Jody Hedlund has written some books that have captured my attention from the very first sentence, and I am never disappointed when I pick up one of her books. So I'll begin as I usually end: Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a Lighthouse to light your way.
Most of this book takes place on Presque Isle, Michigan, on Lake Huron, and is based on real people, only the names were changed for poetic license.
Emma and her brother, Ryan, are on a steamer heading toward Detroit when they were boarded by pirates and lost their possessions. After the pirates set the steamer on fire, Ryan and Emma jumped ship and were rescued and pulled ashore on Presque Isle. Emma believes all hope is lost until an unusual opportunity offers itself to her--marry the Presque Isle lightkeeper and have a place of refuge. Patrick Garraty needs help at the lighthouse--mostly with his son, a two-year-old redheaded boy with more life and energy than he can keep up with. Emma immediately falls in love with Patrick's son, Josiah, and accepts the proposition of marrying Patrick.
What they have to overcome is the wagging tongue of Patrick's first wife's cousin, Bertie Burnham. She likes to sow venom, bitterness, and mistrust wherever she goes and nearly separates Emma and Patrick permanently. She was a force to be reckoned with and not very trustworthy herself. Emma wants a friend so badly that Bertie is the best opportunity to show itself in the first months of her marriage.
While Emma has many things to learn about being a wife, like cooking, and about being a mother; but she also has many things to learn about her husband--where he goes periodically that has him coming back smelling of women's perfume, what his life was like before he came to Christ, what his first marriage was like, and how his first wife truly met her death. He wants to tell her, but he's not sure how she'll take the information and whether she'll stay with him once she knows.
This book has everything: joy, sorrow, happiness, angst, laughter, tears, and a precocious two year old boy with a strong will and a temper to match (at times). The setting is well-described without taking away from the story, the characters live in the reader's imagination with a reality that works for the book, and the plots and sub-plots are well-defined and yet seamless. I recommend this book highly. You won't be disappointed.
Bethany House has allowed me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.