Jody Hedlund's Unending Devotion tells the story of a young woman serving as a photographer's assistant as she meticulously searches through Michigan's lumber camps for her missing younger sister. Along the way Lily has discovered a passion for helping fallen women toward a better life, knowing that her sister is likely one of these women. The town of Harrison she finds to be a city rife with corruption, and with the reluctant aid of complacent Connell McCormick, the boss of three of the local lumber camps, she searches for Daisy and encourages a spirit of reform. However, the corrupt and powerful people who run the town have no interest in seeing her succeed at either task . . .
The plot starts out at a fast clip and it just keeps going - there is definitely no sagging in the middle before the climax. However, it does not feel like there is TOO MUCH happening either (as opposed to stories where so much happens one just quits caring); it is well paced, and every event is well developed. And oh, the romantic tension in some spots! Regarding the villain, it was shocking how much of the evil in the book is based on real people and events. This book successfully deals with a fair number of problems that easily beset Christians: complacency (going with what society accepts rather than standing up for what God wants), self-righteousness, and self-reliance (rather than reliance on the Lord).
My only issue - and a minor one, at that - is the heroine's personality. She is one of those incredibly idealistic people who is impulsive, never backs down from a fight, and always thinks she's right - which gets her into trouble. A lot. Granted, she is admirable for standing up for what she believes in and throwing herself into a worthy cause, but she does not use her head enough. I like to play it safe and maintain peace as much as possible, so while I largely agreed with what she believes, I cringed at her methods. Thus I connected significantly better with Connell, the peace-maker, than with Lily.
Unending Devotion is, again, another great novel by Jody Hedlund. She has a way to play with the readers' emotions. This one is no different. She has the best author's notes in her novels and usually has a surprise for her readers. Unending Devotion shows the awful ways of the sex slavery during the 1880s in Michigan - which does continue to this day throughout the United States. I loved this novel! I believe anyone who loves history would enjoy this page turner. Highly recommended. 5 plus stars!
There's passion, suspense, drama, adventure, humor, education and social reform all held together by the amazing story of Lily Young, who tries to rescue her sister, Daisy, from prostitution in the lumber industry ruled Michigan of 1883. She stands for temperance, family and morals against environmental destruction, drunkenness and white slavery. But she stands in her own strength. It's also the story of Connell McCormick, wealthy lumber king, who learns to care about what Lily cares about when he learns to care about Lily. They both learn to stand in God's strength. I loved that it wasn't just a shallow romance set in an historical setting. It was eye opening to see how that particular historical setting influenced things that are still issues in society today. I didn't just come away entertained - I came away informed, educated and thinking about how social reform works. Well done Jody Hedlund.
My first book by Jody Hedlund and I found it to be well written, historically solid and engaging. The characters were fun although I must say that Lily's got a stupid streak that seems to break out a little too often, and Connell, (bonus points for the cool name) is the chivalrous hero that every girl dreams of. I mean, who doesn't love a guy who rescues you from a blizzard and then fights off an entire pack of wolves. I also loved how committed to purity he was and how important it was to him. Highly recommended to lovers of historical romance and all those you are in need of a good book to pass the time. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
Once again, Jody Hedlund has written a story that kept me wanting to turn the page to find out what would happen next. It’s a story of determination, danger, and romance.
Lily Young poses as a photographer’s assistant in hopes of finding her sister, who has become lost to the world of brothels and prostitution. Facing danger at every turn, she takes it upon herself to rescue all of the young women she can who are trapped in this hideous lifestyle, at times, barely making it out unscathed. All the while, searching different locations, hoping to run into her sister. To her surprise, she finds an unlikely ally in lumber boss, Connell McCormick.
Connell McCormick is the boss of three lumber camps. Trying very hard to live up to his father’s standards, he sets his sights on increasing business for McCormick Lumber. That is, until the lovely Lily Young steps into his life, distracting him from his goals. But every time he turns around, Lily is getting herself into hot water with her escapades of rescue. Connell doesn’t want to make an enemy out of brothel owner, James Carr, but when Lily gets herself into trouble, his protective nature kicks in and he finds himself rescuing her more times than he can count. And at the same time, falling for the girl with the big brown eyes.
I like the fact that, not only was the story based on historical events, but that some of the characters were actual people, as acknowledged in the back of the book. I would note here that, while Jody didn’t go into graphic detail concerning the subject of prostitution, it is still a sensitive subject and might be best for a mature reader to read first. It did make me stop and think, as a Christian, how would I treat someone who might potentially be in that kind of situation? Would I do my best to show them God’s love, or would I turn my back and walk away? Definitely food for thought. Great job, Jody! Two thumbs up!
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Review 6 for Unending Devotion - eBook
An Engaging Historical Fiction Read
Date:March 11, 2013
Lilly believes her sister is being held in a brothel in an area filled with a lot of undesirable people. She helps to get women out of bad situations where they have been mistreated and taken advantage of by men. Connell McCormick, who runs his family lumber business in Harrison, comes into play when Lilly comes into town. Once she discovers what is happening in Harrison, she tries to open Connell’s eyes to the truth while trying to figure out what happened to her sister.
What I liked:
I really liked Lilly’s personality. She is a feisty, strong, and determined young woman. She will tackle a challenge head on if she believes in what she is doing. I think that is cool.
The story got off to a slow start, but once I was a few chapters in, I was the story picked up and I was able to get more into it. This is the second book by Ms. Hedlund that I have read, both of which were really good historical fiction stories. The writing was smooth and everything flowed well. She describes everything in vivid detail and makes the reader connect with the character. Unending Devotion is an engaging Inspirational Historical Fiction story that deals with courage, loss, and love. It is perfect for fans of Christian/Inspirational Historical Fiction.
** I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for nothing, but my honest review. Thank you!**
This is the second book I have read by Jody Hedlund, and I would have to say I was thouroughly surprised. I loved the amount of depth and layers this story held. The plot, setting, history and characters were all carefully crafted. For me, the best part of this story was to read the Author's Note at the end and discover that the town was indeed a real place, and the villain was, in fact, a real person. Many of the events incorporated into the plot were based on real events. This is an element to Jody Hedlund's writing style that I love...she bases her stories on real people. Her characters have depth, they are relatable, and they grow throughout the pages of the story. I love the steady thread of Biblical themes throughout this book. The author covers a wide range of topics: from "tastefully"and carefully dealing with prostitution/human-trafficking, to demonstratnig purity in a relationship, to teaching readers to stand up for what is right, and also to giving the reins over to God and letting Him lead our lives. Overall, I would say this is a wonderful story of how God can change lives. This is demonstrated through the redemption of Daisy (a prostitute), through Connell (a apathetic lumber boss) and through Lily (a reckless," ge- ahead-of-God, woman). This story is filled with relatable characters that make the story come to life. There are only a few aspects of the story I would critique. At times Lily's fiesty personality came across too strongly. She would recklessly put herself in dangerous situations, without thinking of the consequences or danger she would bring on herself and those around her. Although the author does bring about a "learning lesson" from this behavior, there were several scenes that were just pretty unbelievable. It was difficult to picture someone to be "that" reckless, regardless of the situation. One other issue was that at times in the book the plot seemed slow and disconnected to the flow and pace of the rest of the story. There were some scenes that didn't feel like they belonged and make the reading a bit rough. Overall, this was a great story, and I do recommend reading this book. I recieved this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Interesting history of the logging industry and early town growth around it. Several unexpected twists in the plot to keep you wondering what the next sequence of events will be. I enjoyed it as a light read.
All the major players in this story (some of whom really lived in this time/place) were interesting, rounded characters who did, indeed, experience change/evolution in the process of working through difficulties. Lily learns to stop "running ahead of God" and wait for Him to work His will and goodness into the different challenges she and her sister face. I was really able to "identify" with the lead characters...this author is truly talented in developing characters...bringing them to "life" so that the reader is still thinking of them when she walks away from the book!
I thought Ms. Hedlund handled the topic of prostitution in the logging camps very well. Truly heartbreaking learning about the terrible circumstances that brought so many of the women/girls into the camps (lest we forget this horrifying travesty still occurs all over the world today!)! Thankfully, Connell is convicted to join Lily in her battle against the cruelty and injustice going on there, and he is also able to help Lily give God room to what needs to be done in their fight for what is right! We live in a very fallen world and that is shown clearly in this story. Not every "story" (Daisy) ends well, or as we would wish. But, God is in control. And...in the end, always puts us in a "better place".
I really did like this book, although I'd have to say that Jody's "The Doctor's Lady" is still my favorite so far! The Preacher's Bride is very good, too... Just read them all! You won't be sorry!! Keep up the great work, Jody Hedlund!
Thank you Bethany House for the free copy and the opportunity to review. The thoughts expressed in this review were entirely mine. I was not required to write a positive review.
From the beautiful cover, to the last line of dialogue before The End, Jody Hedlund's latest was a very engaging, sweet read. If you're like me--who can rarely pass up a good 'inspy' historical fiction hot off the presses, I'd recommend this book based on the above description from Bethany House. If, however, you need convincing...here's my take on this book:
The town of Harrison, Michigan, was painted very historically accurate. For both the era, & the industry at the time. The roughness of the mid-west, coupled with endearing secondary characters and a mostly fast paced plot, it didn't take me long to finish. I found I identified with Lily, the main heroine--one of my top requirements for enjoying a novel--& Connell as well. Their stories & learning curves as individuals in the story were written simply, but you clearly saw the subtle changes in them from beginning to end. Another must-have in my fiction, is good back story. And let me tell you--Lilly & Connell had some great back story. In fact, at some points--it was better than the present plot! Lilly blames herself for her sister's downfall & subsequent disappearance, & attempts to stop at nothing to find her. Connell is scarred by his fiancee's infidelity--with his brother who was a trip & a half a not-so-nice character...but Lilly soon catches Connell's eye. In spite of their many differences in personality...while it was quite a true 'opposites attract' scenario, their differences challenged & vexed each other. But those same idiosyncrasies & personality differences only endeared them all the more...I'm getting ahead of myself.
My hopeless romantic's heart delighted in the main characters' relationship that buds & flourishes within the first ten chapters. While they are both adults, at the beginning, Lilly & Connell sneak admiring glances at each other from across the room, look for the other if out & about, & miss each other when they're not around. I wouldn't call it cheesy, per se...but I found it very sweet & endearing. What did give me pause to yearn to pull my hair out, was the characters' second guessing of the opposite's feelings for them. But that's what keeps the romance going along in a story; on one hand, you don't know if the pair will end up together, but on the other hand--you can so see a happy ending in sight. Such was the case with Lilly Young & Connell McCormick.
A handful of things I wasn't as thrilled about...more than once, I caught the plot going by at a snail's pace, while we got a load of backstory, & lots of dialogue all at once. While I knew the plot--the end-goals for the two main characters--was coming along & building up...at certain parts it moved slowly. All through the book there was much more dialogue than description--but very vivid dialogue, I'll admit. By the end of the book I had my heart in my throat as the loose ends, the pasts & yes, the love, were tied up beautifully. *I was generously given this book to review from Bethany House
Hedlund's latest story reeled me in from the start. I fell hard and fast for Connell. Wow! Talk about a hero that is sigh-worthy. This hunky, hardworking, principled logger earned some serious hero points. The more I got to know him, the better I liked him. I enjoyed watching him deal with Lily as she challenges everything he stands for.
Lily is one feisty heroine. There are times her impulsiveness gets her in trouble, but I admire her determination. In an effort to save her sister, she’s willing to take on anyone, even the vilest of villains. Her major problem is that she doesn’t know how to accept help, which puts her very life in danger at times. Learning to lean on others and follow the Lord’s leading isn’t easy for Lily, but learn her lesson she does–eventually.
The historical romance fan in me loved Hedlunds’s depiction of life in the lumber camps of Michigan. I was there, shivering with those out in the bitter cold, hearing the ring of axes echoing through the forest, and inhaling the fresh scent of recently felled white pine. Hedlund’s handling of the “white slavery” prevalent in the lumber towns of the time was tasteful and added an authenticity to the story that tugged on my heart.
Hedlund is known for writing fast-paced, action-packed stories. Unending Devotion is certainly that. The story takes off in the first chapter, and the pace just picks up from there. Readers be warned: you could lose sleep over this one. I had the hardest time putting the book down. It’s that good.
If you like gripping tales with strong characters that keep you glued to the pages, then Unending Devotion is a story for you. Note that due to the thematic elements of the story, it might not be appropriate for young teens.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund Bestselling author Judy Hedlund has written a new novel titled Unending Devotion. Set in central Michigan in 1883, the reader sees what life was like in a lumber camp. Connell McCormick is in charge of the logging camp in the town of Harrison for his father. As long as his shanty boys show up for work each day, he is satisfied. He wants to prove his worth to his father. What the loggers do at the saloons on their off hours is none of his business. When Lily Young shows up in town looking for her sister, Connell knows he is in trouble. Lily isn't afraid of standing up for what is right. She will do anything to find her sister and help other girls, even if it means taking on villian James Carr who forces young women to work for his establishment. No one has ever stood up to him before, but that doesn't stop Lily! Connell is torn between doing what he knows is right and being a success for his father. And his attraction for Lily is growing stronger everyday! I have read 2 other books by Hedlund before and I love how they are about true people and events in history. Although the book started out kind of slow for me, I soon got into it and enjoyed seeing Lily's fighting spirit. Connell had all kinds of pressure to deal with from family, co-workers and "his girl". I recommend this novel if you like this time period in history. There is lots of action! Thanks Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy to review.
http://www.bethanyhouse.com/Book.asp?isbn=978-0-7642-0834-8 Posted by basketballorange301 at 8:13 PM
"Unending Devotion" by Jody Hedlund is a totally unexpected, unique read. Disturbing at times, this historical fiction novel takes its readers to a moment in history rarely covered in this genre. I greatly appreciated the new information about the development of America's logging industry, now greatly reformed compared to what it was back then!
At the beginning of this story, Lily Young, a woman who grew up as an orphan, travelling from caregiver to caregiver with her sister, is travelling through the logging camps as a photographer's assistant. Oren, the widowed photographer, is more father than employer and is fiercely protective of Lily. Lily gives him plenty of challenges, though, as she boldly goes wherever she feels she needs to go in her search for Daisy, the sister she raised, now a runaway living quite perilously. Lily plans to rescue her from the life that has now imprisoned her and doesn't hesitate to rescue many other young women along the way.
Connell McCormick, the son of a logging baron, seeks only to please his demanding and often unreasonable father--until he meets Lily, who challenges him to consider how his father's business is impacting people's lives. He'll be challenged to choose: his father or his conscience and his heart.
Control is the theme woven throughout this read. Is God in control? Or does He need our help? Are we at the mercy of our circumstances? Or are there positive ways to work for change? As the story unfolds, Lily and Connell discover the answers they need.
Bethany House Publishers sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I was thankful for the insights I found in this story.
Desperate situations call for desperate measures in the novel, Unending Devotion, by Jody Hedlund. The author takes the reader captive, in her return to the logging towns of Northern Michigan in the late 19th Century. Basing her work on actual circumstances and people, she gives the reader a look back, painting vividly a picture of living one might never have imagined existed.
Lily, the main character in Unending Devotion, finds herself on a quest to fulfill a promise to her deceased parents; caring for her younger sister. Circumstances have set her sister on the path of self-degradation, in the brothels, often considered a necessity for the shanty boys in logging towns. Assistant to a photographer, visiting the various towns to photograph the workers, Lily makes diligent search to find her sister. Along the way, throwing caution to the wind, it has become her personal mission to help rescue as many other girls as she possibly can.
Circumstances come to a head in the town of Harrison. It seems that Lily has underestimated the deep corruption and evil that she is up against. However, not everyone in the logging towns is corrupt. Rescued by Connell McCormick, who later becomes very much involved in keeping her safe, Lily has to learn that her hastiness often leads to trouble. The question is, will she be able to keep herself in check when she learns that her sister might be nearer than she ever imagined?
Without telling you the entire story line or the ending, I would highly recommend you find a copy of this book for yourself. It is definitely a read you will not want to set down, even past your bedtime. I enjoy historical Christian fiction and was not disappointed by this author. In fact, I really want to read more of her work!
Some of the things I appreciated about this novel were the well developed characters, the descriptions used to take you back to the logging towns, the story line, the dialogs, and the fact that the author was able to give factual information in a way that was not crossing any boundaries or being too explicit.
I truly believe that when you finish reading the book, you will have a new understand of situations that still exist in the 21st Century. Unending Devotion shows you the sacrifices men and women are willing to make, even in the face of danger, to stand against evil. It was an excellent read.
I was recently provided the book, Unending Devotion, written by Jody Hedlund to review by Bethany House.
This book was okay, in my opinion. Why only okay? Probably mostly because I could not personally relate to Lily Young, the main character of the book. Her impulsiveness seemed a little TOO much, crossing over into carelessness & foolishness, at times. She loved her sister, a commendable attribute, but she acted in ways that put others in harm’s way, without thinking thru the consequences. That said, I really liked Oren’s character, who brought humor to the story with his protectiveness & feisty-ness.
I did like the author’s ability to transport readers back to another era, to the lumber mills/camps of the 1880s. And, I especially appreciated Hedlund’s use of a real town, a real villain and real problem for the storyline, illustrating the possibility for reform, both in the 1880s and still today.
The realness of prostitution & sex-trafficking, while never completely graphic within the pages of the book were presented with authenticity and for this reason, I would not recommend to young readers.
This story took us back to another era, to lumber mills,workers,camps and the dark side of those seeking to make money off of young girls. While based on true events that occurred, this could be happening in today's world as well. There was so much insight into what life was truly like in the lumber camps and just how easily and often innocent girls were pulled into awful bondage. I could tell that this was well researched. The story line was intriguing and the characters rich. I could almost envision the town and atmosphere. I think that Jody Hedlund is a great author and will look for other books she has written. I was given a free copy from Bethany House and did not receive any payment for my review.
This is a true-to-life novel, based on real events in upper Michigan during the 1880’s, in a very small rural community where the logging was the main industry. Lily Young, an 18-year-old who had been orphaned at a very young age, along with her younger sister, Daisy, had been raised in a series of orphanages and crude living situations until she was finally ready to make her own way in life, and fairly quickly set out to right the wrongs of her world.
Lily’s greatest concern was for her sister, who sent her a note saying she also was going out on her own and asking Lily not to search for her. Daisy had succumbed to the world of prostitution, and Lily was determined to “rescue” her and others like her, who felt they had no choice of earning a living than to live in the brothels of their time and be cared for by those who earned a living from their misfortune. Once inside a brothel, there was little chance of ever escaping. Those who tried to escape endured horrible punishment, even death.
Lily’s only friend and companion was Oren, an elderly photographer, who along with his now deceased wife, Betty, provided a loving home for Lily for the past few years. Oren and Lily traveled the logging camps, photographing the young loggers for income. They arrived at Harrison and ended up in the Northern Hotel, a place for the “shanty boys” who worked the logging camps and spent their nights and received a hot meal at the end of their long work day. Unfortunately, most of these young men also spent much time and most of their hard-earned money in the nearby taverns, drinking and spending time with the in-house prostitutes. It is an extremely sordid environment for a young Christian girl, but Lily is determined to continue her work as a rescuer and refuses to fear any of the men who admire and lust after her.
One young man who stepped in to protect Lily many times, Connell McCormack, turned out to be the son of the local lumber baron, who actually lived in a small city several hours from Harrison. Connell had been raised by a very strict father and obediently attempted to please his father with his hard work and industrious efforts at building up his father’s wealth. The logging industry left in its wake a barren and ugly landscape, which Lily noticed and grieved over, almost as much as her girls she attempted to rescue. She surprised herself by being extremely attracted to Connell and finding he was likewise attracted to her, in spite of both of them resolving to avoid the opposite sex!
Between rescuing the fallen women and attempting to change Connell’s mindset to that of wanting to improve the environment his logging business has destroyed, this novel is filled with many exciting adventures. Lily was an adventurous and brave young woman, but very foolish in some of her head-strong attempts at her rescues. Connell, because of his love and admiration for this woman, risked his own life many times in order to preserve hers. Lily learns she can trust God to guide her and lead her through her chosen path and help her accomplish her goals, but she had many lessons to learn along the way.
The events in this novel are based on a number of historical events occurring in Harrison, Michigan, as well as some of the characters of that time.
Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund 1883 Michigan Lily Young is only eighteen but she has been taking care of her younger sister for years. While Lily takes a job and tries to make a life for them, Daisy takes things in her own hands and runs away from the home she is in. Lily will not rest until she finds her sister and pulls her out of a life she knows her sister truly wouldn’t want to live. Rescuing other young girls along her journey. Lily has lost sight of one thing though, that God is in control and not her. Can the young woman learn to let go and trust God to handle things?
Connell McCormick works hard and lives a clean life. He tries to please his dad by building their lumber empire larger. When he meets Lily she challenges everything he believes. Can he take the chance to stand up for what’s right if it would hurt his father’s business? Will evil men be able to continue in their ways because not one good man will challenge them?
This was an excellent read. Very emotional because many of the facts are based on true history. It was a time in the lumber business when men became richer but morals were poor. Where an evil man truly did falsely advertise for young girls to work in his hotel when it was actually a brothel. Very intense but so good. **Received from Bethany House Publishers for review
I found this to be an emotionally charged and well written story of logging towns and life in the 1880's in Michigan. In particular, a town with a population of 2000 with 20 bars and few honorable men, except of course, for the 'hero' of the story.
It was well researched and tells of home remedies popular in that era; ranges from two and four-legged wolves to rescuing wayward girls trapped in prostitution. It is definitely a page-turner. I was very impressed with the beauty in which it told of a mother's scriptural training of her son, and shows him how to flee temptations. The hero/heroin of the story are referred to as the King of Patience and Queen of Rescues. Very appropriate.
I was given this book to review from Bethany House Publishers and not required to give it any particular praise. I would recommend it for all ages.
This is a wonderful story of courage, faith, love, cruelty and hardship, set in the 1880's, in the logging town of Harrison, Michigan. Much of the story is based on fact and the history of the lumber industry is fascinating.
Lily Young is an orphan and a born crusader, dedicated to fulfilling God's purpose in her life. She comes to Harrison with her adoptive father and friend, Oren, and is anxiously seeking her lost younger sister. Lily believes that her sister, Daisy, has been kidnapped and forced into prostitution as so many young girls and women have been.
Lily becomes attracted to Connell McCormick, son of a wealthy lumber baron, who supervises the work in the logging camps. Connell is a good man, but he accepts necessary evils as part of doing business. Lily believes in no half measures; it's all or nothing, and she impulsively rushes into danger several times. Lily must learn to "trust God to unfold His purposes for her life" and Connell will have to face the hard truth about the lawlessness and corruption involved in the lumber business. Along with the turmoil of their conflicting priorities, Lily and Connell fall in love, but can their love survive their differences?
History enthusiasts will enjoy the authentic portrayal of daily life in the dangerous lumber camps. The story is heartwarming, adventurous, entertaining and inspirational, making an all-around great read.
I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. I am happy to recommend this book to adults and teenagers, especially those who enjoy historical novels.