Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund


Faith, forgiveness and romance in 1859 Michigan.

After reading the novella that came before, I was eager to read this next book in the series and was engulfed/immersed within the first couple of chapters. I love historical fiction and it's interesting to learn new things as you read. I didn't realize that there were pirates on the Great Lakes. And I never thought of how hard it would be to keep a lighthouse beam going all night, every night. Or that there would be people who didn't want it to shine - for their own gain.

Patrick has an ugly past and has come to the lighthouse on Presque Isle. He doesn't mind the lifestyle. He was saved and is befriended by Holy Bill, who helped to find this job. Grateful for a new chance, Patrick came there with his wife and toddler, and his wife has just died.

Emma and her brother are on a steamship that has been attacked by pirates. Maybe they should have stayed on Mackinac. But this was a chance for both of them for a new life.  It had been a struggle since coming over from Ireland. Their mother died of starvation, and their father didn't cope well. Forced to jump into the lake and hang onto a barrel, Emma and Ryan are rescued by Patrick and taken to shore.  They both look for work in an area where jobs are scarce.

Patrick buries his wife and is in desperate need of someone to look after his boy.  In fact little Josiah runs up to Emma who had been watching the funeral. Holy Bill has been praying for Patrick and a better life for him. He encourages Emma and Patrick to be married that day so that she can take care of the boy and Patrick both.  Emma had thought herself unattractive and that she'd never find a husband. She is grateful for a way to take care of herself and also have a real home and family - as well as stop being a burden to her brother.  

There is a lot of romantic tension as Emma and Patrick get to know one another and begin a new life where they both may finally have a chance at happiness. There's a lot to tell about their past, but when is it ever a good time?  In Patrick's case, will that telling make them lose the ground that they have gained? And then there are rumors about how his wife died, spread by his wife's cousin - who befriends Emma.

This is an excellent story and the characters are fully dimensional.  I enjoyed getting to know them and see how their lives would play out. I was sorry to give this only four stars. As much as I loved the story, I did feel that it went on a little too long. I started to lose interest about 2/3 of the way through but read it to the end and and was glad to see how it wrapped up.  I really loved the cover on this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher from the Baker Publishing Group, Bethany - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.

My reviews: