Title: An Awakened Heart
Author: Jody Hedlund
Series: Orphan Train #0.5
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
About the Book:
Trying to heal the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendleton decides to volunteer at Centre Street Chapel. Ministering to one of the most deprived parts of New York City, the chapel aims at making a difference in the lives of the impoverished immigrants flooding the city. After seeing firsthand the hopelessness of the poor women and orphans, Christine is convinced more can be done to help them.
Guy Bedell has been serving at the chapel and pouring his heart out for the people he’s grown to care about. When Christine begins to challenge his methods and offers a new vision for reaching out to the community, can he trust that perhaps God has bigger plans in store for him–plans that may include this feisty socialite?
I broke my law of reading series books in order on this one. I read book #1 not realizing this book existed. (I’ve seen it labeled as both “an Orphan Train novella” and “Orphan Train #0.5). To anyone else as OCD as me when it comes to reading books in order, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything when I read book #1 (With You Always) in the series. If I didn’t see that I owned this one on my Kindle before I started my next book I probably would have never realized it. Having said that though, it was a good story and did add some background to the characters not shared as descriptively in the next book. I would have preferred to read it in order but I still enjoyed it.
In With You Always (Orphan Train #1) Christine Pendleton runs the Seventh Street Mission where she offers Elise Neumann a job and a room for her and her siblings to save them from the streets. It has been laid on her heart to help them as much as she can. This book gives the background to the story, how Christine started the Mission and how the siblings ended up under her roof. So it was good for background, and I liked the story, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary to read in order to not feel lost in the series either.
Age Appropriateness: As with the second book (but #1) in the series, I think this book is geared towards older teen/young adult but if a younger reader who likes history showed interest I think it would be fine. I would recommend viewing the review for With You Always to see if they want to read the series first.