At first glance, Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund appears to be a typical historical romance novel. And indeed the book is set in 1883, and there is definitely a romantic slant that fits well in the historical romance genre.
Lily, a young woman, assists her boss photographing lumberjacks at camps in Central Michigan. She meets a camp boss, Connell McCormick, and the two fall in love. My initial impression was that this was a typical storyline, man and woman fall in love, they have a difficult problem and all looks hopeless, but in the end all works out well.
However, Unending Devotion was far from typical. Lily’s motive for working in the lumber camps is to locate and rescue her sister who she believes is a prostitute in one of the lumber towns. Hedlund paints a bleak picture of life in the brothels and shows that besides the obvious degradation women are regularly beaten and even killed. The aspect that is shocking is that this is not a problem that ended in the 19th century. Human trafficking is also a contemporary problem and Hedlund gives a realistic look at the horror involved.
Lily is a feisty, appealing 18-year old who believes that God has called her to rescue women from the brothels and she does so risking her own life. Lily has always believed that God expects her to just go ahead and do his work. She is impetuous and charges ahead on her own expecting God to catch up. The story shows the spiritual growth in Lily’s life as she learns to let God take control and lead.
The story is exciting and while I pride myself on being able to predict the ending in most books, this one was complex. This is a book with a satisfactory love story that weaves around an exciting plot. But it also describes a tragic problem that is relevant today. I would recommend this book.
I received this book from the publisher in return for a review. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
In Her Darkest Hours, Is He the Man She Needs?
Lily Young longs to find her lost sister or will die trying. Heedless of any danger, she searches logging camps and towns, posing as a photographer’s assistant. And then she arrives in Harrison, Michigan–and the sights of Connell McCormick.
Connell is determined to increase the fortune of his lumber-baron father and figures as long as he’s living an upright life, that’s what matters. But when Lily arrives in town she upends his world, forcing him to confront the truth that dangerous men have gained too much power while good men turn a blind eye.
Vexing but persuasive, Lily soon secures Connell’s help, drawing them ever closer to each other. Will standing for what’s right cost them both everything?
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of "The Doctor's Lady" and "The Preacher's Bride". She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.
Visit her website: http://jodyhedlund.com/
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