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Friday, June 23, 2017

With You Always...Review

About the book:
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.

The stories behind The Orphan Train have always fascinated me. That people were so desperate that they sent their children away to be adopted by other people. Those stories did not always have happy endings. What I didn't know was that during the financial crisis of the 1850s, the Children's Aid Society also sent out women: usually seamstresses and trade girls to work on the new frontier. Their stories also didn't always have happy endings.

Here we learn about Elise Neumann who must leave New York for a job in Illinois to provide for her younger siblings after their mother dies. Elise crosses paths with Thornton Quincy, the son of one of New York's wealthiest men. Thornton and his brother are in a competition to see who can establish a successsful town first and inherit their father's business.

Jody Hedlund has a way of showcasing, not only the human spirit, but the strength of women and this is just one reason I adore her writing. Elise is feisty and soon realizes that the opportunities promised in New York are far from ideal. I loved how she stood up to Thornton and convinced him to work alongside his employees so that he might now how the working class feel. And Thornton finally standing up to his brother and father was awesome.

The story is tinged with sadness and heartbreak and while not a cliffhanger, we are left with uncertainty about Elise's family and I am grateful that this is the first of a series so that we might know what happens to everyone.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Jody Hedlund here.

Read 5/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

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