Elise Neumann and her sisters, along with their young charges, have taken refuge in the Seventh Street Mission run by the kindly and industrious Miss Pendleton. Elise and her sister Marianne sew in the sewing shop, but as the factories are laying off workers, the mission too must lay off workers. Elise is the eldest, so she gets a job with the Children’s Aid Society along the Illinois railway line that sends her miles away from her family with little hope of making a living.
Elise is a hard working young woman, who isn't afraid to stand up for herself. I love her unconditional love for her sisters, and that way that she challenges Thornton to be a better man, and give him encouragement and confidence. She brings out the best in Thornton. She is kind and compassionate, even to those who don't always treat her well.
Thornton is a good man, he has more confidence than he thinks and even though life hasn't been perfect, he's had it relatively easy despite being in is brother shadow. Elise know how to encourage him and challenges him to think about things in a different way. He is drawn to her like a magnet, and they just "click" in a way he never has with anyone else.
Reinhold is a wholesome young man, sturdy and strong, he is a gentleman to the core of his being. I love is honesty and selfless love wanting the best of others. I hope he finds happiness someday! I think he was one of my favorite characters in this book.
This book had my favorite characters by Jody Hedlund ever. Elise is a sensible heroine, compassionate, and vulnerable. While Thornton has a healthy ambition to prove himself to his father, when he is with Elise he sees himself as the man that he wants to be. I also really loved the townspeople like that Grays, Fanny, and Reinhold.
Well written and fast-paced it makes for a hard book to put down, and I instantly liked the characters and could help but cheer for them all the way through. The ending came together well, with surprise twists of suspense for a thrilling climax. I liked how this book showed a different side of the Orphan Train and Children's Aid Society, it was well researched and I loved every minute of it. I'm excited to read about Elise's sisters as they make their own way in the world in the coming installments of the series. Highly recommend!
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