About the Book
Title: Together Forever, Orphan Train Book 2
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Inspirational historical romance
Release Date: May, 2018
Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she’ll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.
Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, 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 in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.
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I was happy to hear that Marianne was getting her own story! Her character really intrigued me in With You Always, and I was eager to find out more about her. She was such a remarkable person, who had been through so much and yet worked hard to get what she wanted – the whereabouts of her family. That being said, I think that being on the orphan train was good for her – it opened her eyes to so many things. It made her vulnerable at times, and a more well rounded character. Especially the scenes with Dorothea. Oh my goodness those scenes really choked me up! Marianne needed her own story so could shine, but Jody Hedlund gives you so much more than that. She gives you a character that evolves, matures, and learns to fight for what she believes is right.
Once again, Jody Hedlund’s portrayal of the orphan trains just blow my mind. Her ability to bring the fear, the excitement, and the heartache the train brought is amazing. She even goes further than that by providing glimpses into the lives of the children after they are taken. I imagine that many of these instances are probably true to what happened back in the day. Not only does it tug at your heartstrings, it kind of puts you in awe of what all these kids had to endure. Marianne and Drew had such a difficult job in mentoring these kids and then saying goodbye to them once they left the train. I tend to get attached so quickly, kind of like Marianne, and I know without a doubt I would have a hard time saying goodbye.
I do have to say that this book was so much more than just an orphan train story. There were some surprises, some gasps, and even some toe curling kisses! As much as Marianne’s character evolved in this story, so did Drew. He had a huge burden on his shoulders and found it hard to let go. Don’t we often go through the same thing? I found that I could totally relate to what Drew was feeling and his ability to let his past get the best of him. It was a good reminder in how we should lean on the Lord, and let Him guide us. We need to ask for forgiveness, but also realize that we have been forgiven and move on. It’s not easy for sure, but seeing Drew’s progress through this book ought to provide us a little bit of hope.
The bottom line is that this book is worth reading. It is worth sharing. It is a book that will make you smile, cry, laugh, and sigh. It won’t be long before you are totally enamored with Marianne and Drew. Make sure you block out a good length of time to read, because you are going to need it! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at www.jodyhedlund.com.
Guest Post from Jody Hedlund
30,000 Abandoned Children
By Jody Hedlund
Imagine a city where 30,000 abandoned and homeless children live on the streets.
Sounds like something from a futuristic dystopian novel, doesn’t it? Or something that might happen after a war or apocalypse or major disaster, right?
This exact thing actually happened in the 1850’s. And the city was New York City.
It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 30,000 homeless children roamed the dirty city streets and alleys of New York City.
30,000. Children. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s the size of a town.
Historians look back on that time and try to make sense what led to such horrific conditions for children. Of course, the influx of immigrants was at an all time high. Jobs and housing were scarce. Diseases were rampant. Hunger and poverty became a norm. (Orphan Train Depot)
As more and more people became aware of the enormous problem within the crowded slums, courageous heroes rose up and attempted to do their part to make a difference.
While we may not always agree with the methods that were used to save the thousands of homeless children, we can admire the men and women who could no longer sit idly by.
The Children’s Aid Society was started by Charles Loring Brace as one such attempt to help the hordes of homeless children. His “Emigration Plan” is better known today by the term “Orphan Trains.”
My latest series tackles various elements of the orphan train movement. Together Forever, releasing in May, highlights the placing agents, those devoted people who rode the trains with the orphans. The agents spent weeks and months on the road caring for the children, all the while trying to place them in loving homes.
(If you’d like to try out the series, start with my FREE novella, An Awakened Heart.)
Like the brave men and women who came before us, may we always strive to do our part to make a difference!
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To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Click below to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/cee5/together-forever-celebration-tour-giveaway