Friday, January 29, 2016

Bookshelf Friday - Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

I so enjoy Jody Hedlund's writing, so I was very excited when Undaunted Hope showed up in my mailbox. Book #3 in her "Beacons of Hope" series, it was a wonderful addition. Here's the blurb, and we'll chat on the other side!

Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won't be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can't help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him. 

Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she's the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

First off, as anyone who has read a Hedlund book will say, this author does her research. Every detail is paid attention to and oftentimes her characters are taken from the history of real people. Undaunted Hope is no exception as she loosely based Tessa on the wife of a light keeper. These author traits only deepen the setting, and story and the reader greatly benefits.

But Hedlund doesn't just do research well. She also writes beautifully, creating strong leads, organic faith elements, and multi-layered plots. I loved getting to know Tessa better in this book, and I could relate to her struggle between what she wanted to do and what God just might be leading her to do. Add to it two amazing male leads, and Hedlund was able to craft a love triangle that didn't feel overdone. I knew immediately which man I rooted for, but it was a fun ride waiting to see if he'd be the one to end up with Tessa at the end.

With just a hint of suspense, tons of smile-worthy romance, and a stubborn young woman who only wants a fresh start, Undaunted Hope allows Hedlund's writing to once again shine, and I cannot wait for book #4 in this series. If you haven't read any of them, you can easily start here, but I'm going to recommend you read them all. They are simply that good.

I happily give Undaunted Hope 5 out of 5 stars and you can purchase it here.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

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