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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: Always by Jody Hedlund

The prequel novella for the all-new Lost Princesses series!

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf's invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn't need or want Lady Felicia's help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives--and hearts--forever.

My Review

This is a great novella for introducing us to the backstory of the three lost princesses in Jody Hedlund's exciting new YA series! The reader is thrust into the action which never slows down- danger is nipping at the heels of Lance and Felicia throughout the story which gives it a quick, suspenseful pace. The world-building is vivid and I felt like I got a good sense of the setting as well as the dynamic of the kingdom, its people, and its enemies. The author skillfully weaves in character development and I felt invested in the fate of these selfless people who sacrifice for their kingdom. Lance's awakening of feeling for Felicia was sweet and I admired his fortitude over the years of denying himself. It makes their budding romance a little rocky, though, since he's not used to allowing himself any emotional connection to a woman. Felicia recognizes the noble qualities he has and appreciates the action he takes to protect her and the princesses. Their falling in love was only natural and I enjoyed the special moments they share. I'm so excited to read the books in this series!

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

Don't miss the first novel in the Lost Princesses series . . .

Releases August 27, 2019


An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review: A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


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?

My Review

I was enthralled by the journey of Mercy and her interactions with Joseph. There was a nice balance between the introspective thoughts of the characters and the adventurous plot as they travel through storms, illness, and other obstacles, all under the watchful eye of the bride program's chaperones. I loved the historical details that brought the era to life while the emotions of the characters brought the people to life. Mercy and Joseph both have a large capacity for compassion, and the self-sacrifice they see in each other draws them together. They are so well-matched, even though they come from completely opposite ends of society's spectrum. There is plenty of tension as they know they can never be together, but can't help falling in love. It was obvious to me that the future they could have together serving the less fortunate in London as doctor and nurse would bring powerful change, but I had to wait for them to realize and get on board with it ;) I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next in the series!

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

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


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:
Find me on Instagram:
Come pin with me on Pinterest:

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

FREE prequel novella


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


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


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.