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Orphan Journeys #1

Journey to Love: Marie's Journey, 1901

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Now orphaned, Marie is swept miles away from the only life she knew to be sheltered by unknown guardians. Caught in the challenges of a new life, she cannot prevent changes from happening, but she can keep the Bowles and their friends at arm's length. Or can she?

While things appear to transition smoothly on the outside, Marie struggles against the turmoil she faces on the inside. She sees something in the Bowles and her new friends that she had never experienced before...but should she trust what the preacher is teaching when it goes against everything she had accepted as truth? Is God really a God of love? If He is, then is Marie willing to accept it?

Follow Marie as she begins the journey to love.

Recommended for ages 10-13, suitable for all ages.

140 pages, Kindle Edition

Published March 14, 2016

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About the author

Amanda Tero

24 books522 followers
Amanda Tero grew up attending a one room school with her eleven siblings—and loved it! She also fell in love with reading to the point her mom withheld her books to get her to do her chores. That love of reading turned into a love of writing YA fiction.

Amanda is a music teacher by day and a literary guide by night, creating stories that whisk readers off to new eras and introduce them to heroic but flawed characters that live out their faith in astonishing ways.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for R.J. Rodda.
Author 4 books54 followers
January 12, 2017
This was surprisingly uplifting. It is essentially about a young girl's struggle to realise that God is a God of love and describes her journey to life-changing faith. Her conversion feels authentic. There is a lot of discussion of scripture in this which was edifying in and of itself.

Oh and I liked the cover. The girl on the front looks just right for Marie.

This is a clean historical non-romantic Christian fiction about a orphaned school girl.
Profile Image for Kellyn Roth.
Author 24 books832 followers
June 23, 2018
This book made me so happy! It also inspired me. Now, that's quite rare. Because I'm not an easily inspired person. So that says something about this book, right?

Although a few things weren't as fleshed-out as I would have liked (the novel seemed a wee bit too short for the plot and characters), this was a really amazing book, and I'd recommend it to all Christians of all ages.

Find the full review on Reveries Reviews.

~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Reviews
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 16 books479 followers
January 18, 2017
This was such a sweet book and a great reminder of God’s love for us! Although it was very slow in some parts, I found the natural sharing of the Gospel through everyday conversations (and a few church services) very encouraging. 1 John is seriously one of my favorite books, so I was happy to see it featured so much. Marie was a nicely complicated character, although it was hard to pinpoint her age. I kept changing my mind on that one. ;) It was so sweet when the Bowles were worried about I wasn’t sure I would like them at first, but they turned out to be gold. My favorite part about the book was probably when Although, the Thorntons were really awesome… especially Mary with her childlike yet very strong faith. ;) Recommended for all ages!

Best quote:

Altogether, it found it to be a very good book and immediately handed it to my younger sisters who devoured it quickly. ;) Oh, and did I mention I love the train on the chapter numbers?!
Profile Image for Olivia.
670 reviews101 followers
January 12, 2017
This truly is a journey to love. I expected this to be good, and while I could have used a little more description in some places, I recommend this book for all ages. Traveling on the orphan train, Marie is adopted by the Bowles, and there she finds love...God's love. She does not feel true peace until she accepts God's love.

There are many good characters in this novella. The Bowles are a sweet couple who pray and love Marie. Mary, a blind fifteen year old, helps Marie see God's true love. Then there is the pastor, Celeste, Mark, and a few others. I wasn't expecting the epilogue. It gives you a little of picture into Marie's future.

Although short, this story tells and shows God's love. Salvation is the message in this story. Some may call it "preachy", but it is a beautiful picture of what God can do in ones life.

A quote that made me happy:
'Marie stood for a moment, her eyes still focused on the sky. In that brief moment of prayer, the barrier between her and God was crushed, love infiltrating her heart. She might never understand the reason behind her parents' death, but the journey of the past few months had brought her here, to this moment of accepting God's love for her.'
Profile Image for R.A..
Author 31 books88 followers
January 18, 2018
Aww this was such a sweet book!!

The Characters:
Marie - I was drawn to her immediately; I felt so bad for her and the memories she had from her former life. Oh but the love-lessons she learned through the book!! They helped me too! :)
Mr. and Mrs. Bowles - they were so sweet!! <3 Mrs. Bowles personality cracked me up and Mr. Bowles was just sweet all around!
Mary - loved her!!!!
Caleste - she was sweet too! I love how she and Mary kept loving Mary, even though Mary didn't understand why!

The Story-line:
I haven't read many orphan journey books, but I really enjoyed this one!!

Loved it!!! I'm so glad I read it! :) Definitely recommended to young readers and I know they will enjoy it! The message of love played a big factor in the book and it was a good reminder for even me! Though it be so hard, God wants us to love everyone, because He does!

The author writes very well and I've enjoyed the stories I've read by her!
Profile Image for Jesseca Wheaton.
Author 12 books183 followers
August 25, 2016
Journey to Love is a sweet story about Marie, an orphan who travels on an orphan train west.
I really enjoyed reading about Marie. Her journeys and her struggles were very realistic, and I loved seeing her grow through the story.
It was a little hard for me to relate to her, but that could just be me. ;) Mary was so sweet, and Edward, though he was hardly mentioned, was probably my favorite character. (I just love brother/sister stories!) While this one only touched on their relationship, it made me eager to learn more.
All in all a sweet, clean read with a wonderful message!
I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!!
Author 3 books10 followers
April 5, 2016
All aboard for a story of forgiveness, hope, and love! This book intrigued me because of the history associated with it. I'm happy to say it blessed my heart when I read it!

Journey to Love is more than a book, it's a deep spiritual journey about a young embittered girl who needs to find the truth about God after her world has been turned upside-down through the death of her parents.

This is a touching story, perfect for those who are dealing with faith and trust issues when it comes to God. Probing the hard questions, the author provides loving answers, worthy of helping others find or restore their faith. Understanding the Bible can be complex, but she breaks it down in simple form for those unfamiliar with it's teaching, and/or those who are grappling with it.

The main character is Marie. Her actions and reactions to the new world around her are realistic, making you really feel for her, and her situation. I could sense her insecurity and doubt. I wanted to give her a hug!

I thought the supporting character's were well done. I love the family who took Marie in. Even the deceased character's presence (Marie's parents) were strongly tied into the story.

The story is gentle overall in nature which I like. No violence or inappropriate conduct. I think it would be a great read for the Middle grade and Young Adult genres, but almost everyone, really from 9 to 99!:)

For me personally, I would have liked to have gotten into Marie's head more to hear what she thought about things. I love inner conflict, but without knowing what the character was thinking, I felt that part of the story missing. I always feel closest to character's when their thoughts are shown. I think it's the one thing that could have made this story even more powerful.

Bottom line-- I'm so happy I came across this book. The strong message in Marie's Orphan's Journey makes for an uplifting experience. The story refreshed my soul, and made my heart sing his praise! I whole-heartedly recommend it! I'm so impressed with this story, that I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series!:)
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,901 reviews550 followers
September 1, 2018
When I started this book I didn't realize it was recommended for ages 10-13...but I could definitely tell that by reading the story. It felt like a younger read and, even though I enjoy that genre, I didn't love this book. The characters were fine. The story was a bit too preachy for my tastes, but I didn't dislike it.

Profile Image for Janell R..
81 reviews10 followers
April 4, 2016
Please allow me to introduce you to Marie, 12 year-old orphan who doesn’t have much love in her heart for anyone, and is convinced that there isn’t anyone-including God- who loves her. As part of an orphan train, her future looks bleak, until she is taken in by good-hearted Mr. and Mrs. Bowles, who begin to demonstrate what real love looks like, and point her to the Source of that love, God. However, Marie is skeptical…why would a God of love have put her and her family through so much suffering? Take the journey with me Marie as she embarks on a new life, encounters new friends, and is faced with questions that doesn’t know how to answer.

This was a wonderful story! Even though I can’t say I identified with the main character, Amanda did an amazing job of making me feel what she was going through. Her resistance to those around her, her doubts and questions, all were very realistically portrayed, and yet the picture of unconditional love that each of her friends demonstrated even when she spurned them was beautiful. Scriptural truth is incorporated smoothly all throughout this story, and it brings to mind one of my favorite Bible verse, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

The character development of each person was well done, and I have to say two of my favorites were Mr. Bowles and Celeste.

With a wonderfully satisfying ending, this is a book I would recommend to anybody!
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 24 books522 followers
June 16, 2020
Set in the era of the Orphan Train, Journey to Love follows the fictional story of one girl, Marie, as she settles into life with her new family--an older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Bowles.

Recommended for ages 10-13, suitable for all ages.
Profile Image for Kristen Kooistra.
Author 1 book99 followers
August 25, 2016
Journey to love is a heart-warming story about a little girl who's adopted at the start of the story. Marie is bitter, reclusive, and in so much pain for someone so young.

Marie spends most of the story angry at God and walling off her heart from everyone around her. She isolates herself at school, home, church, and even at her only friend's house. She makes it impossible for people to get close and harbors a lot of resentment, imagining the worst of everyone.

Slowly she opens up and lets other people in.

This is a sweet story. I did expect to read about an older character. Marie's age isn't stated(that I recall) but she reads like a 10-12 year old and the picture on the cover seems much older than that. Anyway, not a big deal, just saying it surprised me.

I thought Marie's thoughts and actions were well-written and consistent with her character. The end wrapped up really quick for my liking. I felt her transition from shutting people out to opening up was a tad unbelievable. There wasn't a good steady shift, instead it happened instantly and I think it's more realistic if she slowly would've warmed up to people instead of automatically went to outgoing.

I would've liked to seen more of her after her salvation and seeing her change and blossom. The epilogue is set really far into the future, which is nice to see her then(though knowing what happened I would've liked to seen some more of Mark during the story).

I did feel like the Edward thing was open-ended. I would've liked to know what happened there even if it was just "I never heard back from Edward". So regardless of if she heard back or not, or what he said, etc. I wanted to know what had come of that.

My eyes did water up a little bit at parts. Marie is easily draws emotion which made me hurt for her and everything she'd gone through. And even her family, both adopted and biological. Both had struggles and I tried to imagine how hard it had to be for them.
Profile Image for Rebekah Morris.
Author 94 books217 followers
February 23, 2016
This was a wonderful story. Well told yet not complex. It made me want to go visit the town and meet the characters in person. Amanda did a good job of explaining and dealing with some hard issues but she did it with grace and without "preaching" to the readers.
I also loved the fact that at the end of the book she tells you what was real and what had been changed to make the story.

I received this book free from the author for my honest review.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 39 books391 followers
October 31, 2017
Age Appropriate For: All Ages
Best for Ages: 8-15

My introduction to the orphan train was a series of books by Arleta Richardson I read in the 90’s. The concept was one that intrigued me. I was excited when I saw that Tero was writing a series about the orphan train and happy to snap up the first book for free.

Marie was a very realistic character. It is a very rare child that comes away from being an orphan and abandoned happy and well-adjusted. Marie has a lot of bitterness and major trust issues. With that said, she isn’t someone you will hate, even if you do want to shake her sometimes. The more you know about her, the more you understand her struggles.

The historical setting was well captured. It would work well for introducing the idea of this time in history and the orphan trains to homeschool kids. Yet the history isn’t overdone and can be a nice light Sunday read.

The faith element was perfect for younger readers. Marie’s struggles feel realistic for her age. The Christians around her did not give her simplistic answers, but biblically based ones. Too often, books for young readers give dumbed down answers (a horrible thing to do in my opinion). This was perfect for giving solid answers to real issues.

I highly recommend this book to young girls, those who love historical fiction, and for homeschool kids exploring the orphan trains.
Profile Image for Claire Banschbach.
Author 7 books174 followers
August 5, 2016
This was a great story about the power of God's love and sharing His love with others. Amanda did a great job with it. I liked seeing Marie's progression from the closed off orphan to the girl who found God and a new family.
I also enjoyed the historical note at the beginning and at the end of the story, explaining the context. It was a neat bit of history that I wasn't familiar with and I enjoyed getting to learn a little bit about it.
Quick and easy read with a great message!

*I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*
Profile Image for Tarissa.
1,337 reviews81 followers
March 20, 2016
For fans of Christian fiction, Journey to Love is a brand new story that you'll want to read. Written especially for kids, teens, and families to enjoy.

Ever since middle school when I read a few books on the topic, I've held a particular interest for the Orphan Trains that traversed America a century ago. These charity-funded train programs gave hope of providing orphans (or abandoned or homeless children) with better opportunities in life and finding families to call their own. Journey to Love takes place in 1901 (during one of my favorite historical time periods!). All this is to say that I was super excited to read a new fictional book on the topic... And my interest in the book doubled with it being written by an author that I've heard much about in my online circles! Amanda Tero certainly met my expectations with her new publication (this being the first I've read of her books). She is an excellent writer and I am personally inspired by her desire to share faith-based tales, so young in life.

"'But the fruit of the Spirit is love...' It makes sense that the first is love, because God is love. The second is joy. Once we have God's love in our hearts, then He gives us joy. And because God loves us, He gives us peace. So the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. And after that, the rest of the verse just came."
-Amanda Tero, Journey to Love

I like the message of faith and hope that shines through. In the story, twelve-year-old Marie experiences Jesus' love and grace like no other time in her life; it's an eye-opening experience for Marie, and hopefully for the reader as well. It shows that what most of the children on Orphan Trains went through wasn't just a geographical journey, but a spiritual one as well. The overall story is a quaint and sweet one, reflecting the simplicity of life of the Midwest farmers at the turn of the 20th century. Marie learns a great deal about people who may be different than her and how God can change her life, if she lets Him in.

I would recommend this as being perfect for your 9 to 13-year-olds to read, or it would make a great read-aloud story as a family.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Miss Tero's Orphan Journeys series!
Profile Image for Kelsey Bryant.
Author 21 books175 followers
April 16, 2016
4.5 Stars! Journey to Love is a touching story of transformation. Painfully shy Marie Dixon, an orphan with a terribly unhappy past, is sent from New York to Illinois farm country on the Orphan Train. God has directed her path—in her new home, she encounters many people who introduce her to His love. We get to follow her on her journey to accept that love.

Though perhaps hard to identify with at first, because of her difficult attitude, Marie grew on me. She was totally believable as a twelve-year-old who wasn’t raised in a true Christian home, lost her parents, and was uprooted from all she’d ever known. I wanted to see her open up to the bountiful love of Mr. and Mrs. Bowles, Mary and Celeste Thornton, and the others. Amanda Tero did an admirable job of tracing Marie’s spiritual journey. It felt like God could really have changed someone that way. One part that I particularly appreciated was that Marie, even after she was saved, wasn’t completely transformed right away—she still had to struggle to forgive someone. That’s realistic. Sometimes newly saved characters are portrayed as immediately getting the whole Christian picture and becoming perfect, and that always takes away something from a story. But it wasn’t the case here. Marie’s realism added to Journey to Love’s impact.

I liked the historical setting, though I would have welcomed more detail (I love detailed settings, so other people would probably be just fine with the amount!). The Bowles’ house was lovingly described. I think I personally would have liked a little more story, but the focus on spiritual things does set this book apart from others of its genre. In the back, there’s a handy list of Bible verses used in the book!

Journey to Love would be great to read with kids (though not exclusively, of course!). While being intrigued by the Orphan Train, they’d learn about love—both the love of God for us and how our love as humans should reflect it!

I received this eBook in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Bekah.
Author 11 books24 followers
March 10, 2017
Journey to Love: Marie's Journey, 1901 by Amanda Tero was a very good story and was well worth my money to purchase. I definitely recommend this story for younger readers as well as older readers who enjoy a good story. It was a great, CLEAN, awesome story with a good message in it.

What I Liked: I loved all the Scripture verses in it and how they encouraged Marie, even when she necessarily didn't want the truth. Marie was a very likable character and I felt for her as she was in a different environment and in a Christian household. I can only imagine how hard it would be in real life like that where you discover that everything you believed about God is wrong and you're also dealing with a lot of pain.

I also liked the message of forgiveness in this story and the choice to love others, even when it's really hard.

I'm really looking forward to reading future books in this series and am excited to see who the next book will be about!

What I Didn't Like: I don't think there was anything that I didn't like about this book. It was very good.

I give this book 4 stars for an interesting, well-written, awesome story that is clean, has Godly values, and a Biblical message.
Profile Image for D.
1,009 reviews
April 28, 2016
Bam! That is the word that slammed into my spirit the minute I felt Marie's emotions leap off the page and squeeze my heart. The pain, sorrow and anger she carried was like hauling heavy luggage. It was like being thrown against a wall by an intruder that had just invaded my home. But, the way God relentlessly pursued her through the friendship of Mary, through the love of the Bowles, the sermons of Pastor Owens and through the wonderful innocence of Celeste was like a lover who would not give up. Yes, God was pursuing her. He was leaving the 99 to find her. Marie learned that she is loved by God. She learned that she can trust God and that He has not forgotten about her is not angry with her. She discovered LOVE and once she discovered it she was able to return it.

Lord, I love and I thank you for every child that is considered an outcast. The child that has been orphaned, abused and abandoned. I ask you Lord to let them know they are loved and that they are princesses and princes in your eye sight, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Lord Jesus I ask you to relentlessly pursue them and send people into their lives that would share with them the love you have for them. In Jesus name, Amen!
Profile Image for Kimberly Snyder.
26 reviews2 followers
July 26, 2016
Aww, I really liked this book!! Short and sweet, but still full of meaning and substance! Now that's hard to come by!

While I really, really enjoyed the storyline and characters, the only thing I felt was missing was a clear timeline. As far as I could tell, Marie showed up in Creston in late fall (because I assume the crops were already taken in; that would have been included in the story, surely, had she gotten there before harvest), but then we're told that "months" past before Thanksgiving. It felt like the whole book did take place within about a month, but I never really could be sure.

I would have loved to see a bit more of Marie's journey on the train; maybe she could have been rejected at a station or two before she reached Creston? But, that disappointment was definitely made up for in the nice epilogue. :)

Overall, it was a very pleasant read with a great message, and I plan on passing it along to my little sisters! Thank you, Amanda!!
Profile Image for Kyrie.
24 reviews
June 27, 2016
Incredibly well-written; I was immediately pulled into the story through vivid and skillfully-described scenes, believable characters, and a plot that moved quickly and was woven together with some delightful little twists and turns. I felt like I was watching it all happen, yet was inside the mind of the main character at the same time. A deceptively simple story, dealing with humanity's innate need for ultimate love, acceptance, and lasting peace.

An intensely satisfying read; and the epilogue was icing on the cake!

Probably ideal for a pre-teen and younger teenage audience, but I'm in my late twenties and could hardly put it down!
Profile Image for A.M. Heath.
Author 12 books290 followers
March 23, 2016
What I Loved: Amanda has a way of sharing the love of Christ in all of her writings. The message is very clear and yet the stories are very real. And this was certainly true of Journey to Love. This sweet novella packed a powerful gospel punch as Marie overcomes the obstacles of a hard past and a cold religion.
Journey to Love is the first story in the Orphan Train series and I’m looking forward to future stories from this author.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Journey to Love 5 stars and recommending it to both the young and old who enjoy warm-hearted Christian fiction.

~I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Alicia.
316 reviews67 followers
April 2, 2017
A sweet story about learning to love and forgive and finding a new family. The novella was very focused on Marie's spiritual journey and many parts of the story were almost like devotionals. I really liked that aspect; however, I would have also liked to have known more about the characters and seen more plot points. A bunch of story details could have been a bit expanded upon. That said, I really enjoyed the story and thought that the writing was superb! And, I loved the epilogue :)
Profile Image for Erika Mathews.
Author 17 books130 followers
August 4, 2016
Well written emotions, highly spiritual content, good plot. This is a book I recommend.
Profile Image for Lexxie.
24 reviews9 followers
November 8, 2016
This book was so cute and covered some important questions that everyone asks. I absolutely love the character development of Marie. Very good book.
Profile Image for Meagan.
1,462 reviews58 followers
March 19, 2016
I really enjoyed this novella. I grew up on Little House on the Prairie and other Midwest TV shows and books, orphan-train and otherwise, and Journey to Love fits right in. It’s a little different in that it focuses on the children and only shows their adult denouement via a short epilogue, but I actually really enjoyed that, appreciating the novella’s focus on their childhood and not glossing over the difficulties they face. That is what sets Journey to Love apart from other orphan-train stories.

JTL is a well-paced story packed with the gospel, which was shared in a very gentle and loving way. (Minor spoiler alert!) I love, love, loved reading Marie’s journey from a very legalistic form of faith to comprehension of God’s love for her, that was not dependent on rote prayers or a priest to read and interpret the Bible to/for her. (/end spoiler)

I also enjoyed the character of Mary quite a bit. It was interesting to read about the treatment of blind children during that era and how they themselves coped with it, and compare that to today’s world; a friend of mine is blind, also from childhood/after birth, and I found myself gaining new insights and appreciation for her and her life!

I would happily pick up the book again down the line; it’s worth re-reads, not only for the story it tells, but the theology within.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the eARC for my honest review; all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Camilla Cruz.
146 reviews9 followers
June 12, 2016
Journey to Love by Amanda Tero is a story reminiscent of the classics of years ago. The flow was trudging and slow, which made me a little impatient in parts, but it was a telling and useful way to share the main character's- Marie Dixon's- struggles, insecurities, fears, and the journey she was on to discover what the Love of loves really is, and how to accept it for the free gift that it is. It is an almost coming-of-age kind of story of the soul, and it is fraught with the angst of Youth, the battling that can exist when one is facing the hard questions that come when life is just unfair. But, it was also full of encouragement and reminders that are valuable and blessing to me as an adult, as a person. The surrounding characters were enjoyable and endearing, and it had a Little House on the Prairie feel to it that was quaint and lovely, even as the hard questions were dealt with and battled through. This is a sweet and valuable story for mature pre-tweens, tweens or Young teens.

I did receive a free e-book version of this story in Exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Cate.
238 reviews4 followers
February 14, 2018
This book was so beautifully written! I liked the setting (Orphan Train books always interest me), and I enjoyed reading about the girl's struggle with loving her brother and God. I recommend this book to girls. In particular, this book may help anyone who doesn't want to love God or their neighbor.
Profile Image for Kim Hampton.
1,177 reviews36 followers
August 1, 2016
I loved the story line and the characters in this book. It reminded me a lot of the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, with more of a Christian theme. I think it would make an excellent movie!
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