Eagle Harbor, Michigan
In a Town Mired in Darkness,
She May Shine the Light They Need
Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had expected a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, allows her to stay… with a gleam in his eye that suggests there might be conditions to his apparent show of goodwill.
Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she realizes that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.
Jody Hedlund is one of those authors who is just consistently GOOD. I know whenever I pick up one of her books that I will be swept away by the writing, the history, the characters, the romance (blissful sigh!!), and the message of faith. Every single time. Including her latest release, Undaunted Hope.
Up until I began Undaunted Hope, my favorite romantic hero of Jody’s has been Carl from A Noble Groom (more on him later). But now … I don’t know, y’all… Alex is giving him some serious competition. I cannot resist an incorrigible flirt, especially one who is so great with kids. In fact, even before all the flirtatious goodness started, I knew Alex had a solid chance of toppling Carl from his first place ranking. Right from chapter one, as a matter of fact, when my romantic heart swooned over something as simple as Alex acting like he was merely fishing when in fact he was aware of everything going on with Tessa in the background. Yeah, I know – it doesn’t take much lol.
Tessa was – in a word – all kinds of awesome. Ok, so that was four words but one general idea. She’s fierce when she needs to be, tender in the meantime, and as Jamie over at BooksandBeverages said, “she’s been keeping things sassy since 1871, so she’s what we call… MY PEOPLE.” Yes. Tessa’s sass + Alex’s Alex-ness = romance reader heaven. But then there was Michael and his kids … and oh my heart. I almost had to put the book in the freezer at one point. And then at other times, I almost had to put myself there. 😉
Besides the characters, one of the things I adore most about Jody Hedlund’s books is her mastery of the setting. In a matter of words, she immerses her readers in the world of her story – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the sensations. In the case of Undaunted Hope, I almost had to go grab another blanket to battle the harsh Michigan winter. (I adore winter and cold and snow… but I think that would have been a bit much even for me!) Tessa’s living conditions were a whole handful of #nope as far as I was concerned, and I admit to shivering a time or two at Jody’s vivid descriptions.
But perhaps the thing I loved most about Undaunted Hope was the theme that swirled through Tessa’s story: Whatever your past mistakes, who you are now is all that matters. Whatever your past fears, what you do now is all that matters. Perhaps you, like me, needed to hear that today too.
Bottom Line: Jody Hedlund has once again crafted a beautiful story of love and hope set against an exquisitely-researched backdrop of history. Nearly all of your emotions will be engaged while you read Undaunted Hope, and you may even need to invest in a good fainting couch to survive some of the kissing scenes! (What a way to go!) It’s sassy. It’s sweet. It’s swoon-worthy. It needs to be in your collection.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / LOVED it!
KissingBook Level: 4 / Access to a good fan or fainting couch while reading would not be remiss.
Remember how, in my review, I said I’d come back to A Noble Groom? Well… stay tuned on February 9th for a very special Top Ten Tuesday post.
KissingBooks 101 (Lesson Two)
I’m thrilled to be able to offer a HUGE bundle giveaway that day, covering all the authors that I’m featuring on the Lesson Two post! You do not want to miss your chance to win this ELEVEN BOOK giveaway!!!
About the Author:
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both adults and teens.
As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she’s not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.
She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.
Connect with Jody Hedlund online: