With You Always by Jody Hedlund
Elise Neuman has been taking care of her sisters since both of their parents died. Living in New York City as a seamstress she as been able to support her family until the financial crisis hits in the 1850’s. She finds herself not only homeless with her sisters but the added responsibility of two small orphaned children. Thanks to the generosity of a preacher and his well to do fiancee, Elise finds work and a place to live. That is until the financial crisis also hits the well to do and forces the close of their charity. Elise then sets out west to a job leaving her family behind. While living in New York Elise meets a wealthy young man, Thornton. Thornton has been forced to a competition with his twin brother for the control of his father’s business. Thornton and Elise meet back up in Illinois where Elise shows Thornton the life of a working class person.
This story tells of the plight of young women unable to support themselves or their family. Ms. Hedlund writes characters in such a way that you can identify where they are in life. Whether it be the well-to-do Thornton or the working Elise. The relationship that ensues between Thornton and Elise. This relationship is a great vehicle to illustrate the difference between the classes and the hardships of the working class during this time period. The readers finds themselves learning more about the orphan train and the difficult decisions many had to make to survive. Readers will find themselves rooting for Thornton to win the competition to better the community he has founded. Those who like historical fiction will feel satisfied this quick read.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Bethany House for an honest review.