AUTHOR: Jody Hedlund
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
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.
First, the disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
With You Always is set in the mid-1800s in New York city and Illinois. Soul-crushing poverty, inhumanity, and hopelessness create a dark backdrop for this story, at times overwhelming. But like pinpricks of starlight on a black night, the author inserts love-lights through her characters as they grow into God’s plan.
Elise is an interesting heroine, both plucky and despairing. Her quirky sense of humor brightened the story, and Thorton’s matched hers. Their verbal zingers elevated the story by lifting it out of the depressing setting.
Thornton is bound by his social status, his family, and most of all his father’s expectations, while Elise struggles with her lack. So this is a story of growth and redeeming love. Triumph, when it comes, is particularly sweet.
In spite of the depressing setting, I quite enjoyed Thornton and Elise’s story. With You Always earns four stars.