Title: Searching for You
Author: Jody Hedlund
Series: Orphan Train #3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: December 4, 2018
About the Book:
Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.
Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.
Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?
About the Author:
Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
The book fog is real y’all…WOW! I have loved this series right from the very beginning. Jody Hedlund knows how to suck a reader in deep! The heartache, the hope, the faith, the endurance, the ability to rise above from the broken pieces–this is a series that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. As Jody shares a bit in her Author’s Notes at the end of each piece, her research of the orphan trains and the Children’s Aid Society is impeccable. She takes readers on a journey deep into the trenches of what life was like for orphans running the streets of NYC in the mid 1800’s and how the orphan trains changed their lives–for better or worse.
It didn’t take long in the story to see just how low Sophie’s life had ended up. My heart quickly broke for her. Life had taught her that it was easier to expect the worst in life so that she wouldn’t be disappointed in hoping for better. She had come to a point where even the concept of good things happening for her were unfathomable. Despite her love for little Olivia and Nicholas, her heart no longer believed she could be loved herself. She felt like she was a throw-away. This story didn’t give her a quick and easy happy ending–it slowly provided opportunities for her heart to mend and grow. As a reader your emotions will rise and fall with each bump in the road she hits as well. Sophie is one character you won’t soon forget.
Another character I quickly grew to love was Euphemia. Have you ever happened to run into just the right person to give you just the right wisdom and encouragement at a needed time in your life? This was Euphemia for Sophie. She loved Sophie when she felt unlovable. She spoke truth into her life where Satan had torn her down. She provided her with means to give her a jump start in life instead of complaining over her own losses. She shared her own story to inspire Sophie to hope for more. She was truly a remarkable woman.
A piece that was interesting to me in the story was the fact that Sophie and her friend Anna lied about their ages in order to be able to join the orphan train with Olivia and Nicholas. It wouldn’t happen in today’s world with all of the different forms of identity we carry, but it made me wonder how often things like that would occur. I myself am in my early thirties, but every now and then I still hear people ask if I’m still a teenager. I was 24 (yes, 24!) the last time I was asked if I wanted a kid’s menu. As a young adult I was constantly met with people wondering “who I belonged to.” Would young adults struggling to survive in the city pose as younger children to board the trains and hope for a better life? This thought honestly has me curious.
Although I love Reinhold’s character, I have to admit this book felt a bit like “third time’s the charm” for him. I love his character and his relationship with Sophie, but I wish there wasn’t complicated history with her sisters. I loved that he was able to understand her better because of their childhood history together, and in a way he wrestled with the same feelings of inadequacy as Sophie did. Together they really were perfect for each other. I just wish he wasn’t someone desired for her sisters in the other books.
This was truly an incredible series. I feel as if I’m in mourning over the fact that it has come to an end. I would highly recommend this series to historical fiction fans. Each of the books should be read in order as they are all connected and I wouldn’t consider them stand-alones. I highly suggest you take the time to read them– you won’t be disappointed!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
I feel that this book had a bit more sensual content compared to the others in the series. Any love scenes end with either a disruption or a closed door, but there is still some descriptive “desirous” content leading up to those moments. There is some violence in differing degrees throughout. There is an attack on a young lady but she flees before it is able to go where intended. My recommendation for this book would be 15 and up.