That’s how I’ve felt the past few months while waiting for Jody Hedlund’s latest book, Unending Devotion. Last fall Jody shared a selection of covers on her Facebook page for Unending Devotion, asking readers for their thoughts on the possible covers. With three or four to choose from I eagerly offered my opinion, curious to learn what her third book would be about, but knowing it would be a spot-on historical romance that I wouldn’t be able to put down.
Oh, how right I was. 🙂
Unending Devotion is a grand slam, hit-out-of-the park mix of romance, drama, and thrilling action. Jody’s writing captures the reader immediately, securely placing us in the middle of it all and bringing us along for an exciting ride. Reading one chapter at a time wasn’t an option, and the plot twisted unexpectedly right up until the satisfying ending.
Courageous, impetuous Lily – a young woman determined to rescue her sister from the dark abyss of 1880’s Michigan logging camps – gave the action-packed plot sensitive life and convicting truth for readers to cling to. Connell McCormick is simply trying to please his dad and run a successful logging business, but when he and Lily meet, sparks fly and his world is turned upside down.
Jody carefully carved both characters into real-life, breathing people the reader cares about. At times I wanted to shake Lily for being so headstrong amidst danger, even as I understood her desperate need to find her sister, and at another point in the book I cheered for Connell as he realizes standing tall in defense of another offers true riches in life. Jody crafted a lively, breathtaking chemistry between Lily and Connell, and I found myself craving their interactions even as the action popped and zinged from page to page.
Jody also did a beautiful job contrasting the spiritual covenant of marriage with the degradation seeping through the pores of the logging camps, showing the reader how God gently lifts beauty from ashes and turns hearts around with grace and forgiveness. I appreciate realistic, gritty stories, where human nature combined with the power of saving faith ultimately portrays life abundant – as God intended – and Unending Devotion portrays that so well.
I’ve loved all of Jody’s books – The Preacher’s Bride and The Doctor’s Lady are on my must-read list, too – but Unending Devotion earns top spot as my favorite.
From the back of the book:
In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father.
Posing during the day as a photographer’s assistant, Lily can’t understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father’s lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he’s interested in clearing the pin and earning a profit. He figures as long as he’s living an upright life, that’s what matters.
Lily challenges everything Connell thought he know, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that’s dominated Harrison for so long.
I highly recommend Unending Devotion, and I’ll be counting the days until Jody’s next book comes out.