I'm trying to think of what I want to say about With You Always by Jody Hedlund. It is her first novel in her Orphan Train Series. I'm trying to figure out if she was using this book as an instrument to introduce the Orphan Trains, or if the Orphan Train was supposed to carry a bigger weight than it did in this book.
Elise is responsible for her younger sisters and two infants that were left with her when their mother died in the tenements of New York. When the opportunity arises for Elise to go to Chicago to help in a new town being built along the railroad, she takes the chance, hoping to send money back to her sisters to come to be with her.
Thornton and his twin brother, Bradford, are thrown into a contest to see who will inherit the title to their father's throne as CEO of his railroad company. The challenge is to build a town along the railroad, and fall in love and get married within six months.
Elise and Thornton had met during a storm while she was living at the Seventh Street Mission. Thornton was instantly attracted to Elise and wanted to see her more. When he found her on the train, he made all kinds of excuses to be with her. The only fly in his ointment was the fact that he had a girlfriend in New York.
The only way the Orphan Train comes into the plot is that the babies are sent out on the train without the sisters knowing about it. There is a bit of a hint that the sisters are going to be searching for the babies.
Jody is a quality writer who knows her craft. She has written an excellent book, with great characters and a compelling plot line. The problems I have mentioned are truly minor and the way the contest ends is truly satisfying.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a First Class Train Ride
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.