AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham
Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.
For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn't expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
The Hope of Azure Springs came to me as an unexpected gift, and reading it was another gift. From the beginning, Em’s story tugged at my heart. I’d read other books about the orphan trains of the 1800s, where orphaned children rode west on appointed trains to whoever would take them in. For some, their new home became a prison. Em’s story begins in hers.
But her pluckiness and determination to be honest in actions and emotions endeared this “mighty plain woman” not only to me, but to those who came to know her. I loved how she encouraged her friends to face their grief—an emotion she knew too well—to allow healing to soothe its pain.
An honorable man, Caleb’s strength and insecurities touched me as well, and watching the friendship grow between Em and him was a joy. I especially loved the scenes at his parents’ home, where revealed true colors surprised each person involved.
Faith is not preached in this story but is shown clearly. Em’s faith carried her through many trials, and while her knowledge lacked, her conviction of God’s goodness inspired me.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher. I loved this story and will read it again. The Hope of Azure Springs earns five stars. Highly recommended.