A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships, #1)
After facing desperate heartache and loss, Mercy agrees to escape a bleak future in London and join a bride ship. Wealthy and titled, Joseph leaves home and takes to the sea as the ships surgeon to escape the pain of losing his family. He has no intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, they must fight against a forbidden love.

A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships, #1) Details

TitleA Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherBethany House Publishers
ISBN-139780764234149
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance, Fiction, Christian, Christian Historical Fiction

A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships, #1) Review

  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    Why do I love historical fiction? This book is a prime example of why!After reading the book and about the author's research which sounds like she had a blast researching it by the way I realized this is based on a true event.I LOVE books based historically on true events.A Bride Ship! Doesn't that sound so romantic? Now I've read plenty of books about mail-order brides but none about Bride Ships, cue dreamy sigh! I love the main character's name as well, Mercy. Mercy truly is an angel of mercy. Why do I love historical fiction? This book is a prime example of why!After reading the book and about the author's research which sounds like she had a blast researching it by the way I realized this is based on a true event.I LOVE books based historically on true events.A Bride Ship! Doesn't that sound so romantic? Now I've read plenty of books about mail-order brides but none about Bride Ships, cue dreamy sigh! I love the main character's name as well, Mercy. Mercy truly is an angel of mercy.She administers to sick infants and children in the slums of London. Living among the poorest of the poor in London where disease and filth are prevalent she jumps at the chance of a better life by joining a bride ship except she doesn't know it's a bride ship. She thinks the ship that's bound for British Columbia is taking the women there for a better life of employment as nannies and housekeepers. Meeting Joseph Colville for the second time on the ship the Tynemouth, this angel of mercy brings a sick child to the doctor again and he sees her for the compassionate woman she is. Though he is not looking for romance just in caring for the ships passengers as their surgeon he and Mercy must fight against their romantic feelings for each other.With the woman being so strictly chaperoned will a chance at true love pass them by?I highly recommend this book!Pub Date 04 Jun 2019 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    A new Jody Hedlund book is always something that I meet with great anticipation. When it’s the opener of a new series, even better! A Reluctant Bride is a lovely start to her Bride Ships series. I love that Hedlund tackles another intriguing historical event, this time women being a part of a bride ship to be sent to marry complete strangers. This is something I have vaguely heard about before but have never read any fiction concerning this happening.Our main character Mercy is a desperate woman A new Jody Hedlund book is always something that I meet with great anticipation. When it’s the opener of a new series, even better! A Reluctant Bride is a lovely start to her Bride Ships series. I love that Hedlund tackles another intriguing historical event, this time women being a part of a bride ship to be sent to marry complete strangers. This is something I have vaguely heard about before but have never read any fiction concerning this happening.Our main character Mercy is a desperate woman. Given the option of the workhouse, living on the streets, or perhaps an even worse fate, Mercy decides to forgo them all and agrees to sail on one of the bride ships. Bound for a colony and potential marriage to men they have never met, Mercy and the other women are kept under strict separation by their chaperones. Mercy, however, has a gift for tending to those who are ill, and becomes a great help to the ship’s doctor. This doctor, Joseph Colville, happens to be an aristocrat, and the stark contrasts between their stations in life is one of the fascinating elements of this story. From living conditions in London to sailing conditions on the ship, Hedlund shows the contrast between the sheer desperation of the poor and the ease of the rich.While this novel is classified as a historical romance, the plot doesn’t suffer any from that distinction. Plenty of plot points held my attention, and I also enjoyed Mercy and Joseph trying to work through their obvious differences in stations of life. The romance is easy to root for, of course, and readers looking for some sigh-worthy moments will not be disappointed. I’m hopeful that some of the secondary character from this story will be back with a story of their own in coming books.A Reluctant Bride is the perfect summer read to sink into with its fascinating history, endearing characters, and tender romance. I am eager to see where Hedlund takes the series next!I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.
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  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    Great start to a new series!In A Reluctant Bride, Hedlund focuses on what life was like in London and how that influenced young women to leave their homeland and family to marry a stranger in a foreign country. Mercy and Joseph both have servant hearts. His upper echelon standing in society naturally puts a separation between them.I enjoyed being aboard the Tynemouth with Mercy and Joseph and living through a part of history I knew nothing about. The author's note at the end shares what was fact Great start to a new series!In A Reluctant Bride, Hedlund focuses on what life was like in London and how that influenced young women to leave their homeland and family to marry a stranger in a foreign country. Mercy and Joseph both have servant hearts. His upper echelon standing in society naturally puts a separation between them.I enjoyed being aboard the Tynemouth with Mercy and Joseph and living through a part of history I knew nothing about. The author's note at the end shares what was fact and what was fiction in the novel.I look forward to the other novels in the series. I'm hoping for a focus on a specific character. Time will tell!My gratitude to publisher Bethany House for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    So much love for this incredible book, the start of the ‘Bride Ships’ series by Jody Hedlund. Let’s just start by saying, yet again, she seems to be able to root out a piece of little known history and create something amazing out of it. I’d never heard of the Bride Ships, and it fascinates me. The journey alone takes a 1/3 of a year. Such an epic voyage to take to get from England to Vancouver Island. What’s more telling is the desperation of so many to leave all you’ve ever known to start fres So much love for this incredible book, the start of the ‘Bride Ships’ series by Jody Hedlund. Let’s just start by saying, yet again, she seems to be able to root out a piece of little known history and create something amazing out of it. I’d never heard of the Bride Ships, and it fascinates me. The journey alone takes a 1/3 of a year. Such an epic voyage to take to get from England to Vancouver Island. What’s more telling is the desperation of so many to leave all you’ve ever known to start fresh - knowing that marriage to a complete stranger awaited you at the end. I literally lost sleep over this book. It was so hard to put down. The characters were so expertly written, they felt real inside my head. You will live & breathe every experience with them. Both Joseph & Mercy are complex and their situation - one of the biggest taboo’s of the cultural day. Joseph being from the highest of aristocracy, and Mercy from the lowest rung of the dirt poor ladder. How could their lives even cross? Yet, they do, and this story is beautiful, intense & tender. You will find yourself fighting for them with every obstacle and challenge they face. Of course each is strong enough to live life alone, but together they make a powerful force to be reckoned with. Can not wait, for what comes next. Thanks to Bethany House for the complimentary copy. This is my honest review.
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  • Abbi
    January 1, 1970
    Jody Hedlund's books are always fascinating to me! I love the way she takes a bit of history that is often overlooked or not even known about and creates a beautiful love story around it! This book, and the ensuing series, give us a peek into the lives of women who found themselves on one of the "bride ships" headed to the other side of the world.Mercy and Joseph were both great characters! Though they came from completely different stations in life they both had a heart to help others in need. Jody Hedlund's books are always fascinating to me! I love the way she takes a bit of history that is often overlooked or not even known about and creates a beautiful love story around it! This book, and the ensuing series, give us a peek into the lives of women who found themselves on one of the "bride ships" headed to the other side of the world.Mercy and Joseph were both great characters! Though they came from completely different stations in life they both had a heart to help others in need. I loved how even though Joseph was an aristocrat he never hesitated to help those who society deemed beneath him, regardless of what his peers thought. And Mercy had a servant's heart willing to literally give the clothes off her back if it meant someone else was taken care of. They had some obstacles to work through in their relationship but their romance was sweet. This book didn't have a lot of surprising twists and turns or any huge dramatic moments but I honestly really enjoyed that fact. It was at it's core just a beautiful romance set during a unique part of history. Definitely another win from an amazing author!I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Mercy Wilkins lives in one of the poorest sections of London. She's grown up assisting with the care of her siblings and neighboring children, and has often seen sickness and disease carry them away. Work of any decent kind is hard to find in 1862, much less if you are a young woman, but Mercy is determined to make a way for herself and to continue to help others. After seeing the struggles that come with marriage and motherhood, she promises herself she'll do everything she can to avoid both.At Mercy Wilkins lives in one of the poorest sections of London. She's grown up assisting with the care of her siblings and neighboring children, and has often seen sickness and disease carry them away. Work of any decent kind is hard to find in 1862, much less if you are a young woman, but Mercy is determined to make a way for herself and to continue to help others. After seeing the struggles that come with marriage and motherhood, she promises herself she'll do everything she can to avoid both.At the urging of her sister Patience, Mercy agrees to travel to British Columbia under the care of the Columbia Mission Society. They are promising a new life in a new land desperate for female workers -- and brides. It isn't until Mercy is on board that she realizes the full extent of the mission's expectations.Dr. Joseph Colville has all but renounced his title and wealthy estate in order to serve the lower classes and travel the world as a ship's doctor. As a younger son, he was never supposed to inherit the responsibility of a lord. Though loving friends and family members question whether Joseph is a modern-day Jonah running from God, he insists he'll know when he's found the time and place to settle down.The trip on board the Tynemouth is full of dangerous situations. There are storms, emergencies, and even a mutiny! It was interesting to read in the Author's Note how many of the situations came straight from the real life history of this bride ship. I'd never heard of bride ships before, and it was somewhat horrifying to think of these women coming on board with only the clothes on their back, yet full of hope for the future. How bleak their lives must have been!There was once scene that left me shaking my head. A storm with hurricane intensity holds the ship in its grip, and Mercy fears she will die. When she confesses to Joseph that she doesn't know if she'll go to Heaven, he says, "If we are to perish this night, you most assuredly do not have anything to fear in standing before your Maker. You are the closest to an angel I think I shall ever meet on this side of heaven." That's a nice compliment, I suppose, but it doesn't meet Mercy in her eternal need. Mercy needed to know about Jesus' personal love, care, and sacrifice on her behalf. I find it sad that in a novel about Mercy wanting to live free from her past, true spiritual freedom was not a greater part of the story.*As one can expect with any Jody Hedlund novel, there is plenty of romance. The story moves at a good pace and I was not entirely sure how it was going to end until I reached the final pages. I would recommend this for readers ages 16 and up.I received my copy of the book from the author. All opinions in this review are my own.This review originated at http://reviewsbyerin.dreamwidth.org*If you have any questions about the freedom and salvation that can be found in Jesus, please do not hesitate to contact me!
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    This was a thoroughly eye opening experience on a time and event in history I had no idea existed! The characters are incredibly well done, and I so enjoyed getting to know Mercy most of all. The plot was a fascinating one, and it’s rather amazing how much truth the author used in putting it together. I had such a hard time putting this book down. The view the readers get is from those in the steerage to those of wealth...and the drastic difference between the two. I felt the embarrassment of th This was a thoroughly eye opening experience on a time and event in history I had no idea existed! The characters are incredibly well done, and I so enjoyed getting to know Mercy most of all. The plot was a fascinating one, and it’s rather amazing how much truth the author used in putting it together. I had such a hard time putting this book down. The view the readers get is from those in the steerage to those of wealth...and the drastic difference between the two. I felt the embarrassment of the women as they were put through such difficult events. These kinds of reads always make me wonder what I would have done in the characters shoes. So many women put in almost unbelievable conditions, left to decide if they want to sail away and marry a man they have never met or take a chance on dying in a workhouse or on the streets.This story is incredibly crafted to have the readers in empathy with the characters, yet wonder if they would ever give themselves over to such a scheme. It helps to open the readers eyes to the plight of some, and to be so very thankful that I myself never had to make such a decision.With realistic characters, a compelling story, and a plot based on true events it’s an experience not to be missed!I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    A Reluctant Bride was a beautiful novel and a wonderful start to a new series. The author wrote a story that truly captured the main character’s despiration. She felt that she had no choice but to join the women on this voyage and try to escape the horrid circumstances and living conditions of the slums of London.The main characters, Dr. Joseph Colville and Mercy Wilkins, came from very different upbringings and stations in life. They were continually drawn to each other throughout the novel and A Reluctant Bride was a beautiful novel and a wonderful start to a new series. The author wrote a story that truly captured the main character’s despiration. She felt that she had no choice but to join the women on this voyage and try to escape the horrid circumstances and living conditions of the slums of London.The main characters, Dr. Joseph Colville and Mercy Wilkins, came from very different upbringings and stations in life. They were continually drawn to each other throughout the novel and both resisted the idea of a possible relationship based on what was expected of them. I really appreciated the way Joseph and Mercy began to understand the idea that their placement in certain social classes was not something that came from God, but rather that God valued all people as equals.I loved the romance in this story, as well as the vivid detail of the long sea voyage, which was full of danger.I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.You can read this review on my blog:https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...
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  • Kailey
    January 1, 1970
    Jody Hedlund has done it again! This is another 5 star, must read historical novel! Somehow she gets me so wrapped up in the story. I just couldn’t put it down! I loved it! I cared so much about the characters and their circumstances. I just had to know what was going to happen. I can’t wait to read more! I highly recommend this book!I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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  • Abigail Harris
    January 1, 1970
    My Review:Genre: Romance, historical, fiction.My Rating: 4 and 1/2 stars.My Favorite Character/s: Mercy was so different (in a good way, I promise!), her character so strong and kind — never caring for herself, but for others. I don’t really understand where she was coming from and it was nice getting to see why she did what she did.My Verse for Mercy is Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (King James Version.)Jos My Review:Genre: Romance, historical, fiction.My Rating: 4 and 1/2 stars.My Favorite Character/s: Mercy was so different (in a good way, I promise!), her character so strong and kind — never caring for herself, but for others. I don’t really understand where she was coming from and it was nice getting to see why she did what she did.My Verse for Mercy is Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (King James Version.)Joseph was a wonderful character and he was so good for Mercy even if they didn’t know it at first, and I enjoyed reading when he put a curtain . . . Mr. Collins (Pride and Prejudice) like character in his place. 😉My Verse for Joseph is Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (King James Version.)My Thoughts: In the past, I’ve heard of Bride Ships, the idea of them was odd, interesting, and yet slightly romantic and scary . . . I guess?I’ve read Mrs. Hedlund’s books before and enjoyed them, which led me to sign up for the launch team with little hope of getting on since I hadn’t been on any launch teams for the author before . . . But, after a while, I got an email saying I got a place and to expect my ARC paperback in the mail soon. Long story short I got it in the mail a few weeks later and, um, read it within hours. I just couldn’t put it down, the romance was perfect, the characters bond so sweet and loving. In all this is a wonderful novel from Hedlund!I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review and am truly happy to provide it.
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  • Kristine Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite authors of Historical Fiction. She does a fantastic job of researching the setting and subject matter. Her words convey vivid scenes that create pictures in my mind. I could feel Mercy's despair and desperation to find her own way in the world, but fear joining her life or heart to anyone else. I fell in love with Mercy's kindness and found myself cheering her on. Joseph Colville has a title and wealth, but not happiness. He is serving as a ships surgeon while Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite authors of Historical Fiction. She does a fantastic job of researching the setting and subject matter. Her words convey vivid scenes that create pictures in my mind. I could feel Mercy's despair and desperation to find her own way in the world, but fear joining her life or heart to anyone else. I fell in love with Mercy's kindness and found myself cheering her on. Joseph Colville has a title and wealth, but not happiness. He is serving as a ships surgeon while he hides from the life God has planned for him. This was an awesome book and I look forward to the next in this series.So grab some ginger tea to settle your stomach from the ups and downs of life aboard a ship and settle in for a great read.i was given a copy of this book by NetGalley.com with no expectations. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Paula Shreckhise
    January 1, 1970
    A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund is the first in the series Bride Ships. It is set in England and British Columbia in 1862. Mercy Wilkins has a servant’s heart but she is caught in poverty. Chapter 4: “Was death so common a visitor in these parts that people expected it, maybe even welcomed it as the only true savior from the pain? Or had they, like her, closed off their heart to the pain in order to continue on?”She embarks on a ship to the British colonies in order to give her siblings a bett A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund is the first in the series Bride Ships. It is set in England and British Columbia in 1862. Mercy Wilkins has a servant’s heart but she is caught in poverty. Chapter 4: “Was death so common a visitor in these parts that people expected it, maybe even welcomed it as the only true savior from the pain? Or had they, like her, closed off their heart to the pain in order to continue on?”She embarks on a ship to the British colonies in order to give her siblings a better chance to survive in their London slum. “She longed for the chance to finally stand on her own. This trip, this voyage, might be the only possibility she’d ever get to do that.” The only thing she wasn’t told is that she is expected to choose a husband when she arrives. Joseph Colville is a nobleman but is fleeing his responsibility after the death of his family. He has become a doctor and is helping the destitute in the slums. Joseph and Mercy meet on the Tynemouth where Joseph is the ship’s surgeon and Mercy sometimes assists him. This was a very sad story for most of the book. Ms. Hedlund eloquently conveyed the utter squalor of Shoreditch slum of London and the poverty that beset the city in 1862. She vividly portrayed the deep privations of the sea voyage that took many months. Yet hope was in the story too. Mercy and Joseph learned a lot about God, themselves and eachother. They showed their humbleness even in rough times. They also progressed in their faith and trusted in God to show them His leading. A thought provoking, epic historical book, once again proving that Jody Hedlund is a phenomenal writer who is not afraid to tackle a hard subject. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    "Where is a ship when you need one?"Desperate to leave the slums of London behind, hoping to pave the way for her beloved sister to escape the cruel clutches of the work house, Mercy Wilkins boards the Tynemouth, not realizing that the sturdy sailing vessel is travelling half-way around the world to British Columbia, bearing; of all things . . brides! Getting married is the last thing on Mercy's mind; her impression of men leads her to believe that they serve only one purpose, breeding children "Where is a ship when you need one?"Desperate to leave the slums of London behind, hoping to pave the way for her beloved sister to escape the cruel clutches of the work house, Mercy Wilkins boards the Tynemouth, not realizing that the sturdy sailing vessel is travelling half-way around the world to British Columbia, bearing; of all things . . brides! Getting married is the last thing on Mercy's mind; her impression of men leads her to believe that they serve only one purpose, breeding children that no one can afford to feed. Shortly after leaving England, while desperately attempting to care for an ill companion, Mercy comes face to face with a man she scarcely thought important enough to remember, the young doctor from London's Shoreditch Dispensary. They had shared a very sacred moment; death.Joseph Colville, Dr. Joseph Colville, Lord Colville . .. had never settled for tradition; his restless spirit pushing him to travel the world, his medical skills being indispensable on board many a ship. Resisting an invitation by his kind mentor, Dr. Bates, to to remain in London and partner in his efforts to treat the city's poor, Joseph accepts a surgeon's position aboard the Tynemouth. It's there that he crosses paths, for the second time, with the quite lovely, but also quite indigent passenger, Mercy Wilkins.As poverty and nobility collide, Mercy and Joseph must summon the courage to heed a wise ship captain's advice; "do not let the barriers of class interfere with anything. Not work. Not life. And especially not love." If it were only that easy.I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
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  • Susan's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.For those who enjoy historical romance, this tale of a young girl who signs up to sail from London to British Columbia, Canada to become the future bride of a miner will be of interest. It wasn't to my taste, and I found the romance between the ship's surgeon and Mercy to be improbable. Yes, Mercy is a pretty, kind and decent girl, but it was Joseph Colville's character that didn't ring My thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.For those who enjoy historical romance, this tale of a young girl who signs up to sail from London to British Columbia, Canada to become the future bride of a miner will be of interest. It wasn't to my taste, and I found the romance between the ship's surgeon and Mercy to be improbable. Yes, Mercy is a pretty, kind and decent girl, but it was Joseph Colville's character that didn't ring true. In her Acknowledgement, the author reveals that a ship's doctor had in fact married one of the "miners' brides" but in this story, Joseph Colville is a wealthy and titled peer of England, as well as being a doctor. That was stretching it a bit for me. I rate this a 3 out of 5.
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  • MJSH
    January 1, 1970
    “Though her hair was damp and unkempt, face smudged and weary, her garments soggy and splattered with all manner of filth, for a reason he couldn’t explain, she had grown more beautiful and not less.”What an incredible journey! Jody Hedlund is well-known for her beautifully written historical fiction and this beginning of a new series about bride ships will surely delight her fans and garner more followers. The story sets out in Victorian London where squalor, poverty, and hopelessness abound an “Though her hair was damp and unkempt, face smudged and weary, her garments soggy and splattered with all manner of filth, for a reason he couldn’t explain, she had grown more beautiful and not less.”What an incredible journey! Jody Hedlund is well-known for her beautifully written historical fiction and this beginning of a new series about bride ships will surely delight her fans and garner more followers. The story sets out in Victorian London where squalor, poverty, and hopelessness abound and moves across the oceans to Vancouver Island (British Columbia) where untainted beauty and new opportunities await. Truly this story enveloped me completely and had me right there next to Mercy and Joseph as they battled the darkness of London, the trying and emotionally confusing voyage across the different oceans and waterways, and the uncertainty in a new world.Mercy, in her sweetness and goodness, is instantly lovable. Though meek by practice in her world of poverty, she has a fire and persistence that allow her to keep loving those around her and tend to the sick with gentleness and care. She’s been beaten down by the difficulties of life yet still holds on to her desire to help others in their suffering. Joseph is a privileged peer who has chosen to become a physician and finds himself at home serving others. But he’s running away from responsibility because of his deep-seated wound of having lost his family at a young age. Separated by class and so much more, their friendship is unlikely and frowned upon, especially since she’s unwittingly become one of the prospective brides on a bride ship to Vancouver Island and he’s the ship’s surgeon. Yet their like-mindedness in caring for the sick and their shared life experiences bring them together and their relationship unfolds ever so sweetly. This book is a must-read for all fans of historical fiction. I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
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  • Nancee
    January 1, 1970
    A Reluctant Bride is an incredible journey from poverty stricken London, and the impossible living conditions in the slums. Mercy Wilkins finds her way to a bride's ship bound for British Columbia. Conditions on the ship are grim, and Mercy's only saving grace is that the ship's surgeon recognizes her compassion for those who need her. He requests her assistance in nursing the sick aboard ship, and the two share a unique camaraderie which develops into a strong attraction forbidden by Mercy's ch A Reluctant Bride is an incredible journey from poverty stricken London, and the impossible living conditions in the slums. Mercy Wilkins finds her way to a bride's ship bound for British Columbia. Conditions on the ship are grim, and Mercy's only saving grace is that the ship's surgeon recognizes her compassion for those who need her. He requests her assistance in nursing the sick aboard ship, and the two share a unique camaraderie which develops into a strong attraction forbidden by Mercy's chaperones and the doctor's position in life.Filled with danger on the high seas and plagued by seasickness among other serious illnesses suffered aboard the Tynemouth, the sadness and losses that Mercy suffered at home appear to have followed her aboard. Hedlund's cast is strong and well developed. True life situations are heart wrenching, but true strength of character is one of the highlights in those represented in this book.A great deal of research was obviously undertaken in order for true life events to have been portrayed through Mercy's story. This is a fast paced tale of the torments of the time, and yet a blossoming love story creates a charming quality that surpassed my expectations. Don't miss this deeply touching story. I highly recommend it!Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book. All expressed opinions are honest and my own.
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  • Tricia Mingerink
    January 1, 1970
    Another good book by Jody Hedlund. This book focuses a lot on the trials of a long sea voyage, and I found the history in it really fascinating. Both Mercy and Joseph were compelling characters, though it did annoy me that on the audiobook, the narrator gave Mercy a very child-like sounding voice that made her seem younger than she was. Which is doubly strange because it was a narrator I normally enjoy. But that is more a critique of the audiobook than the book. This book has a very sweet, adora Another good book by Jody Hedlund. This book focuses a lot on the trials of a long sea voyage, and I found the history in it really fascinating. Both Mercy and Joseph were compelling characters, though it did annoy me that on the audiobook, the narrator gave Mercy a very child-like sounding voice that made her seem younger than she was. Which is doubly strange because it was a narrator I normally enjoy. But that is more a critique of the audiobook than the book. This book has a very sweet, adorable romance in it, and it is less steamy than some of this author's other books. It has some kissing, but that's where it stops. I also liked that this book took a little extra time in the last couple of chapters to wrap up some loose ends. Sometimes Christian historical fiction books tend to wrap up the romance, then boom, the book ends just like that. So I appreciated that this book took a little extra time and care with the ending.
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  • Romancebooksandmore
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished this book and my heart is still pounding well I wipe a few stray tears from my eyes, so loving so heartbreaking, a story every person who loves a good romance story should read, I can't wait to read the second book in the bride ship series, I am hooked. Mercy Wilkins is going to Vancouver, not that she knows where that is or that she's accidentally gotten on a bride ship, but she really doesn't have a choice, it's either go on the ship or starve in the slums of London. she leaves I just finished this book and my heart is still pounding well I wipe a few stray tears from my eyes, so loving so heartbreaking, a story every person who loves a good romance story should read, I can't wait to read the second book in the bride ship series, I am hooked. Mercy Wilkins is going to Vancouver, not that she knows where that is or that she's accidentally gotten on a bride ship, but she really doesn't have a choice, it's either go on the ship or starve in the slums of London. she leaves everything behind in the hopes of a better life. Joseph Colville is a Baron who is running from his own past, he was a second son he was never supposed to take the title but then he lost all his family in one moment and now he has a title he never and he pushes aside society and leaves England time and again out running it all. Mercy and Joseph have much in common and yet are so diffrent but does class really define love. read and find out.I was sent this book by Bethany house and just read tours, everything in here are my own thoughts.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    A Reluctant Bride is a sweet love story in a unique setting. The whole premise of a bride ship is fascinating and I love the voyage Mercy and Joseph take during this book, both physically and spiritually! Jody Hedlund does a wonderful job creating characters you come to care for and her writing style flows effortlessly. I definitely recommend this book to reads of historical romance! I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but the opinions shared are completely my own and without bias.
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  • Jody Pulcheon
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished reading "A Reluctant Bride" by Jody Hedlund and it was really good!! 5⭐! This is the first book in her new series called The Bride Ships. The story is based on true events and I think she did a really great job with it! I can't wait to read the next book in the series. Thank you to @netgalley and @bethanyhousefiction for letting me read this book!
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about this book except another wonderful story written by Jody Hedlund and that I'm never disappointed when I read a new book by her? Right on both accounts!!Jody does wonders with her characters and I enjoy making new friends with them! Too bad they weren't real people and too bad I couldn't pop into the story like Mary Poppins pops into sidewalk chalk paintings. How wonderful that would be!! I think Mercy would be my favorite character. I love her kind and compassionate ways tow What can I say about this book except another wonderful story written by Jody Hedlund and that I'm never disappointed when I read a new book by her? Right on both accounts!!Jody does wonders with her characters and I enjoy making new friends with them! Too bad they weren't real people and too bad I couldn't pop into the story like Mary Poppins pops into sidewalk chalk paintings. How wonderful that would be!! I think Mercy would be my favorite character. I love her kind and compassionate ways towards others and always wanting to lend a helping hand where ever she may be at the time.Now, doesn't Joseph remind you of someone always running away? I thought about this as I read through the book. And as usual I didn't think much about him. I still "liked him" and I enjoyed reading how his character changed like we can if we allow God to do His work in us instead of running in the opposite direction thinking we can do it all on our own.Yes, change is scary but sometimes it can be for the good. I've had to do it even though I had no say so in it as I was only 14 at the time we moved to a new state, school, neighborhood and everything else. As I got older I adapted to it but really there's no place like home. And too home is where the people you love are and with God in your heart you can never be lonely! I think the thing I enjoyed most was the historic part of it as I love history. I always learn something new about a place and I even love the name of the town and sometimes I wonder how the author comes up with the name.I loved going with Mercy and the other women to a new place. And of course I loved the ship they traveled on since I am a ocean liner buff. Ships fascinate me for some reason.There wasn't anything about this story I didn't like. It was all very well writtenI received a complintary copy from Bethany House publishers with no compensation received and all opinions are my own!
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    You know a book is good when you read it late into the night. That's what happened to me while reading A Reluctant Bride. It's a good thing I'm on vacation and didn't need to get up in the morning, as I read until 1:30 a.m. in order to finish it!I love how Jody Hedlund chooses to highlight lesser-known historical events in her novels. A Reluctant Bride is about the bride ship Tynemouth that took women to British Columbia to find work and, hopefully, become brides. I'd never heard of the bride sh You know a book is good when you read it late into the night. That's what happened to me while reading A Reluctant Bride. It's a good thing I'm on vacation and didn't need to get up in the morning, as I read until 1:30 a.m. in order to finish it!I love how Jody Hedlund chooses to highlight lesser-known historical events in her novels. A Reluctant Bride is about the bride ship Tynemouth that took women to British Columbia to find work and, hopefully, become brides. I'd never heard of the bride ships before, but apparently several went from England to British Columbia in the 1860s.Eager to escape a desperate situation in London and at the urging of her sister, Mercy signs up to take the Tynemouth to a new life in British Columbia. What she doesn't realize until she's on board is that the women aren't just going to find jobs—they're going to find husbands. After witnessing her mother's many relationships, Mercy has no desire to ever marry ... but Joseph, the ship's doctor whose station is far above Mercy's own, may just change her mind.I loved every single thing about this novel! The history (fascinating), the romance (swoony), the life lessons (applicable today)—everything was wonderful! I especially loved Mercy's determination to do the right thing, even when it came at a high cost. And I thought Joseph made a great hero—not perfect by any means, but seeking to follow God. And the two of them together? Wonderful.If you're a fan of historical romance, you can't do any better than a Jody Hedlund novel, and this one easily ranks up there with her best.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)
    January 1, 1970
    See full review at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com...I always enjoy getting the opportunity to delve into a Jody Hedlund novel, and this newest story is no exception. Right from the beginning I was pulled headlong into the story and swept blissfully along on a journey that I won’t soon forget!This story is so much more than a journey across the ocean from England to the Canadian Colonies of Vancouver. It is a journey of growth, and a journey of learning how to let go of past hurts.Along t See full review at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com...I always enjoy getting the opportunity to delve into a Jody Hedlund novel, and this newest story is no exception. Right from the beginning I was pulled headlong into the story and swept blissfully along on a journey that I won’t soon forget!This story is so much more than a journey across the ocean from England to the Canadian Colonies of Vancouver. It is a journey of growth, and a journey of learning how to let go of past hurts.Along the way there are storms, but it is more than the physical storms. Yes, there are damaging sea waves and howling winds. But more than that this story is about the emotional storms we face and a gentle reminder that no matter what walk of life we come from, God sees us as equal. No one person is better than another.Mercy Wilkins’s struggled touched my heart. While I have never faced the same hardships she faces, I can identify with her struggle to see herself as God sees her versus how people around her do. It is so easy to accept the labels that others slap on our backs and forget to look up and into the face of our loving heavenly Father.Joseph Colville has been running from the pain of devastation loss ever since he lost his entire family to a cholera outbreak. But when he stands to lose his very heart, will he stand and fight or will he continue to run?I reached the end of the story feeling like I had lived it with the characters. Even the secondary characters, you either love or loathe. I loved every moment I spent reading this story. I look forward to reading more stories in this series. I can’t wait to see who we get to learn more about next. I’m hoping that Miss Lawrence is next. I highly recommend this story to anyone and everyone. Grab yourself a copy today!(I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)
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  • Perrianne
    January 1, 1970
    The squalor of the London slum district is a hopeless place where Mercy Wilkins lives. She is uneducated and there are no jobs to be had. She knows it’s time to move on when her mother threatens to kick out her younger brother after losing her job in the rag sorting factory. One more mouth to feed simply had to go! As her sister Patience has already gone to the workhouse and is failing in health, Mercy sees that she needs to do something drastic.She gets the very last slot on a bride ship sponso The squalor of the London slum district is a hopeless place where Mercy Wilkins lives. She is uneducated and there are no jobs to be had. She knows it’s time to move on when her mother threatens to kick out her younger brother after losing her job in the rag sorting factory. One more mouth to feed simply had to go! As her sister Patience has already gone to the workhouse and is failing in health, Mercy sees that she needs to do something drastic.She gets the very last slot on a bride ship sponsored by the Columbia Mission Society. Now, she has already met the Handsome Lord Joseph Colville, a physician, while at the local medical clinic on a different errand of mercy. Lord Colville has lost his parents and brother in a Cholera epidemic when he was in boarding school. And now Lord Colville is on a bride ship as a physician to Vancouver Island?If you love historical fiction, then this is an excellent choice! Author Jody Hedlund does not disappoint. You will love the kind and gentle character Mercy. You can relate to her plight, as she had nothing to lose. It is amazing how poor these women were that they simply boarded a ship and were sent to a new country to hopefully begin a new life. The London slum district was quite appalling and Ms. Hedlund’s precise detail makes you understand just how horrible it really was. I love the fact that she uses this story to force Mercy to see her inner beauty and to open her eyes as to what God may have her to do. To a woman who has barely gotten by in life, this is very difficult indeed. Physically, she is quite beautiful and has gained the attention of Lord Colville, but what would a Lord see in a lowly woman such as herself?I received an ARC e-book copy of the book from NetGalley and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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  • Becca-Rae Weidel
    January 1, 1970
    Jody Hedlund has officially penned the latest must-read in historical fiction! This is not a book that is merely read, but experienced. The author is able to draw you so deeply into the heart of the characters that it's as if you are standing right amongst them. I was not ready to let them go when there were no pages left to go. I absolutely loved this story, and am already impatiently waiting for the next release in the series!My favorite part of this book was the romance. I am a very picky per Jody Hedlund has officially penned the latest must-read in historical fiction! This is not a book that is merely read, but experienced. The author is able to draw you so deeply into the heart of the characters that it's as if you are standing right amongst them. I was not ready to let them go when there were no pages left to go. I absolutely loved this story, and am already impatiently waiting for the next release in the series!My favorite part of this book was the romance. I am a very picky person when it comes to the romance in novels. I love that the development of the relationship between the characters came primarily from a place of caring for the person and not the phsyical attraction. Joseph and Mercy each saw the other acting in love to the sick and hurting around them, and it was their care and compassionate hearts that initially forged their relationship. Although as time went by their phyiscal chemistry significantly increased, it was never the primary catalyst. I fully prefer a romance that is built on character and developing a love for one another on a deeper level than their physical appearance. Maybe it's because I'm caught in a world where we are constantly bombarded with the idea that our worth is based on our physical appearance, but when I read a book I want to escape that. I want to enter a world where people see the heart before the curves. That's why I fell so deeply into this novel and didn't want to leave when the pages were finished.One of the other pieces of this story that I believe was fleshed out extremely well, was considering how the upbringing of a person affects their life as adults. Wealth and social standing can buy a great deal in life, but it can't purchase happiness. Despite being born into a wealthy family, Joseph lost them when he was a young boy to cholera. It left him afraid to love so he'd never have to say goodbye. Mercy grew up in a poverty stricken family with a mother who was constantly bringing more babies into the world with questionable paternity. Mercy questioned if love even existed. There was a great deal of growth and healing that had to occur in the hearts of the two before they could see how desperate they were for love and connection. Little did they know just how much that connection could heal.I was surprised how much of this journey was based on actual people and events. I always appreciate when an author shares some of the fact or fiction in their notes at the end of one of their works. As connected as I felt to this story as I was reading, I feel even moreso knowing just how steeped in reality it truly was. I am already impatiently waiting for the next book in this series to release so that I can reenter their world. This one has successfully sealed a spot on my favorites list for this year!*I received a copy of this book from the author. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
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  • Phyllis
    January 1, 1970
    Seeking a better lifeWhile I've heard of mail-order brides, I had never heard of bride ships prior to learning about A Reluctant Bride. (Except those that brought women to Australia to marry the convicts there.) So it was fascinating to discover that ships once brought women to Canada from England in response to the pleas of the men who lived there, outnumbering the women exponentially.Mercy's story highlights the deplorable conditions of the poor in London in the mid-nineteenth century. Reading Seeking a better lifeWhile I've heard of mail-order brides, I had never heard of bride ships prior to learning about A Reluctant Bride. (Except those that brought women to Australia to marry the convicts there.) So it was fascinating to discover that ships once brought women to Canada from England in response to the pleas of the men who lived there, outnumbering the women exponentially.Mercy's story highlights the deplorable conditions of the poor in London in the mid-nineteenth century. Reading about the filth, disease, and abject poverty made me cringe, especially the details of the occupation Ash, Mercy's father, had. Eew!!I was very interested in the historical details shared along the way, descriptions of life on board and the conditions of the various strata of passengers, learning about the improved methods of sailing to compensate for the times when the winds were not sufficient to propel the ship, and the glimpse of the Falkland Islands.Class distinctions and feelings of inferiority permeated Mercy and Joseph's lives. She struggled with the intense need to be nothing like her immoral mother and feelings of inadequacy, which were echoed to her even by the minister who chaperoned the brides. Joseph struggled with a heart closed off to love because of the loss he had experienced.Overall, the story was interesting, yet it did drag a little. The backstory of one of the brides was alluded to enough so I want to know more about Miss Lawrence's history and what happens next. I am hoping to read more about her in a future story of The Bride Ships series.Read my full review at at Among the ReadsI was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on the Inkwell Inspirations blog:https://www.inkwellinspirations.com/2...A Reluctant Bride, Jody Hedlund’s first installment in her new Bride Ships series, is a fascinating novel that explores the relatively unknown history of poor British women willingly boarding bride ships to seek a better life in British Columbia in the 1860s. Hedlund takes readers to the poorest slums in London and the horrific conditions those families faced, often with no way out from their situations. R Originally posted on the Inkwell Inspirations blog:https://www.inkwellinspirations.com/2...A Reluctant Bride, Jody Hedlund’s first installment in her new Bride Ships series, is a fascinating novel that explores the relatively unknown history of poor British women willingly boarding bride ships to seek a better life in British Columbia in the 1860s. Hedlund takes readers to the poorest slums in London and the horrific conditions those families faced, often with no way out from their situations. Readers are also introduced to the handsome and wealthy Lord Joseph Colville, Baron of Wiltshire. As the ship’s surgeon, he is responsible for helping the sick from all social stations aboard the ship. When young, beautiful Mercy Wilkins has an opportunity to leave the London slums for a better life in British Columbia, she finds herself on the bride ship and ends up assisting Dr. Colville with numerous sick patients. Mercy, poor and from the slums, and Joseph, wealthy and titled, come from two very different stations in life, but find themselves falling in love despite all odds. Jody Hedlund creates a captivating historical romance that fans of historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy. Readers will become invested in the developing romance between Joseph and Mercy and the inspirational message that is intricately woven into the novel. Hedlund shares the powerful message that God created everyone to be equal and not to accept the labels that others in society often place upon us. God created everyone with a purpose. The secondary characters, such as Miss Lawrence and Mrs. Moresby, provide additional interest to the storyline. Mrs. Moresby (one of the women on the Female Immigration Committee) becomes a beloved character toward the end of the novel as she delivers encouragement and inspiration as Mercy contemplates her life after departing the bride ship. A Reluctant Bride is recommended for readers of inspirational historical fiction, especially those who enjoy books by authors such as Carrie Turansky, Elizabeth Camden, and Rachel Fordham. Readers will eagerly look forward to the second book in the series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine. “Don’t get stuck thinking you don’t matter or you’re not important enough. I know people like us who come from lowly backgrounds, we all too often accept our place at the bottom and think that’s where we belong. But that’s just not true. God didn’t create some people to be better than others. He created everyone to have equal value.”- Mrs. Moresby to Mercy
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    I was not familiar with the concept of bride ships but leave it to Author Jody Hedlund to do her research and find this unique tidbit in history and then write an inspirational story. With Mercy Wilkins’ parents having too many children to feed and clothe due to the abject poverty and hopelessness in London, she finds a way to leave and joins a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, even though she has vowed to never marry or have children. On board the ship is Dr. Joseph Colville, who is wealt I was not familiar with the concept of bride ships but leave it to Author Jody Hedlund to do her research and find this unique tidbit in history and then write an inspirational story. With Mercy Wilkins’ parents having too many children to feed and clothe due to the abject poverty and hopelessness in London, she finds a way to leave and joins a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, even though she has vowed to never marry or have children. On board the ship is Dr. Joseph Colville, who is wealthy and titled. When Mercy assists Dr. Colville during the long, arduous trip, they develop a friendship. Mercy and Joseph are two people from entirely different backgrounds and any kind of romance seems unlikely since she is beneath his station. Will Joseph stop running and accept God’s calling for his life? Will Mercy find happiness and security? I enjoy historical romance and thoroughly delighted in this story as it had just the right amount of romance. I look forward to the next in this series!I was given a copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    Although her life in London is extremely difficult, Mercy Wilkins has done the best she can. But when her mother loses her job, making it impossible to feed all members of the family, Mercy leaves home so that one of her younger siblings won't have to. Her sister Patience, who has already gone to the workhouse, convinces Mercy to go to the Columbia Mission Society in order to immigrate to Canada for work. Although she's reluctant to go, with no other option--other than marriage, and Mercy has vo Although her life in London is extremely difficult, Mercy Wilkins has done the best she can. But when her mother loses her job, making it impossible to feed all members of the family, Mercy leaves home so that one of her younger siblings won't have to. Her sister Patience, who has already gone to the workhouse, convinces Mercy to go to the Columbia Mission Society in order to immigrate to Canada for work. Although she's reluctant to go, with no other option--other than marriage, and Mercy has vowed never to marry or have children--she does just that, only finding out after she has started her journey that the women aren't immigrating to find jobs; they're to become brides for men in Canada. Determined to find a recourse other than marriage, Mercy spends her time on the ship caring for the others and assisting the ship's doctor, Joseph Colville.Joseph's aunt and his peers have long expected him to settle into his place among the gentry, but Joseph can't bear the thought. So instead of staying in England to take his place among the aristocracy and manage his estate, he signs on as the doctor on a ship bound for Canada. He's prepared to enjoy his journey to a new land; he's NOT prepared for the feelings he develops for Mercy. Beautiful inside and out, Joseph can't help but come to care for her, but with Mercy determined not to wed and with the differences in their classes, Joseph doesn't know what to do about his feelings for her.Jody Hedlund is such a fantastic author, with an amazing ability to pull you right into the story alongside the characters. I wouldn't think reading a book that takes place largely on a ship would be so interesting--I mean, they're pretty limited in what they can do and what sort of action there can be--and yet, Hedlund made Mercy and Joseph's story so engrossing that I couldn't put it down. I was really drawn in by Mercy's character--so sweet and pure, rather than embittered by the harsh life she's endured, and I liked how Joseph was a bit of a prodigal initially but came to want to follow the path God wanted him to follow. Another terrific book from Hedlund!I read an ARC provided by the publisher/author. All opinions are my own.
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this one. Pros:Jody Hedlund has a way of weaving a beautiful story together while acknowledging truths that are necessary, yet difficult, to hear.Mercy Wilkins grew up in London's slums - she is the poorest of the poor. Reading about the conditions that the poor had to live in is hard: a lot of the time we want to ignore the extreme poverty in the world, past and present. But, while Hedlund addresses the terrible conditions, she also highlights the beautiful people who work to all I really liked this one. Pros:Jody Hedlund has a way of weaving a beautiful story together while acknowledging truths that are necessary, yet difficult, to hear.Mercy Wilkins grew up in London's slums - she is the poorest of the poor. Reading about the conditions that the poor had to live in is hard: a lot of the time we want to ignore the extreme poverty in the world, past and present. But, while Hedlund addresses the terrible conditions, she also highlights the beautiful people who work to alleviate the suffering of the poor. Mercy Wilkins is one of those people. In the beginning of the book, Hedlund does a very good job of juxtaposing Mercy's poverty-stricken life with Joseph's relatively privileged one. The two live such starkly different lives that we are left wondering how these two could ever be together (which, incidentally, is how they both feel, as well). However, over the course of the book, Hedlund highlights Mercy and Joseph's similarities that transcend class lines. Hedlund weaves together a beautiful story about having the courage to ignore class distinctions and simply see people for who they are: God's children, who are all equal in his eyes. Cons: Although I liked the romance between Mercy and Joseph, I did think that it was a little too motivated by superficial beauty and desire. Of course, they love each other for their generous and loving personalities, but I felt like the majority of the time they were only motivated by the other one's beauty. Additionally, the characters were a little one-dimensional. I only saw a couple minor faults within each character, and that mostly revolved around the fact that they couldn't trust God and deal properly with grief. Otherwise, they seemed just a little bit too perfect for my taste. There were also a couple things in the plot that were left unresolved (For example, Miss Hamilton???). I hope that Hedlund will address them in future novels!Conclusion: I liked this book, and I am glad that I read it. Content: Clean, some steamy embracesViolence: NoneI received a complimentary copy of this book, but all opinions are my own. Thank you!
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