Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

Heidi Reads... Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

My Review

There are so many things I like about this novel- the western setting, the steadily building friendship and romance between Livy and Jake, but what really touched my heart was the abuse of child labor and street orphans. Livy's compassion for the orphans and Jake's duty as sheriff's deputy to investigate them as robbery suspects have them crossing paths and butting heads over how the situation should be handled. A few parts are told from the perspective of Luke, one of the boys living on the street, as he seeks to rescue his brother from captivity in a hidden sweatshop. It is astounding how little the lives of the orphans are valued not only by their abusers but defensive members of the growing town. With part of the mystery known to the reader and part of it revealed towards the end, there is an element of tension and suspense. The story includes other facets of frontier life that are woven in seamlessly, including the dangers of coal mining, a judgmental school teacher, and the dynamics of neighbors and friendships in a tight-knit community. I recommend this book to fans of Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Regina Jennings.

(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

About the Author

Award-winning author Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age.

Born east of the Mississippi and a hundred years too late, Pam still boasts of wrangling calves, milking cows and putting up hay, first as a child, and later with her own personal hero, Iran, on their family farm in Mississippi.

A voracious reader as a child, Pam especially enjoyed stories involving the great Westward expansion, and television shows such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Gunsmoke. The western writer, Louis L’Amour, kept Pam mesmerized with his tales of cowboys and Indians, mountain men and outlaws, prim schoolteachers, hot dry deserts, and boom towns.

Pam’s life in the country and her love of the old west bring authenticity to her work and depth to her characters, something that has been recognized many times in the industry through writer’s awards.

Her debut novel, Stealing Jake, was a finalist in the International Digital Awards and the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards. Claiming Mariah, her second novel won the Inspirational Readers Choice. Her latest release, The Evergreen Bride, is set in the heart of Mississippi. Pam lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.

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