She’s a former pickpocket who now runs an orphanage. He’s a sheriff’s deputy who feels responsible for his widowed mother and young siblings. Despite their obvious and immediate attraction for each other, Livy’s past is just one of the obstacles that stand between a happily ever after for her and Jake Russell.
When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-Fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.
Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.
First of all, I have some major cover love going on here. It’s simple but I think it’s beautiful in its simplicity. That really has nothing to do with the story, but I have wanted to read it ever since I first saw the cover lol. Something else that has nothing to do with the story (just consider this paragraph a bonus) – the acknowledgements pages at the end of the book. I know, I know. The acknowledgements pages?? But yes. (I told you in my “About” page here on the blog that I read everything lol.) Pam Hillman’s words of gratitude and friendship here convey such a gracious and gentle spirit that you just can’t help but be drawn to her book as well.
Speaking of her book (did you like my segue?), the only other thing I’ve read by Pam Hillman was a novella in one of Barbour Publishing’s collections. Her contribution was one of my faves of the bunch so I went into Stealing Jake with high hopes. She did not disappoint. Fun, likable characters. Great writing voice. Emotionally compelling plot. Lots of great kissing 🙂 I didn’t put it down once I started reading, my attention riveted in place until I knew how everything was going to turn out. To me, those are the best sorts of books!
As the two main characters, Livy and Jake played off each other nicely – in words, friendship, and even bits of teasing humor. Their initial meeting was the stuff of romantic comedies and each subsequent encounter just made me fall in love with both of them even more. The gaggle of kids tore my heart in two several times over and makes Stealing Jake more than just another western romance; it gives the story history and emotion and purpose beyond the breathless will-they or won’t-they (though that was quite delicious!). The basic theme of trust – in God and in others – is one that all of us need to hear, even if we haven’t walked in Livy’s or Luke’s bedraggled shoes.
Bottom Line: Pam Hillman is one of my new favorite authors to follow. Perfect for fans of western romance, Stealing Jake is a book full of faith, heart, hope and redemption without ever feeling too heavy. You will grin and chuckle and get a few lumps in your throat along the way…and in the end, the meaning of Christmas will wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. If you like books by Melissa Jagears or Mary Connealy, then you need to read Stealing Jake. Trust me, it will steal your heart 🙂
I give Stealing Jake 5 out of 5 stars!
(I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for only my honest review.)
Award-winning author Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. Her debut novel, Stealing Jake, was a finalist in the International Digital Awards and the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards. Claiming Mariah, her second novel, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.