Unending Devotion

Jody Hedlund. Bethany House, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7642-0834-8
Hedlund’s (The Preacher’s Bride) latest historical romance is a meaty tale of life amid the debauchery of the lumber camps of 1880s Michigan. The lumber barons turn a blind eye to the moral decay that is eroding towns overrun with brothels and saloons servicing a burgeoning population of lonely, work-weary men. Lily Young plunges headlong into this violent and unforgiving environment in search of her 16-year old runaway sister. Lily tags along as assistant to Oren, a photographer who guards the orphaned girl, although she engages in more meddling than assisting. Her reckless behavior endangers not only herself but the few good townfolk aiming to help her on her foolhardy quests, including camp boss Connell McCormack. Hedlund portrays passion in tantalizing scenes. Her antagonist, the ruthless James Carr, and his exploits are based on the brutality of a real-life brothel owner who enslaved young girls during the logging boom, killing those who were not compliant. Hedlund intricately balances romance and drama, asking where the line between good and evil lies and exploring the dangers that erupt when that line becomes blurred. Hedlund’s tale is exciting and unpredictable to the very end. Agent: Rachelle Gardner. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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