Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund ~ Historical Fiction Review

Beacons of Hope, Book 1
Jody Hedlund
Historical Fiction

Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck 
Both of Their Lives?

ALL EMMA CHAMBERS EVER WANTED WAS A HOME, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.


My Thoughts

I find lighthouses to be just fascinating. Such a symbol of safety and hope. They are solitary in their position but they send out a beacon that reaches many. In the deepest darkest night and in the midst of the most turbulent storms they send out a light that can guide the viewer to safety. There are so many metaphors and examples of the function of the lighthouse and Jody Hedlund has woven them together into a beautiful story of redemption, safety, second-chances and lighted paths.

Love Unexpected is the first in Jody's newest series Beacons of Hope. The author doesn't piddle around with historical details to set the stage. Instead she plunges you right into the heart of the story. The opening pages contain a frightening scene of a ship being accosted by pirates and then set on fire leaving the passengers and crew to literally sink or swim. During this perilous ordeal we meet Emma and her beloved brother Ryan. The two are alone in the world and everything that they had the pirates just stole. 

Patrick is the Presque Isle lighthouse keeper. It is a solitary job that seems to suit him. He's a man with a past that has been forgiven by God but remembered by those who would do him harm. His wife has recently died and left the care of their two-year-old son solely up to him. Not an easy undertaking in normal circumstances but the tasks of a lighthouse keeper make it near impossible.

As Providence is want to do, Emma and Ryan are rescued by Patrick and a path known only to God is put in place. Neither Emma nor Patrick could have ever guessed that the answer to their separate dilemmas was the person standing before them. But isn't that just like God, using our weaknesses to show Himself strong?

This is a beautiful story that will entertain you but it will also remind you about the One who holds your future in His hand. As you follow along the twists and turns that the character's lives take you will be prompted to consider Who guides each of us along the way.

As a bonus, this series has a continuing thread woven in that pertains to a mysterious carved cross and a letter. The letter and cross are to be passed on in an effort to spread hope to the recipient. To grasp the meaning behind the cross and letter, Jody has written a novella called Out of the Storm that tells the whole story about how it came to be. This is a great addition and rounds out the story nicely. At the time of this writing it is a free download for your ereaders.

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Photo Credit: © Sarah Davis Photography

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