Review: BEACONS OF HOPE series / by Jody Hedlund

Out of the Storm: A Novella, / by Jody Hedlund (Beacons of Hope prequel)
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2014) ebook only

Love Unexpected, / by Jody Hedlund (Beacons of Hope, 1)
Bethany House Publishers (December 2, 2014)   ISBN     9780764212376

Hearts Made Whole, / by Jody Hedlund (Beacons of Hope, 2)
Bethany House Publishers (June 2, 2015) ISBN     9780764212383
Adult     Rating:   4

out of the storm love unexpected hearts made whole

Jody Hedlund pens a new historical fiction series set in the 1860s and featuring life in the isolated lighthouses on the shoreline of Michigan’s Great Lakes.

Out of the Storm is a novella telling the original story of the wooden cross, the cross that Emma finds and eventually gives to Ryan. The cross symbolizes hope in the midst of despair and trials as told in the story of Henry Cole and Isabella Thornton. The novella, although short, sets the stage for the novels that follow.

In Love Unexpected, Emma Chambers and her brother Ryan are left destitute following a shipwreck. Ryan is able to find work. The only solution for Emma is a marriage of convenience to the Patrick Garraty, a widowed lighthouse keeper with a young toddler – but Patrick has a secret he is hiding from others. Did Patrick cause his first wife’s death? Will Emma be able to overcome the mystery surrounding Patrick’s past to build a future together?

In Hearts Made Whole, Ryan Chambers is now an injured veteran of the Civil War, assigned to the Windmill Point Lighthouse. Caroline Taylor has been acting as the lighthouse keeper since the death of her father, a role not usually permitted to women. She will lose her means of providing financially for her ailing sister and other siblings. Ryan struggles to overcome his addiction to alcohol and pain medications. Caroline faces a future without hope. Who is trying to scare Caroline away with escalating violent pranks?Will they be able to overcome their past and embrace a hope for the future?

Hedlund creates believeable characters – Ryan struggles with his addiction and doesn’t overcome it miraculously. He tries, stumbles, and tries again. The characters deal with prejudices and challenges. Caroline is a strong heroine who isn’t rescued by a male character, but her godly strength encourages Ryan to make changes in his life.

These books are a blend of romance, suspense and mystery. The historical detail is well-researched, and the author has done an excellent job of incorporating fact into her fiction. There were a few women lighthouse keepers and they served as inspiration for this series. There is an author’s note and a discussion guide in each book.

Recommended for public and church libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thanks to Bethany House Blogger Program for a free copy of Hearts Made Whole for the June 2015 blog tour.

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