Book Review Rating: Unabashedly FIVE STARS


Living in London's poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she's offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister. 
Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship's surgeon, he's in charge of the passengers' welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love. 
With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?



I love Jody Hedlund's writing style and the way she incorporates christian themes with her historical romances. And typically I'm like "moan, groan" if I hear the term Bride Ship because hey, we all know what that story arc is all about, am I right? Luckily I know that anything by this author is touched with gold, so I requested it and downloaded and read it in a day. A Blessedly Long Day. But a wonderful day that was perfectly set for this reluctant bride story regarding the young and humble Mercy Wilkins. She is from a destitute family in London and knows there is literally zero hope of a happy existence when she has to survive on a stale piece of bread for sustenance each day. When she finds out about the ship taking young ladies abroad to help settle British Columbia she knows it is a chance not to be spurned. It is not until later that she finds out the main purpose of all the ladies sailing to an unknown land is so that they can be brides and have babies and Mercy is having none of that!

Mercy is a sweet and endearing character who is tempted by the gorgeous doctor on board the ship - yet there will always be the division of classes of the poor and the upper crust. Turns out the handsome doctor is really Lord Joseph Colville of London and she really should not be catching his eye, but of course her sweet nature is so unlike the haughty taughty ladies that she sets herself apart, rags and all. And yes, A Reluctant Bride follows along the familiar storyline of love conquers all but this novel also brings to light other themes such as we are all God's creatures no matter if you are a Lord or a maid. We are shown the hardships that the poorest of the poor are forced to endure, the heartaches and the burdens that are so easy to turn a blind eye to. And yet Mercy was blessed with the fortitude to be able to do whatever it is she could to be able to make a difference and she did not hesitate to help someone who would definitely not return the favor.

As Mercy was so easy a character to like, so was the good doctor. Lord Colville also portrayed the genteel qualities of the titles he owned, but he also had a good struggle with his own burdens that he works through in the novel. Of course the reader knows that these two are meant for each other, but the obstacles of other people and the social strata of what should be done block their direct paths to true happiness. I do not normally go all through the character analysis in a review but since it is already written here I shall leave it. I look forward to book two which will feature a fellow passenger on the bride ship.

Suffice it to say this novel is going to stay with me for a while, just as Hedlund's other works have. The author brings a passion to all of her stories that blend the context of  history, inspirational themes and pure clean romance that is hard to put down mid way through. Thank you to Bethany House Publisher for supporting this wonderful author and providing her amazing work for us to devour.



Other reviews at this site for Jody's work:
Orphan Train Series:
Searching For You
With You Always
Together Forever

A Noble Groom
Unending Devotion


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

May 20, 2019

The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell

Monday, May 20, 2019


The Poison Thread: A Novel by Laura Purcell
Penguin Books, June 18 2019
Historical Fictions, suspense/Gothic
Review copy via NetGalley

A thrilling Victorian gothic horror tale about a young seamstress who claims her needle and thread have the power to kill
Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy, and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor, and awaiting trial for murder.
When Dorothea's charitable work brings her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted by the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person's skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets one of the prisoners, the teenaged seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another strange idea: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread--because Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.
The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations--of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses--will shake Dorothea's belief in rationality, and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer? The Poison Thread is a spine-tingling, sinister read about the evil that lurks behind the facade of innocence.

My review of The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell can be found here.

I can't say no to a Victorian Gothic tale and I really enjoyed this author's previous novel The Silent Companions. The Poison Thread is the US edition of an already released UK edition titled The Corset which I will never understand why there has to be months between these releases and confusing everyone in the world wide web of different titles etc.

The premise of this story from Dorothea's point of view is that the shape of someone's head, phrenology, dictates a person's moral character. Which is horse pooey and a slightly annoying theme to this story but does well to underscore the psychological suspense. And the creepier theme is that Ruth, who is now a prisoner, believes she is able to harm people by infusing powerful thoughts while sewing something for a specific person. Everything she stitches has become some sort of poison to its wearer and eventually Ruth is put in jail for causing such harm to others. This is how Dorothea and Ruth meet, because Dorothea is measuring Ruth's skull as part of the phrenology research otherwise their two social castes would never have crossed.

There are several running side stories as the narrative goes back and forth making a true page turner as you never really know what is going to happen next. Each character is flawed and yet somehow likeable, and I really appreciated the nuances of the era that really set the tone throughout this novel that is a borderline horror story. The author has a wonderful knack for the historical suspense and I am looking forward to what flows next from her pen!


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

May 13, 2019

Templar Silks by Elizabeth Chadwick

Monday, May 13, 2019



Templar Silks by Elizabeth Chadwick
Sourcebooks Landmark, June 4 2019 USA edition
Historical Fiction, Medieval
Review copy via NetGalley


A new historical fiction masterpiece from highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling, Elizabeth Chadwick!
England, 1219. Lying on his deathbed, William Marshal, England’s greatest knight, realizes it is time to fulfill his vow to the Templars and become a monk of their order for eternity.
As he waits for his sacred burial shrouds to return, he looks back upon his long-ago pilgrimage with his brother Ancel, and the sacred mission entrusted to them—to bear the cloak of their dead young lord to Jerusalem and lay it on Christ’s tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The third story in a tale of deadly politics, devious scheming, and the lusts of powerful men and women at rule, Templar Silks is the tale of one man attempting to uphold his honor and his life to become England’s greatest knight.


Read my reviews of Elizabeth Chadwick's other works here. An author guest blog is also available here and another here and here.

The Winter Crown
The Summer Queen
Lords of The White Castle
Shadows and Strongholds
A Place Beyond Courage
To Defy A King
The Scarlet Lion
The Greatest Knight


As you can tell from the list of links here Elizabeth Chadwick is a favorite author, and I have read at least one more that I never reviewed here which means this is about the tenth Chadwick novel that I have read. The author has a reputation for meticulous details and an obvious passion about what she writes. A favorite character, William Marshal, is featured in several of her other historical novels and the author has created quite a following for Marshal himself, so this one should be a no-brainer.

Unfortunately for me this is not one of my favorites from the author as it truly focuses on a limited scope of Marshal's pilgrimage to Jerusalem which is something she had not been able to fit into the other novels - which would have been specifically about England and the troubles of King Henry and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.

This novel is much more of a character study of William Marshal and his immediate relations who were with him on the journey to Jerusalem and who he met there. I found it slow going and was not very interested in William's love affair with a powerful man's mistress but found myself wishing for more direction towards his brother Ancel who truly seemed to be the humble hero in this telling. I am very aware I am in the minority of Elizabeth Chadwick followers and I will still be eager to read the rest of Chadwick's work, this one just was not a favorite for me. I prefer her writing to be more on the saga-like historicals which were broader storylines on a particular medieval time period with multiple warring families and lots of court intrigues and arranged political marriages. This novel did not interest me in particular so much that I even skimmed some pages of the very descriptive and detailed thoughts of William Marshal as he struggled between who to trust along his journey.



I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Apr 7, 2019

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Sunday, April 07, 2019



The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
Gallery Books February 5th
eBook library borrow


In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.
A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.
In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.
When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?
Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?



I read The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald in about a day and rated it five stars. It is a very intriguing story of a mother in search for answers for what happened the night her daughter Olivia fell from a bridge. The narrative shifts between Abi and Olivia as we slowly are revealed the events of Olivia's teenaged life and we discover secrets and relationships of Olivia's the same time that her mom Abi does. There are tons of things that can be hidden from a mother and yet in this story it keeps coming and coming and it is hard to tell who pushed Olivia off a bridge. Olivia is actually on life support because she can still be the womb for the child she is carrying; what happens to the baby? Very emotive and tissue worthy.

I devoured this story and really appreciated the plot twists .. spoiler free review therefore I will have to stop here. Great book, if you like suspense and quick reads with complex themes, this will work well!



I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Mar 17, 2019

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

Sunday, March 17, 2019

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge
Random House Publishing Group, January 2019
General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers
Review copy via NetGalley

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust? A teen girl is missing after a night of partying; thirty years later, the discovery of her body reopens a cold case in an absorbing novel featuring a small-town cop determined to finally get to the truth—for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson.

On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.

Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever.
This searing, psychologically captivating novel marks the arrival of a dazzling new talent, and the start of a new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens.


I've always been a fan of the crime shows from anything like Law & Order to Murder She Wrote and I figure myself a pretty keen judge of character and can figure out angles of mysteries fairly quickly. This novel is definitely one that kept me guessing even though the obvious fact is that the murderer had to be one of the six friends who were camping with Aurora when she had died. The fact that this was a cold case adds a whole new level of fact checking thirty years later and determining what a motive could be to murder the ethereal young beauty that Aurora was.

There are many characters to set up this mystery whose traits were revealed slowly throughout the novel which helped draw out the suspense. There were nuances of foul play between all the friends, and then add in those who knew the friends and weave in possible corruption of the police to a cover up at a higher level at the school that all sets up a captivating web of leads to follow.

 I appreciated the level of attention given to all the suspects and enjoyed learning more about the detectives themselves, setting up background for another novel in the author's future featuring the group headed by Jonah Sheens (which is assumed will occur based upon the Goodreads' subtitle). The setting in Scotland adds another check mark of a cool setting to the overall effort that was very well done for a debut writer and this one even made me tear up!




I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Feb 26, 2019

A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 4) by Deanna Raybourn

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 4) by Deanna Raybourn
Berkley Publishing Group, March 12 2019
Review copy via NetGalley, thank you!



A bride mysteriously disappears on her wedding day in the newest Veronica Speedwell adventure by the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey series.

Lured by the promise of a rare and elusive butterfly, the intrepid Veronica Speedwell is persuaded by Lord Templeton-Vane, the brother of her colleague Stoker, to pose as his fiancée at a house party on a Cornish isle owned by his oldest friend, Malcolm Romilly.

But Veronica soon learns that one question hangs over the party: What happened to Rosamund? Three years ago, Malcolm Romilly’s bride vanished on their wedding day, and no trace of her has ever been found. Now those who were closest to her have gathered, each a possible suspect in her disappearance.

From the poison garden kept by Malcolm’s sister to the high towers of the family castle, the island’s atmosphere is full of shadows, and danger lurks around every corner.

Determined to discover Rosamund’s fate, Veronica and Stoker match wits with a murderer who has already struck once and will not hesitate to kill again.…


I have read a few of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey titles but this is my first Veronica Speedwell novel. I knew I would be able to jump right into this book four as they are styled as stand-alones. I would love to go back to read the rest of the titles by Raybourn but there is just so much time in my day that I will settle with a current read so that I may offer a review.

The series features a spunky heroine who enjoys being a woman ahead of her time and not caring that she is fast approaching spinsterhood. This book opens up to Veronica and Stoker on a bit of a tightrope between friends and romance and they don't know quite how to handle that. Meanwhile they are set off on an adventure to a castle complete with ghosts and tall tales when they are tasked with finding out what why a friend's bride had disappeared on their wedding day three years prior.

The setting was one of the better characters of the novel, featuring deadly gardens, hidden priest holes and woeful little islands. The supporting cast of the devoted housekeeper, various family members and the cat help to add confusion to the mystery at hand.

The murder/disappearance of Rosamund was intriguing and I didn't have it all figured out though just slightly grasped at the possibility of of her demise. I enjoyed the banter of the two brothers who were Veronica's traveling companions but certainly hope the next book would finally address the romance of Veronica and Stoker. Overall it was an enjoyable experience for someone stepping into the middle of the series and engaging for a cozy mystery.


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Feb 24, 2019

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night: Finding and Following God's Will for You by A.W. Tozer

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night: Finding and Following God's Will for You by A.W. Tozer, edited by James L Snyder
176 pages; Bethany House Publishers, March 2019
review copy via NetGalley, thank you

How can I know God's will for me, personally? It's a question that haunts us all at times--maybe when we're looking for the right job, thinking about moving to a new city, or deciding whether or not to get married. At every stage we have difficult decisions to make, and we long for God's direction and his warm reassurance that we're heading the right way.

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night captures Tozer's teaching on the will of God taken from sermons he preached just before he left his successful church in Chicago. Tozer was no stranger to facing difficult decisions, and his wisdom and biblical insight will help guide you in decisions of your own. The title comes from the story of God leading his people out of Egypt into the promised land. In the same way, let this book help reveal where he is leading and reassure you that he will be by your side every step of the way.

I have heard my pastor quote from A. W. Tozer a few times in the last year so when I was given the opportunity to review this book that is coming out Spring of 2019 I was excited to try it. While Tozer himself is no longer on this earth his classic and encouraging words remain. The book is actually set up so that it could be read a chapter a day similar to a devotional. It is a quick 176 pages (paperback version) divided into 23 chapters, each beginning with a simple but relevant prayer or poem.

In today's modern world of distractions and endless responsibilities dragging us farther and farther away from how God wishes we would live, Tozer's message remains clear and focused, reminding us of the truths of God's love for us through His almighty power and attributes. Sample chapter titles are "Coming against our enemy", "Blessings and Battles" and "The Curse of Delayed Blessings".

A favorite and timely quote: "There are weeds of unbelief choking our belief. Our job is to find them and uproot them from our lives. The Angel before me will faithfully lead me away from all elements of unbelief hiding within my life."

The way in which Tozer reminded myself of the many enemies I have (myself being the greatest) but recognizing the enemies such as temper, inferiority complexes and of course facets of other people in general is a valuable reminder of obedience and turning those into weapons for the kingdom of God.

As you go throughout your day making your simple decisions and then perhaps your tougher decisions, are you remembering God's will? Do you struggle with finding what God's will means for you? Through Tozer's own inspired words in A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night you may find a little more clarity in recognizing paths of rebellion and ambition and instead better yourself by leading in the path of graciousness. Tozer himself writes "I am where I am today because of the wisdom of God in opening up the right doors at the right time."

I really enjoyed this book and will continue to do so. Its message is timeless and can be used as a daily tool to remind yourself which binoculars to use as you are choosing paths all the while cultivating the presence of God.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jan 13, 2019

Searching For You by Jody Hedlund

Sunday, January 13, 2019



Searching For You by Jody Hedlund
Orphan Train #3
Bethany House, December 2018
eGalley from NetGalley

(Public Service Announcement: Please read book one and two before reading Book Three, this is not a stand alone novel)


Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won't abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.


Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he's in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?
I previously reviewed books one and two from the Orphan Train Series by Jody Hedlund on my blog at this link.
I really enjoyed this entire series from Jody Hedlund. I love her writing as a combination of several things I look for in a novel: clean romance without seeming silly, characters that are hard to let go of, historical settings and an underlying storyline regarding one's faith.

This novel picks up where the second book left off and I wrote in that review that I was perturbed that the search for Sophie was not a predominant theme. And so voila here is book three devoted to Sophie at last! Elise and Marianne are not featured very much at all this time as the story focuses on Sophie's struggle to hang on to Olivia and Nicholas. Sophie is wild at heart but a good person through and through making it so easy to love her, even when you want to strangle her due to her wild nature. She is still young and impetuous but lucky for us we witness her transformation with the help of a genuinely good soul who takes her in.

The setting of 1850's is portrayed as simple, quaint and close-knit on the farm, with nuances of the crimes and poverty prevalent in the cities. I absolutely adored Reinhold and would definitely see him as a super sexy cross of Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth kind of guy. Sophie could be young sweet combinations of Reese Witherspoon (she has that wild side!) with a dash of Nicole Kidman. Would love to see this as a PBS special or mini-series.

The romance angle was so perfect for Sophie and sitting here thinking in hindsight that it all wrapped up nicely in a pretty bow yet the steps we took with Sophie to get there was a blessing of a story. I have read a few of Hedlund's other novels before and have truly enjoyed each of them and I could gush copiously about the masterful storytelling of Jody Hedlund but I just want you to see for yourself.

Fans of Christian Fiction and historical romance will definitely enjoy the Orphan Train Series, but will be very sad to see the end of the stories of the Neumann sisters. If you're not open to scripture and His promises of love and healing then these stories would not be recommended for you.