Tag Archive | Jody Hedlund

A Noble Groom (Book Review)

Noble Groom HedlundWhen I saw that Jody Hedlund had a new book out I checked to see if the library was going to be getting A Noble Groom and was thrilled to put it on hold before it ever came in. This is the second time now that I’ve been able to snag a copy of a newly released novel. Ah, bliss!

Jody is well known for her ability to research an area and topic and create a story that reflects real life events. This is what makes her novels more than just historical romance. They are true historicals but romance is definitely in these pages.

Let me say this, Ms. Hedlund writes well and honestly and she is going to take you emotionally into places you may not want to go before giving you a happy ending. In this novel, taking place in Michigan, highlights the struggles of German immigrants who are struggling to adapt to a life of farming after originally immigrating with the goal to take up their mining labors like they had in Saxony.

Annalisa is an obedient daughter, married to a man of her father’s choosing. Hans isn’t brutal but neglectful and more interested in gambling away the farm than providing for his growing family. Annalisa ends up widowed, pregnant and the mother of a young daughter who is trying to keep the farm and hold off the attacks of a man who wants her property to build a lumber mill.

Annalisa’s father sends a note to his brother in Germany, to see if a relative might be available to come and take over the reigns of Annalisa’s farm, and be her husband.  When a man arrives on their doorstep months later, they assume it is the groom, but it’s not.

Carl Richards is on the run from a death sentence in Germany, but if the people that have taken him in and provided him with food, shelter and hard labor like he has never known, were to discover his true identity, they would kill him first. Carl is in reality the only son of a Baron who oversees the mines where Annalisa’s family used to work, and where her brother died.

A growing attraction develops and Carl is torn between his deception and love for Annalisa who still awaits her groom from the Old Country. When he finally arrives they will have difficult choices to make. A natural, historical tragedy, puts them all at risk. Will everyone survive the test?

I enjoyed this story very much. It highlighted the trials and the marriages of the era, where love was not the point of marriage, but a partnership for survival. Jody highlights the idea that even then, love and kindness can flourish during dark and difficult times, when one is committed to God. A worthy read.

Unending Devotion (Book Review)

Jody Hedland creates a lively and bold character in Unending Devotion. Lily Young, now a young woman in 1833, Michigan, is on a mission. Her sister had left her foster home in search of a job but Lily fears that job is one of prostitution at one of the logging towns. With her foster-father moving from town to town to photograph loggers, Lily works as an assistant and searches the brothels to try to locate her sister. But when she get to Harrison she becomes acquainted with Connell McCormick who is trying to run a business, not save damsels in distress.

Lily intrigues him and challenges his faith and his perspective on the evils around him. Evils that he assumed had to be maintained to keep his workers happy in the months they lived away from family. He had little knowledge, intimate or otherwise, of the prostitution that was going on, assuming that these women chose that line of work.

Lilly slowly challenges his faith and his way of looking at the world and he is drawn into her fight for her sister’s life, if only to save Lily’s. It becomes clear that many of the women in the brothels were not there by choice but are tricked and then drugged to keep them compliant. Connell is forced to break from the expectations of his father and forge a new method of doing business in a cut-throat logging world and at the same time, fight the evils around him. Perhaps even winning the heart of a lovely young woman he never even knew he needed.

If we thought human sex-trafficking was a recent occurrence, Jody Hedlund illustrates clearly that this has been going on in our country for much longer time. Jody has done amazingly detailed research on her topic and weaves in reality with fiction that leaves the reader mesmerized and fully immersed in her story.

The Preacher’s Bride – Book Review

The Preacher’s Bride is set in 1650’s England against the religious persecution that the Puritan’s of that time faced. This is the debut novel by Jody Hedlund and was written in such compelling way, I couldn’t put it down.  The characters are realistic and likeable and the emotion that flows through this story is palpable.

When John’s wife dies, leaving behind an infant son and some other children, a teenage Puritan girl, dedicated to serving however God would lead, steps into the breach to provide for this infant. The child, not expected to live, begins to thrive under Elizabeth’s care as do the other remaining  children who are grieving their mother. John, however, blinded by grief and obsessed with preaching to the masses, regardless of the cost, initially opposes Elizabeth’s interference in his household but soon becomes to depend on her completely for the care of his children and home.

As religious persecution increases, Elizabeth becomes a target to try to undermine and stop John’s ministry. Elizabeth suffers severely but does not give up the task she feels God has clearly given her to care for this little family. Her sacrifice costs her the possibility of her own marriage that had been planned.  Eventually John wakes up to the woman who has sustained him and who has loved him for years while she served and supported his preaching.  Eventually marrying, the challenges the couple faces are not less severe and crippling.

John’s passion for the work of God and Elizabeth’s zeal for service against tremendous odds paints a compelling image of the sacrifices that many in that time period would have encountered.

This was a book I could not put down. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. When I finished I had to go back and re-read parts because they were so compelling. I found myself swept up into the story and empathetic to the characters as they struggled with obedience and faith  in the midst of circumstances most of us will never be challenged with.

I strongly recommend this book. It is worth the time to read and let the  characters resonate within your soul and call you to a deeper walk and faith in Christ. The courage they exemplify is something we lack so much of in our own culture.  Thank you, Jody for pouring your heart and the talent God has obviously gifted you with, into this story. To Him be the glory!