Jody Hedlund is quickly becoming one of my "go-to" and "must read" authors.
Ms. Hedlund effortlessly weaves history into her stories and you can tell she's done her research when she writes her stories. This makes me enjoy her books that much more because I know the author isn't simply 'making up' facts, but has taken time to research before writing. Another facet of her writing that I identify with is the way she seamlessly incorporates the gospel in all her books.
Ms. Hedlund's new Beacons of Hope series continues to showcase her high caliber of storytelling and most importantly reminds readers of the hope there is in the gospel.
Undaunted Hope takes place in 1870's Michigan and follows lovely school teacher Tessa Taylor as she travels to a copper mining town to teach. Desperate to escape her past she throws herself into teaching both the children and the miner's of the community.
Tess faces extreme opposition from Percival Updegraff, the superintendent and principle mine clerk who rules the town with an iron fist and knows everything that goes on.
She soon finds herself drawn into the world of the Bjorklund brothers, Michael and Alex. Both men work at the lighthouse in town. Michael, a widower, with two young children is the light-keeper and Alex is his assistant. Both brothers vie for her hand, but ultimately only one brother wins. Which brother will it be? You'll have to read the book to find out!
One of the qualities I liked best about Tessa is her willingness to help others. Especially, when it came to education...she's eager for her students of all ages to learn. Not only education, but anytime she was called upon to help out in the community she did. This willingness to serve others caused the townspeople to respect and appreciate her and eventually stand up for her when she needed them the most.
Unlike Ms. Hedlund's previous books in this series where the lighthouse is seen as a beacon of hope, Tessa does not view the lighthouse as this having lost family members in tragic accidents. Her view is the complete opposite...she's bitter and vows to never set foot in a lighthouse or marry a keeper.
One feature of this series that I liked was the wooden cross made out of driftwood along with a story of a romance and instructions to pass it along to someone else who needed hope. This was a recurring theme in all Ms. Hedlund's Beacons of Hope books. At the end of Undaunted Hope this story comes full circle. Hint: if you've read the novella Out of the Storm you'll make the connection. I was so excited when I made the connection and thought it was so unique that the author chose to tie in the stories of this series with the beginning novella. Saying it was so cool is an understatement, but it was cool!
Ms. Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series is wonderful and I urge you to check it out if you enjoy historical fiction interwoven with a solid gospel message.
* Undaunted Hope was provided to me by Bethany House via Net Galley in return for my honest opinion.