Book Review: Can Tessa save the people of the town, more importantly can she forgive herself in order to save others?

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Undaunted Hope

Beacon of Hope Series Book Three

By Jody Hedlund

Author Jody Hedlund has once again written an engrossing story that continues the Beacon of Hope Lighthouse series. Tessa Taylor, whom we met in the second novel of the series Hearts Made Whole, arrives at Eagle Harbor in Northern Michigan in the fall of 1871.

She is running from a past reputation-ruining mistake and trying to start anew. As the new school teacher of Eagle Harbor, she runs into controversy the moment she arrives. She was hired as T. Taylor, whom was understood to be male. Eagle Harbor is known for its remoteness and hardened life style through its copper mining community. It certainly isn’t the place for a single woman unaccustomed to the wilderness.

She meets Alex Bjorklund as he rescues her from unsavory dock workers and delivers her to a family where she finds safety, or so she thinks.  Tessa has to outsmart and outmaneuver the sexual predator Percival Updegraff who happens to be the chief clerk of Cole Mine. He controls everything in Eagle Harbor; he does all of the hiring and firing.  As with every story with a historical basis, the antagonist is a close portrayal to the real life Michigan villain Albert Molitor, who terrorized the community just as Percival tyrannizes Eagle Harbor.

When circumstances disable both Alex and his brother Michael, another turn of events changes Tessa’s journey to a new life. She swore she would never step foot in a lighthouse again, yet Michael’s children are left alone and she has to not only take care of them, but “man” the lighthouse.

Not shy of controversy Updegraff finds out about Tessa’s past mistake and blackmails her. She has to make a decision to save Alex and Michael which is to give in to Updegraff’s demands. That decision would ruin not only her new standing within the community but her own self worth as well.

Author Jody Hedlund has a gift for bringing history to the current ages. In her characters, the reader lives the life of each person in that time period. It is more than emotional empathy that a reader feels, but a true understanding and frustration at how people lived back then. She showcases how it was more than a battle between classes but more importantly a battle between genders. It was hard enough if a person lacked education, but social status ruled the community. A person’s piousness and devotion to the Christian principles ruled heavily on a person’s reputation and social standing. When the community jobs such as the sole teaching position were only given to men, it sheds even more light on how gender biased the people of that time period were.

This book in the series touches on the continuing thread of women’s issues but turns inward at the emotional issues of one in particular. Tessa has to overcome much more than the outward hardships thrown her way. She also has to conquer her inner demons that plague people throughout history even toward today. When her former community turned against her, she believed she deserved the unjust treatment. In order to move on with her life she had to forgive herself and realize that others would judge her character based on her current behavior.

I could easily see this series transfer to the screen via a mini-series on the Lifetime channel or Hallmark channel. If Hollywood is paying attention, they definitely need to look into Jody Hedlund’s stories.

Be sure to look for Forever Safe (Beacons of Hope #4) coming June of 2016

For further information please visit Jody Hedlund’s website at: http://jodyhedlund.com/

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this title by Bethany House Publishing and Jody Hedlund for review purposes only; no other compensation was awarded.

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