Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review: Searching for You

Searching for You (Orphan Train #3) Jody Hedlund. 2018. Bethany House. 341 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Sophie Neumann nuzzled her nose against Danny's chest.

Premise/plot: Searching For You completes Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train series. The first two books in the series are With You Always and Together Forever. (The heroine of the first book is Elise Neumann. The heroine of the second book is Marianne Neumann. The first book opens in 1857 and the third book opens in 1859.)

Sophie was forced to grow up quickly by circumstances. After Elise left to find work in Illinois, it was Marianne, Sophie, and two young toddlers--Olivia and Nicholas. When Sophie learned that the person they were staying with had definite plans to put Olivia and Nicholas on a train west--via the Children's Aid Society. Sophie took action of her own: running away with "her" babies. Marianne spent all of the second book searching for her younger sister.

Readers finally learn where Sophie has been and what she's been up to--the answer doing anything and everything to just survive. Sophie has recently, for example, become 'the girl' of a gang member. She doesn't really love him--or even like him--but being his girl comes with certain benefits. And, as she learns, certain risks. Could her life be in danger when she witnesses a crime?!

Meanwhile, readers are keeping up Reinhold Weiss in Mayfield, Illinois. An orphan train will be coming through soon--much to the displeasure of the local sheriff--and his neighbors are urging him to take in an orphan or two to help with the farm work. The truth is he does need help....but is that a good enough reason to adopt an orphan?

My thoughts: Overall I have really ENJOYED the series. The first book hooked me in a way I wasn't expecting. Once I met the Neumann family, I had to keep reading to learn what happened to her two sisters. It would have been unthinkable not to keep going with the series.

The second book was solidly good. I didn't love, love, love it in a gushy way. But it was good.

The third book was satisfying. That's the word I'm going to go with. It was predictable, true, but in a good way--even a very good way. Sophie is ashamed and embarrassed of the way she's had to live to keep everyone together. She does NOT want to be found by her sisters. It's not that she's given up hope of finding them. It's not that she's decided not to search for them. She does not want to be found and reunited. How could her sisters possibly understand what she's gone through the past two years?

Sophie takes a spiritual journey in this one. She's spent years turning her back on God, dismissing him completely. But as the book progresses she stops running from him...and even starts running toward him. The book is realistic, I believe, in this journey.

In some ways this one is more spiritual than the previous two. BUT in other ways a word of caution is still in order. As I've mentioned with the other novels--the books are a bit graphic in nature. Many Christian books don't detail kisses that last for pages and pages. This one goes even further than the other books in the series--yes, she's married--but graphic descriptions are still graphic. For certain readers this poses a slippery-slope type danger. Sometimes less is more.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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