A brief summary from 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.
Elise Neumann is on the verge of making the riskiest decision of her life – leave her sisters behind and board a train to Illinois for work. Nearly destitute and on the verge of being homeless, the financial crisis of the 1850’s is hardfelt throughout New York. Jobs are hard to come by and without her parents to help, Elise must take care of her two sisters alone. But when an opportunity opens up, Elise realizes this may be the open door of survival she’s been praying for. Leaving her sisters behind, Elise boards a train West with other ladies looking for work in a new, booming town along the Illinois Central Railroad. Yet, Elise’s role as a seamstress might be too good to be true. Will she end up in the poor house after all?
Thornton Quincy is competing against his brother for an inheritance of a lifetime from their dying father. The mission: to build a completely sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad in six months time…and get married. As if building a town wasn’t pressure enough, now Thornton has the added pressure of convincing a woman to marry him? Its almost enough to make him quit the competition right there on the spot! But something inside Thornton refuses to roll over and let his brother win, again. The race is on, and Thornton soon realizes this competition isn’t as clean cut as he first imagined, especially when a saboteur is in his midst. A saboteur that just so happened to arrive along the same time as the whirlwind of Elsie Neumann…
Jody Hedlund’s With You Always is absolutely delightful! I love how easily and seamlessly it transitioned from the prequel novella, An Awakened Heart. Jody’s writing breathes fresh life into historic settings and cities, pulling her readers away from the present to a time long ago. I seriously could not put this book down!! Which seems to be a fairly consistent happening when reading her works. 🙂 I highly recommend reading the Orphan Train Series and am eagerly anticipating the second novel!
I was graciously provided a free copy of this novel from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.