Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Posted May 24, 2018 by meezcarrie in Christian, giveaway, historical, Jody Hedlund, romance / 30 Comments

about the book

SERIES: Orphan Train #2
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Romance
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2018
PAGES: 384

Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she’ll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

goodreads button RIMSP

 Other Books In This Series

“But don’t you think sometimes it takes even greater courage to accept our losses? And not just accept them, but move on and continue to live?”

Anytime I pick up a book by Jody Hedlund I know three things for certain:

  • I will learn something new about history.
  • My heart will be deeply touched.
  • I will swoon.

Together Forever met all of the above expectations – and exceeded them. I love that the author does a lot of her research from actual first person historical accounts (letters, diaries, reports, etc.) – it adds an even more personal touch to the characters and allows them to vividly come to life on the pages. Marianne Neumann is just such a character to benefit from the author’s research. I’ve been drawn to her since With You Always and continued to see why as I read her story in Hedlund’s latest book. She is relatably flawed yet her heart is soft and she strives to rise above her past mistakes. At first, her tenderness seems like it might be a detriment as she actively works to place orphans in homes along the train route. These children have captured her heart – how can she possibly let them go to an unknown future? Yet, Hedlund ultimately uses Marianne’s loving spirit as an asset, and it’s this journey that makes the story so poignant.

Hand-in-hand with that journey are the orphans – some precocious, some timid, some brash and arrogant – all afraid in varying degrees of rejection, harm, and abandonment. Prepare for your own heart to be tugged to several children in particular, and know that you will not walk away unchanged after meeting them.

And of course, there’s romance! The chemistry between Marianne and Drew is electric and their kisses are sizzling enough to melt the coldest ice. Read this from the safety of your fainting couch (or properly cushioned floor) and keep a half dozen fans and a sturdy freezer close by as well. The intensity of their attraction adds to the tension that crackles through the last half of the book, and some degree of uncertainty to their fate will keep you frantically turning the pages.

Bottom Line: Together Forever is another incredibly moving and swoonilicious story from Jody Hedlund. With endearing characters that take up residence in your heart and a range of emotions to be experienced as you read, this is a book you won’t want to put down once you’ve begun. A sweet message of courage, love, and God’s steady presence adds to the touching story, giving it meaning as well as entertaining. A must read for historical fiction fans!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / Fabulous!

KissingBook Level: 5 / Keep that freezer handy!

amazon button RIMSP B&N button RIMSP

about the author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Other Books by Jody Hedlund

Jody’s Amazon Page

30,000 Abandoned Children

By Jody Hedlund

Imagine a city where 30,000 abandoned and homeless children live on the streets.

Sounds like something from a futuristic dystopian novel, doesn’t it? Or something that might happen after a war or apocalypse or major disaster, right?

This exact thing actually happened in the 1850’s. And the city was New York City.

It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 30,000 homeless children roamed the dirty city streets and alleys of New York City.

30,000. Children. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s the size of a town.

Historians look back on that time and try to make sense what led to such horrific conditions for children. Of course, the influx of immigrants was at an all time high. Jobs and housing were scarce. Diseases were rampant. Hunger and poverty became a norm. (Orphan Train Depot)

As more and more people became aware of the enormous problem within the crowded slums, courageous heroes rose up and attempted to do their part to make a difference.

While we may not always agree with the methods that were used to save the thousands of homeless children, we can admire the men and women who could no longer sit idly by.

The Children’s Aid Society was started by Charles Loring Brace as one such attempt to help the hordes of homeless children. His “Emigration Plan” is better known today by the term “Orphan Trains.”

My latest series tackles various elements of the orphan train movement. Together Forever, releasing in May, highlights the placing agents, those devoted people who rode the trains with the orphans. The agents spent weeks and months on the road caring for the children, all the while trying to place them in loving homes.

(If you’d like to try out the series, start with my FREE novella, An Awakened Heart.)

Like the brave men and women who came before us, may we always strive to do our part to make a difference!

To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter:

[promosimple id=”cee5″]

This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!

What about you? What interests you most about this book?



Tags: , ,

30 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “Together Forever” by Jody Hedlund. Absolutely adore this cover!

    Jody’s comments on the 30,000 abandoned children is heart wrenching. We have to learn from the past and do better in the future.

    I’d love the opportunity to read this book.

  2. James Robert

    Congrats on the tour and I appreciate the book description, review and the great giveaway as well. Love the tours, I get to find books and share with my sisters and now my twin daughters who all love to read. We have found some amazing books for everyone. So, thank you!

  3. Cyndi

    I, too, love how well researched Jody’s books are! I know that I’ll learn something when I read her books! The Orphan Trains are an interesting but heartbreaking time in history. 30,000 homeless children?! Wow!
    Great review! Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Karen

    Such a sad situation! I love that Jody can write such beautiful stories about a complex chapter in our nation’s history. She’s so good at showing both the tragedy and the beauty in it!

  5. Tracy Sylvester

    I love reading orphan series, such touching and at times heartbreaking stories.

  6. Connie Scruggs

    The main reason I’m interested is because it was written by Jody Hedlund. That’s really enough reason for me. I’m also interested because I have not read anything set in this time period.

  7. Patsy Curry

    Jody Hedlund is one of my go-to authors. I have read all of her books except for the YA series. I am looking forward to reading this new book!

  8. Winnie Thomas

    Awesome review, Carrie! I loved this book. I’m so into this series. Jody is an amazing author, and I agree with your thoughts about her books.

  9. Vivian Furbay

    I enjoy historical fiction and this book cover a topic i would like to read about.

  10. Amy

    It’s overwhelming and heartbreaking to think of that many homeless children. How frightening it must have been for them to leave all they knew as familiar and travel across country to a new land, new home and new parents. My heart wants to believe they all found ‘happily ever afters’, but my mind is too logical to know that was true. Still it’s interesting to read about the events of this time period.

    I just finished “A Loyal Heart” by Mrs. Hedlund and it was excellent, so I have no doubt this book will not disappoint.

  11. Dianne Casey

    I really enjoyed the description of the book. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading the book.

  12. Julie Waldron

    This sounds like a really good book. It’s sad that so many children left to fend for themselves.

  13. Hi Carrie! Thank you for such a lovely review! I enjoyed hearing the three things you expect from one of my books! Love the swooning part! 🙂

  14. Patty

    It’s been quite a while since I read one of Jody’s books… I did enjoy the novella intro to this series!

  15. nancy

    That had to have been a hard job, being a placing agent. Although, some were most likely hardened by having to deal with such sadness over and over, I’m sure most were there to help the children find good homes. I know that wasn’t always the case, either, but the Orphan trains were a compassionate idea. Thank you for this giveaway, this is an interesting and much-needed topic to write about.

  16. Mallori

    I read “An Awakened Heart” just a few days ago and really enjoyed it (as I have all of Jody’s books that I have read). I can’t wait to continue with the series and see what happens with the Neumann sisters.

Leave a Reply