Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Love Unexpected - A Review

Published - December 2014, Bethany House Publishers
Series - Beacons of Hope Book 1
Author - Jody Hedlund
Title - Love Unexpected
Format - ebook, paper
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Emma Chambers longs for a home. But when her steamboat sinks off the coast of Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no where to go. Her brother takes a job working with the fishermen, but Emma can't stay with him. And the family who runs the general store won't let her remain with them. When widower Patrick Garrarty, the lighthouse keeper, arrives for his wife's funeral, an unlikely solution to both of their problems presents itself. He needs someone to care for his young son while he mans the light. Emma needs a home and a place to stay. A marriage of convenience is quickly proposed and executed by a traveling preacher, and Emma finds herself on her way to her new home with an energetic toddler and his handsome, though quiet father. Emma soon learns that Patrick is keeping something from her. Will Patrick's secret cost them both a chance at happiness?

I was asked the other day which Jody Hedlund book is the most appealing. My answer was cover-wise A Noble Groom, because after all the cover model is dreamy. But then I added that story-wise, it was a toss up between A Noble Groom and this one, Love Unexpected. Why do I find this book the most appealing of Jody's books? And why did I make a comment on Goodreads that this may be my favorite one of Jody's so far? That's what I'll try to answer in my review.

True to form, this novel is rich in historical detail and based on the life of a real Michigan lighthouse keeper. That is one element I've come to expect and look forward to in Jody's books. I know that I've enjoyed the novels she bases on the life of someone way more than the ones she doesn't. I've read, and own, all of Jody's books. I think that there were maybe two that I didn't care for as much as the others.

But why does this book stand out to me? I think it's because Patrick is not a perfect man. He's flawed. He's suffered. He has a past. He is real. And there is so much depth to him too. And Emma also shows that she's deep. She makes mistakes and regrets them. She's willing to forgive. But she is real as well. The author has written both Emma's and Patrick's struggles really well and made my heart ache for them.

I think another reason this one may be my favorite of Jody's is that it is the first in a series. I ADORE series because I don't necessarily have to say goodbye to characters I've grown to love. I know that the next book in the series will be about Ryan, Emma's brother.

I was very surprised by how quickly I was engrossed in the book. I got it in one day, started reading it, and soon was halfway finished with the book. Of course I had to put it down to finish up a couple of other books I was reviewing, but when I picked it up again a few days later, I was lost. Not lost in the sense that I didn't know where I'd left off, but lost in the sense that I was pulled into Emma's world. Time would fly by and before I knew it, it would be very late. At that point, I knew I couldn't bring the book to work to read on lunch breaks as I was so engrossed that I'd probably forget to end my lunch break. This is definitely one I'd savor.

I received this book for free from the author to help with the promotion of the book. It actually released yesterday, December 2, 2014. My thoughts and opinions are my own. In fact as part of my agreement to help promote the book, I will be purchasing a copy to give as a Christmas present to one of my family members. One that I know has never read one of Jody's books (Sorry Mom. You can borrow my copy!).

Recommended to fans of Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund, Laura Frantz, Julie Lessman, historical fiction, historical romance.

Rating - 5 stars

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