Hello everyone! Today I have a review from a special guest! My dear sister-in-law. You saw her in the wedding dress in a post last week. She is gorgeous inside and out and I hope you enjoy her take on this book! If you would like to read my review, you can find it on the Bookworm Banquet.
Together Forever by Jody Hedlund
When my sister-in-law asked me to read a book for her as a favor, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I was happy to help and let’s face it, Victoria has great taste in books!
This story follows the tale of Marianne and Drew as they corral 31 young children (yes, you read that right!) onto a train in New York city with the destination of Illinois. The purpose of the trip is to place the children with families. While dealing with the Marianne and Drew’s past hurts and struggles the author also weaves in their current struggles, from entertaining children for hours on end in a train car to the heartache of placing children into new families, while also weaving in a growing love between Drew and Marianne. Wow, is there ever a lot going on in the book.
I enjoyed the storyline of Together Forever. I really enjoyed the premise of placing orphans with families in the West. Orphan trains have always sparked my curiosity. While I was reading through this story, I wondered what happened to some of the kids who were actually a part of this history. As much as I would love to think all were placed in loving homes, I have to remind myself of the reality that some were not. But anyway, I just took you down a bunny trail. Back to the story.
The first line really grabbed me and I was instantly hooked. I love a good mystery and since I didn’t read the first book I really had no idea who the recurring characters were. My aunt once told me if the first sentence of a story hooks you and draws you in, then it is a well written story. Meeting Marianne as she is searching through records intrigued me. Who’s records? Why is she searching? Who is she searching for? I had to know more.
Though I liked the premise, the characters felt a bit over the top to me. While I liked how Drew and Marianne interacted with the children, the further along I read, the more I began to skim their interactions with each other. While it started off innocent enough they soon couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Wait! Before your mind jumps to the worst let me clarify. They do some passionate kissing. And it is described in detail how it affects them emotionally. As the details didn’t really add to the story I think the level of description could have been less and still conveyed the point.
I would personally consider this a soft Christian book. What I mean by that is, it has some Christian aspects, but the levels of passion presented throughout it makes it leans more towards the romance genre. For the Christian aspect it has elements of forgiveness and mercy. Drew prays often. Marianne finds joy again.
All in all it is a pretty good read, but if you are trying to avoid more passion than is in other Christian books, then I would suggest you avoid this book. I would give this book 3.5/4 out of 5 stars as the passion could have been toned down a bit.
Victoria’s Content Advisory: *Mentions of having thoughts of the marriage act, sharing a bed etc were somewhat numerous throughout. As well as a heavy emphasis on physical attraction and admiring each other’s physique. A murder took place, a murder trial, descriptions of a fist fight that nearly ended in death, other wounds, a near drowning and other smaller and less described tragedies occur throughout.*
By God’s Grace,