A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund


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.

My Review:

I was completely immersed in Elise’s story. Jody writes with such depth of feeling, my heart physically ached with Elise at the loss of her mother, and separation of her family, and soared with rejoicing in her successes. There were moments of holding my breath with anticipation and at times I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to discover the outcome. I enjoyed Elise’s wit and sarcasm. I love how she pushes those around her to do better, and to become more than they thought they could.

I felt like I was living the story with Elise & Thornton; even the secondary characters were complex and realistic. Fanny, Marianne, Reinhold, Sophie, Mr. & Mrs. Gray, I loved them all (okay, *spoiler alert* so maybe I didn’t love Mr. Hewitt, but every story needs a good villain).  I didn’t want the story to end! Do yourself a favor, and purchase a copy of this wonderful book.

(I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my review. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“She’d expected time and distance to ease the burning in her chest. But it never went away. Sometimes, like in the quiet of the night, the burning seared as if someone had taken a hot knife and carved his name in her heart.”

About the Author:


Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.  You can find Jody at the following locations:

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

     With You Always (Orphan Train #1)

     An Awakened Heart (Orphan Train Novella)

I’d love to hear from you.

Everyone has a story. Recently I’ve enjoyed discovering stories from relatives about my great-great grandparents. Do you have an interesting family story to share?

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