Reviewed by Rel Mollet
Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund
Share on Facebook
"...a captivating read, laced with appealing protagonists, nasty villains, danger, excitement and romance with spiritual depth and challenge."
Sheer desperation leads Lily Young to "apprentice" herself as a photographer's assistant which gives her the excuse to search the untamed logging camps for her younger sister whose troubled past has led her to make a perilous decision to pursue a life no upstanding woman would consider. Heedless to the danger, Lily helps other girls escape the brutal life brought about by the isolation and boredom experienced by the men logging the pristine forests of Michigan, with funds in hand and little moral guidance.
Connell McCormick is in charge of three of his father's logging camps and his focus on profits and loss consume his time and energy. Refusing to participate in the immoral behaviour rampant within his own camps, Connell believes that is enough of a stand to make until he meets the fiery and determined Lily Young who is appalled at him looking the other way.
As Lily's devotion to her sister and her reckless attempts to discover her whereabouts eat at Connell's conscience in the same way as Lily's appeal chips away at his heart, the two band together to seek a better life for the town of Harrision and its inhabitants. Yet great evil stands in their way in the form of a man whose every increasing wealth is dependent on Harrison remaining a place of vice and crime.
Jody Hedlund diverts from her former stories about true historical figures to write a more traditional historical romance in a non traditional setting, with equally brilliant results. Unending Devotion is a captivating read, laced with appealing protagonists, nasty villains, danger, excitement and romance with spiritual depth and challenge. Lily is unconventional, at times foolishly headstrong, but completely devoted to her sister, even at risk to her own life. Connell is a remarkable man, charming and caring, yet unable to see his blind spots for what they are. The two commence an intriguing friendship, borne out of an entertaining and embarrassing introduction, as Lily tumbles into his life and upsets his ordered world. Jody doesn't shy away from the realities of life in the lumber camps as the stark beauty and heedless destruction, of both trees and people, come to life under her deft touch. The underlying spiritual theme is a challenging one that Jody weaves throughout the tale with grace and insight. Minor characters are full bodied and entertaining from the gruff and fatherly Oren to the faithful Vera and flighty Daisy. Jody is one talented writer and holds her own alongside such wonderful writers as Tamera Alexander, Laura Frantz and Liz Curtis Higgs.
Rel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".