Showing posts with label Jody Hedlund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jody Hedlund. Show all posts

Friday, January 4, 2019

Review, Author Interview & Goodreads Giveaway: Searching for You by Jody Hedlund


Book Three in the Orphan Train series

Heidi Reads... Searching for You by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

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?


My Review

While it took me a bit to get used to Sophie grown up, the concluding story of the Orphan Train series sucked me in just like the previous novels and immersed me in the period. I loved how protective Sophie is of Olivia and Nicholas and devoted to keeping them together. She doesn't have many choices or resources, but she's scrappy and has made a life for them, however destitute. I've always been fascinated by the history of the orphan trains, and this book was different than the others in the series since Sophie plays the role of an orphan and also sacrifices for Olivia and Nicholas the way a mother would. I loved seeing Reinhold get the farm he worked so hard for and the relationship he built with his neighbors. He and Sophie are drawn to each other not only because of their past history as family friends, but the powerful attraction that springs up and fills the book with romantic tension. I loved their chemistry and the way they cared for each other! The plans they make to try and get Olivia and Nicholas back bring them even closer together, but also brings a vulnerability into their relationship dynamic. The themes of abandonment, guilt, and forgiveness brought depth and I was glued to the pages as I read, and loved the way the characters and story came to life.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Enter the giveaway on Goodreads to win a copy of the book!



Author Interview

What is the inspiration behind your orphan train series?
I have long been fascinated by the era of the Orphan Trains and the heart-wrenching stories of the homeless and helpless young orphans that were taken from eastern cities and shipped west by the dozens. I was familiar with stories of those scared orphans who were placed out in what was thought to be a more wholesome, healthy environment of the newly settled Mid-Western states. Some of the orphans found happy endings and were adopted into loving families. Others experienced great abuse and heartache in their new homes.
While stories of the orphans who rode the trains have been told—and rightly so—the stories of the women who were involved in the movement are not as well known. One of the things I particularly like to do when telling my stories, is focus on women who have been overlooked by the pages of history. I consider it a great privilege to be able to bring forgotten women to life for our modern generation. Thus, throughout this series, I’ll be focusing each book on a different aspect of the Orphan Train movement, particularly from the perspective of women who experienced riding the trains in one form or another.

What challenges did you face in writing this particular story?
The placements weren’t always as ideal as the Children’s Aid Society hoped. I attempted to portray a variety of types of placement, giving light to both the positive and negative situations the children faced. During my research, I found numerous stories of real children who rode the trains, were adopted into loving families, and grew up to appreciate their new homes and lives. I also read just as many tragic stories of children who didn’t fare well, were placed in multiple homes, were abused, and struggled to find fulfillment for the rest of their lives.
What do you hope readers take away from Searching For You?
I hope that readers gain a greater awareness of just how difficult a time the nineteenth century was for so many of our nation’s children. I also hope readers gain an appreciation for the many families who opened their homes and hearts to homeless children. May their example inspire us to do likewise.


What essential ingredients do you strive for in your novels to ensure an authentic love story emerges?

I always try to incorporate the elements that I like to see in the romances I read. That includes deep emotions that are birthed out of a character's past. I also like to have a relationship that evolves organically throughout the book. I try not to have my characters being antagonistic to one another the whole book and then finally falling in love in the last chapter at the last minute. I want the couple to move from friendship to falling in love gradually and to have a growing attraction (with the sparks flying!) throughout the book.
At the same time, however, I don't like to have the love relationship resolve too early in the book. Readers don't want the "happily-ever-after" moment to come until the end. So while the relationship is developing, it's important to find ways to keep the couple from being fully together until the end.

If you had a whole day to relax (and anything is possible!) what would you do?

READ!! I absolutely love reading! When I find a really good book, I have a hard time tearing myself away from it to get to sleep.
What are you working on next?
I’m in the editing phase of the first book of a brand new series, A Reluctant Bride, which releases in June of 2019 (next summer). The series is inspired by several bride-ships that left England in the early 1860s and sailed to British Columbia in Canada where there was a shortage of women. When the first bride-ship arrived in Vancouver, hundreds of men lined the shores to greet them and be the first to find a bride.
As I was researching this fascinating era, questions kept surfacing. What kind of woman would join a bride-ship? Why would these women leave everything they knew to sail halfway around the world for the purpose of becoming brides to men they didn’t know? I hope you’ll join me in exploring the answers to these question as I delve into my new series.

Do you have any parting words?
I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!
I hang out on Facebook here: AuthorJody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com
Find me on Instagram: instagram.com/jodyhedlund/
Come pin with me on Pinterest: pinterest.com/jodyhedlund/pins/



Don't miss the other books in the Orphan Train series . . .

FREE prequel novella
http://amzn.to/2rYCxG2

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Synopsis

Trying to heal the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendleton decides to volunteer at Centre Street Chapel. Ministering to one of the most deprived parts of New York City, the chapel aims at making a difference in the lives of the impoverished immigrants flooding the city. After seeing firsthand the hopelessness of the poor women and orphans, Christine is convinced more can be done to help them.

Guy Bedell has been serving at the chapel and pouring his heart out for the people he's grown to care about. When Christine begins to challenge his methods and offers a new vision for reaching out to the community, can he trust that perhaps God has bigger plans in store for him--plans that may include this feisty socialite?

Book One
Heidi Reads... With You Always by Jody Hedlund


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Synopsis

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.


Book Two
 Heidi Reads... Together Forever by Jody Hedlund


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Synopsis

Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children--firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won't go away--and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.