Tag Archives: Jody Hedlund

Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund

Forgiveness of All Kinds {Book Review – Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund}

Jody Hedlund’s historical fiction romance novels always include a romantic plotline along with a few other relatable themes woven in, and the second book in the “Beacons of Hope” series, Hearts Made Whole (Bethany House, 2015), continues this format.

Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund

In Hearts Made Whole, the reader follows Caroline Taylor in Michigan in 1865 as she acts as the lightkeeper of Windmill Point Lighthouse after her father’s death and takes care of her four younger siblings. Ryan Chambers enters the scene, newly appointed as the lighthouse replacement after returning from the Civil War. (Readers of the first in this series, Love Unexpected, will remember Ryan Chambers as Emma’s brother.) Ryan quickly realizes he isn’t fit for the lightkeeping job, nor does he want to boot out Caroline and her family, but women aren’t supposed to keep jobs like lightkeeping. This storyline among other supporting plots create a high-conflict book.

Jody always knows how to keep the conflict ramped up in a book and continued to do so in this book. Just when you think a conflict will be resolved, another issue douses the victory. As always, the historical details and settings fascinate me as much as (and sometimes more than) the plotline. This book addresses themes of trust, forgiveness (between siblings, friends, and enemies), healing, looking to God for strength and sustenance rather than objects or people, women’s rights, and seeking truth.

Ryan’s character was my favorite in this book. He exuded not only charm, but had a realness and relatable brokenness to him that allows the reader to empathize with his struggles and cheer for his developing strength and healing. Caroline also had past brokenness to overcome, and both experienced trials and growth in their faith journeys.

I wasn’t fond of the character of Tessa, Caroline’s sister, but could see hints of change in the last few chapters. This should make for an interesting start to the next book in the series, which looks like it will follow Tessa’s story.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction and Christian romantic fiction, you’ll continue to enjoy this series.

Jody is also hosting a Facebook party for the release of this book tonight (June 23rd) at 7pm Central! Details here.

"She might have darkness in her life...but God was still bright and unchanging behind the clouds." - from Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

I always love reading an author’s note to find out what’s based on truth in a historical fiction novel. Do you read the author’s notes?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund (Zondervan, 2015)

New Christian YA Books with Historical Focus {plus giveaway!}

I’m a firm believer that adults can learn from and appreciate middle grade and young adult novels as well as the intended audience. Good middle grade and young adult focus on growth, observation of the world around, reflection on one’s place and how to affect that world, and the heart. They’re powerful genres.

Experienced Christian fiction novelist Jody Hedlund is branching into the young adult (YA) world with her newest release, An Uncertain Choice (Zondervan, 2015), set in 14th century.

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund (Zondervan, 2015)

 

I particularly love how Jody obviously researches every time period she writes about, so I’m going to highlight a few historical facts she incorporates into the story throughout this post.

Only on her parents’ deathbed does Lady Rosemarie find out about an ancient vow her parents promised in order to receive special blessing from the monks to have a baby. She must enter the convent at age eighteen and live a life of celibacy and service.

When her father’s most trusted friend enters her kingdom just one month before Rosemarie’s 18th birthday, he brings news of a second option within that ancient vow – if Rosemarie falls in true love and marries before her 18th birthday, she is excused from the convent vow. With this news, he brings three of the bravest knights and challenges her to give them each a chance and see if she falls in love. As the month progresses, foul play and conflict escalate, and Rosemarie battles with which choice she should pursue: marriage and possible betrayal of a faithful vow or true love with a husband to serve God jointly.

From the first chapter, Jody incorporates specific historical setting details, like “fresh rushes strewn across stone floor.”

Did you know? “Fresh rushes” were long green stems covering the floor and usually sprinkled with herbs to aid cleanliness and insulation in wealthy person’s castle. The stems may have been loose or some may have been woven into mats. Rushes may have been left for up to three months, which would have made truly “fresh” rushes to be particularly pleasing. (Sources: here and here)

In classic Jody Hedlund-style, numerous conflicts are present throughout the entire novel, keeping the reader turning pages to find out what happens. Jody successfully offers three varied personalities between the three knights, and allows the reader to learn about all three and watch Rosemarie’s growth.

Did you know? Marriages in medieval times were often arranged, though some were chosen by one of the spouses. Several components of wedding ceremonies practiced in medieval times are still common in traditional Christian marriages today, like the exchange of rings and the woman standing on the left, the man on the right. (Source)

Jody keeps the reader guessing for a while on the identity of the main enemy, as well as what Rosemarie’s final choice will be.

Did You Know? Monks practice tonsure – or shaving their heads – likely for a variety of reasons, including to show their renouncement of modern fashions and concerns, to emulate possible practices of Christ’s disciples, and to affirm their commitment to the monastery. (Source)

Jody includes conversation on marriage, choosing your own path, reflecting on God’s purpose for you, and living truthfully. Teens and young adults will enjoy reading this book for the topics, character emotion, and history.

“Marriage doesn’t put an end to one’s ability to serve God and bring him glory. In fact, I’ve seen many married couples who have done more for God together than was possible as individuals.” – p. 98, An Uncertain Choice

Jody also prefaces An Uncertain Choice with a novella titled The Vow. I definitely suggest reading this brief story first to get acquainted with Lady Rosemarie’s world, meet her parents, and understand the background of the circumstance she finds herself in when An Uncertain Choice opens. Even in a short novella, Jody knows how to ramp up the internal and external conflict!

"For it is often the hardest tasks that build the most character." - from An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Be sure to visit Jody’s Events page for more giveaway opportunities and unique content on the Noble Knights Blog Tour.

Noble Knights Blog Tour for An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Now, a giveaway! Jody is graciously offering one signed copy of An Uncertain Choice to one of you! (US residents only, sorry!) Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms of giveaway: This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at the end of the day (Eastern) April 2, 2015. All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget above. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, I will contact them via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will select another winner.

What medieval story do you know most about? What fascinates you about this period in history?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a part of Jody Hedlund’s launch team. All opinions expressed are my own, and this is an honest review.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House, 2014)

Holding on to Hope {Book Review: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund}

When Irish immigrant Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, are shipwrecked off of the coast of Presque Isle, Michigan after a pirate attack, they’re not sure where to go or how they’re regain what little savings they had. Emma feels, as a 22-year-old in 1859, she’s losing hope of having a home of her own without her brother feeling responsible to take care of her.

Emma meets little Josiah, and his father, Patrick Garraty, shortly after coming to shore at Burnham’s Landing. Patrick has just lost his wife, and is overwhelmed with caring for Josiah and tending the Presque Isle lighthouse. When Holy Bill, the traveling preacher, recommends Emma and Patrick marry to ease both their troubles, Emma accepts to fulfill her wish of having her own home and a child to care for. She quickly finds she’s drawn to Patrick, but doesn’t learn about his tumultuous past until it may be too late. Can she hold on to hope for a happy future?

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House, 2014)

Author Jody Hedlund easily weaves themes of love, trust, and redemption into all of her novels, but I love how much focus is on hope in Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope series Book #1, Bethany House, 2014). Emma struggles with maintaining hope through drastic circumstances, something all of us can relate to. While the romance between Patrick and Emma is a whirlwind happening in roughly a month’s time, the reader can believe and feel their care for each other, as well as the inner turmoil each experience as they overcome their pasts, doubts, and inadequacies.

Jody draws the reader in with sensory-filled details incorporated into emotion-wrought sentences. And she never fails to create an intriguing, different-from-the-norm male character. As always, the historical aspects Jody includes in her stories fascinate me. I am easily drawn in to the time and place and eager to learn more about the characters’ ways of life. Jody shares in the author’s note what components are real, and which are fictionalized, which I always love reading at the end of the novel.

Reading Love Unexpected will make the reader yearn for open communication between Emma and Patrick, revel in Josiah’s young wonder of the earth, admire Ryan’s loyalty to his sister, grin at Holy Bill’s abrupt yet faith-directed ways, cheer Emma’s housekeeping and parenting attempts, scowl at Bertie’s selfish actions, and adore Patrick’s desire to exude God’s grace. All while learning about an utterly different way of life from what most of us live now. It’s a great blend of historical and Christian romance.

"...no one can sin too much or stray too far from God that He can't bring them back, heal them, and give them a new life." - quote from Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

I highly recommend first reading the novella that serves as a precursor to this series, Out of the Storm, available in ebook format only. Isabella’s story in that novella weaves through the rest of the series. Plus, the novella is an enjoyable, fast read that helps introduce the tone and setting of the place and era. Then move on to Love Unexpected. The second book in this series will come out in June, too!

Visit Jody’s website for a Q&A, to read Isabella’s letter (referenced in Love Unexpected), and purchase the book!

Question for you: What is one of your favorite novels on hope?

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

A Research Trip to Mackinac Island (Part 2) {Guest post and book giveaway!}

Note from Caroline: I’m thrilled to have author Jody Hedlund on the blog today sharing a bit about how she researches for her historical fiction novels. I recently finished reading her newest release, Captured by Love, and reviewed it earlier this week. Jody is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, and one of my favorite aspects is her obvious detail in research. Read on for her ideas, plus a book giveaway at the end!

To read Part 1 of this post about Jody’s research trip, visit Julie Musil’s blog here. To see all the posts from Jody’s Behind The Scenes of Captured by Love blog tour, click here.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

In the last post, I shared about the importance of research for historical novels. One of the ways historical novelists do research is by going on location to the setting of their books.

While research trips may not provide the best information about how life was like long ago (since SO much has changed over the ensuing years), the trips are still informative. And let’s face it, they’re FUN!

During my research trip to Mackinac Island, I took some time to learn about the island in general (see Part 1). But then I also spent an afternoon visiting Fort Mackinac which is a military post that was built in 1780 on the high limestone bluffs overlooking the town.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

The island (then known as Michilimackinac Island) offered a defensible location, especially with its deep sheltered harbor and limestone bluffs.

As I walked up the steep path that lead to the South Sally Port (a technical term for the south entrance of the fort), I could picture the soldiers scurrying up to the fort and stopping now and then to turn around and take in the magnificent view. If I’d been a soldier, I would have been sight-seeing during my climb to the top!

Once inside the stone walls, I took my time visiting all of the various historical buildings that comprise the fort, including the block houses, the stone officer’s quarters, and the soldier’s barracks. I even watched a rifle firing demonstration on the center green.

My favorite view was from the top of the stone wall at the front of the fort, the place where the cannons were placed to protect the island from any ships that might attack. Again the view is absolutely spectacular!

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

Since Captured by Love took place during the War of 1812, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be in the fort, firing at enemy ships, waiting for an invasion, and wondering if I’d live or die.

I was especially fascinated with the Black Hole, an infamous hole in the ground that was used as a place to hold prisoners. Without air or light, the hole was basically a death sentence to prisoners who had to languish in it for any length of time. Of course the picture I took doesn’t do justice to the cramped quarters. A full grown man wouldn’t have been able to sit or stand comfortably. And there weren’t any stairs to get out.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

I definitely had to make use of the Black Hole in Captured by Love! It seemed like the perfect place to have one of the characters have their blackest moment. I put the character in the hole with literally no way out. I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out if the character gets out alive!

So there you have it! A brief version of my research trip to Mackinac Island. Of course I had to end the trip with buying fudge. A person simply cannot go to Mackinac without buying their homemade, mouth-watering, world-famous fudge!

How about you? What’s your favorite flavor of fudge? (Mine is the either turtle or toffee!)

Do you want to win a signed copy of Captured by Love? Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below! This giveaway is open through the end of the day on Friday, July 18th (EDT).Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

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Author Jody HedlundJody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher’s Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.

Where readers can find me:

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Trust, Risk, and Growing in Faith {Book Review – Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund}

I’ve been a Jody Hedlund fan for a few years now. She creates interesting plot lines, weaves historical facts seamlessly within, and focuses on themes we can all relate to.

Her newest historical fiction romance release, Captured by Love (Bethany House, 2014), continues that tradition.  Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Angelique MacKenzie lives on Michilimackinac Island off of the Michigan coast in 1814, during British rule of the island as an effect of the War of 1812. Angelique lives in poverty and cruel conditions because of the war and her misguided guardian. The harsh Michigan winters are even more so with the British forcing the island’s residents to sell their own food for the army. When Angelique’s childhood friend, Pierre Durant, returns to the island after years away as a fur trader, he sees the rough conditions and has to come to terms with the way he left he family and Angelique. The book follows their efforts to overcome the conditions and grow beyond their pasts to a brighter future. Will that future be together?

Jody’s analogies help set the tone and setting, rather than just exist to be unique for sake of being unique. Take this analogy on page 8 as an example:

“Her heart raced; its pounding rivaling one of the duty calls of the fort drummer.”

From that analogy alone, we can feel the bass of the drum translated to what that feels like when one’s heart is pounding so hard and deep. We also get a sense of the surrounding environment with a fort so close by.

She includes enough description for the reader to get a feel for the surroundings while still allowing the reader to create his or her own images while reading. She explains the realities of surviving a Michigan winter at that time through the character’s actions, perspectives, and reflections, and it’s intriguing for a reader to read and imagine how he or she might react in such situations.

This book covers themes of trust, risk, following love, and growing in faith. I love that both of the main characters, Angelique and Pierre, experience growth in their faith as well as their character. The characters both struggle (in their own ways) with dealing with failure in their decisions. Jody discusses the theme of growing in faith, not having to be perfect in faith – an important theme for all of us to consider.

"If God was her Rock, then she could be content anywhere." - quote from Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House, 2014)

One of my favorite parts of Jody’s books is to read the Author’s Note after I’ve finished the story. Jody highlights what portions of her story are taken directly from historical accounts. She lets the reader know what she modified for the sake of the story and what aspects of life during that time affected people similar to those in her story. Jody definitely does her research!

Stayed tuned for a guest post from Jody on how she researches for her novels coming this Friday! See the rest of the posts from her blog tour here.

Captured by Love provides a solid read with “awww”-inducing moments, a captivating plot, and an interesting setting.

How have you grown in faith and trust through trying circumstances?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher as a member of the author’s launch team. All opinions expressed are my own. I received no other compensation.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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