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With You Always

(Orphan Train #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,117 ratings  ·  566 reviews
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, ...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Bethany House
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Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
0.79 e-book

The plot of this book is not quite what I expected- when I hear "orphan train" I picture the children from the city getting placed in families out West. The author instead focuses on an orphaned family being torn apart as unemployed women are sent on trains to help establish new towns where there are jobs waiting to be filled. Of course, my expectations of the quality of writing were met- I learned so much history, was immersed in the setting, and the
I can quite honestly say that this story is one of Jody Hedlund's best to date. Elise is a vibrant character, with a keen sense of honor and a deep love for her family. Each bit of this story unfolded to show a woman brave in adversity, strong enough to put aside love for honor, and ready to make whatever sacrifices needed for her sisters' sake.

I deeply appreciated that there wasn't any smooshy "romance," but instead a true love, shown in a couple of kisses and also a strong regard for each oth
I’ve said this before in my reviews of several Hedlund novels, and it continues to be true here; she takes women from history and brings them to life in fresh ways, bringing the reader a romantic story, while also being true to the historical context and providing details that fascinate. In Elise Neumann’s story, it’s the orphan train, and though it presents a different facet of the orphan train that I was initially thinking, I loved this look into what it would be like for a woman who chooses t ...more
Maureen Timerman
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I had read a preview for this book in An Awakened Heart, which is a free preview kindle book on Amazon,, and you will not be disappointed.
I was a page turning very quickly and this book is one that will linger with you, a very compelling read and enjoyable.
When we look back to the 1800’s in our country and look at a city like New York and its immigrant population, life was far from easy, and people tended to gather in areas from the same ethnicity.
The fa
Dana Michael
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With You Always is a beautifully told story of the hardships of women and orphans in New York City in the mid 19th century. The book is about a young woman named Elise who is the oldest of three sisters trying to keep her orphaned family together. She reluctantly leaves to find work in central Illinois. She catches the eye of a very handsome man named Thornton. It turns out that he will be her employer. There is a lot of fun banter between them as well as a strong attraction between them both. T ...more
Update: I have to admit, I was sure I had read one of Ms. Hedlund's books before. Oops . . . I haven't so this is a new author to me. Even though I have many of her books on my TBR list.

Once again Ms. Hedlund did not disappoint. I so enjoyed the story of Elise Neumann. From losing both parents and having to raise her two sisters, along with two additional orphans, on her own in a declining city with very little work. With the chance meeting of Thorton Quincy, her life could change in ways she ne
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was so excited to see a new series by Jody Hedlund. I remember growing up adoring the Joan Lowry Nixon Orphan Train books. And now to read more about that period of history by one of my favorite authors as an adult, well, let's just say that I was pretty much over the moon.

I knew that the Children's Aid Society placed children, orphans or not, in homes in the west. Yet I didn't know that they also found jobs for women. I also found the idea of building a town around the railroad fascinating.

Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Are you sure?"

Elise Neumann has not been sure of anything since her parents died, leaving Elise and her two siblings penniless, and in dire need of safe housing and proper employment. Forced to flee a deplorable situation; Elise, her two younger sisters, and two orphans manage to find Seventh Street Mission, where a previous acquaintance offers a providential, albeit temporary, respite from their desperation. When New York City becomes plagued with riots and rampant bankruptcies, Elise makes th
Loved this book! Great start to a new series. I can't wait to read about the rest of the sisters! More detailed review to follow.

*Thanks to the author & publisher for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Erin
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

The danger, destitution, and desperation of New York City's poor immigrants during this period is vividly portrayed and contrasted against the abundant work opportunities available across the fresh, wide open expanses of central Illinois farmland. Elise Neumann and her younger sisters are literally fighting for survival while struggling to care for a pair of young orphans.

Thornton Quincy has the potential to become a great leader. Despite
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I've not yet read a Jody Hedlund novel I don't enjoy.

In With You Always, Hedlund focuses on the plight of women in 1857 New York. I love the way she takes little known information about women from history and makes it the backdrop for a novel.

This author is a gem. I look forward to continuing the Orphan Train Series.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With You Always by Jody Hedlund is a delightful Christian historical romance. It is the first book in the Orphan Train series which promises to be fabulous. Fact blends with fiction to produce yet another charming feel-good tale.
The novel explores being true to ourselves. We need to be the person God created us to be. It is no good trying to work to be someone else. One size does not fit all. We are all unique.
Poverty was terrible in New York City in 1857. Lack of work, overcrowded tenements and
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With You Always was such a wonderful novel! I’d been introduced to some of the characters in the free ebook, An Awakened Heart, so I was happy to connect with them again, and to meet some new ones, too. I believe that With You Always could possibly be read without reading the prequel, but I personally recommend reading the prequel because it does such a good job of setting the stage for this novel. The stories in both of these books seamlessly continue from the prequel to book one.

I liked Elise
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book brings to light another amazing woman who is a lost part of history. One of the many things I love about Hedlund's novels.

This book really reached my heart. I began putting myself in the places of some of the women. What would I do in their shoes? How would I act to keep my loved ones keep them from starving?? The fact that different aspects of this book keep one thinking when the book is the reason for the five stars. I don't give out many.

I loved the plot as it
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Force will be with you...always." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Sorry; the geek in me couldn't resist.)

Seriously, though: This was a very inspiring and engaging historical novel; I found the writing to be crisp and the plot to be gripping.
This was my first time reading one of Jody Hedlund books. EXCELLENT!!! I can't wait to read the rest of the Orphan Train series! ...more
Haley S
I specially saved this review for today. Do you know why? Well, today is this book’s birthday! You officially can buy it on Amazon and other places like that.
I had the pleasure of being an influencer for this book. So one of the coolest things about being an influencer is you get the book early!
I really enjoyed this story. It was a wonderful historical romance. I mean, some authors cannot pull of adding history into the story without seeing too historical. But, Jody is not one of those authors.
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
This book is the exact reason I love historical fiction. In it I am able to learn about events in history through characters that I can connect to. Yes, the characters are fictional, but they represent the people of that time- their feelings, their struggles and their triumphs.

This particular book is set in the midst of the immigrants to America in the 1850's and their struggle to sustain life. How awful it must have been to leave your home country in search of a better life only to find it wors
Betsy Ann

I had been looking forward to reading this for a LONG time (as in, as soon as I sped-read the prequel An Awakened Heart), and I did enjoy it...although there were a few points that took me by surprise.

First, the novel is the first in the Orphan Train series...but it didn't focus on the historical orphan trains! Instead, it follows Elise Neumann's journey to find work out west with the caravans of women who were relocated out of New York by the Children's Aid Society during the economic downt
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I've tried to read one other book by Hedlund and put it to the side because I just could't get into the story. This one seemed so intriguing that I decided to give her another try. I'm so glad I did! This story is set during the 1850's. After the Neumann Girl's parents die they are on their own in New York City. Elise is the oldest and decides to travel west to a new start up town to hopefully be able to earn enough money to support her sisters and their two charges. Along the way she meets Thor ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place in 1870’s following a
financial crises. The setting is in New York City
where many immigrants settled looking for a
better life in this country.
But what they find in this time period is a jobless
city, people living in the street, starvation, women
having to turn to prostitution, gangs fighting in
the street. A time of poverty and discontent.
In this story, the reader will learn about " The
Orphan Train ". This concept was developed to
help keep children clothed and feed
Jody Hedlund has provided her readers with another wonderful story of the men and women who helped to settle the American Midwest of the mid-1800's. These men and women left difficult situations, showing great strength of character to build a better life in the American frontier. Hedlund especially shows the reader the plight of the immigrant women and children.

Elise and her sisters have been left orphaned. Through several twists of fate, Elise decides that she should venture west to gain emplo
Courtney Clark
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mom-read-it
I ALWAYS love it when a novel shines light on a lesser-known historical fact, era, or event. Often, there is nothing more fascinating that real life. In this case, the time period is 1850s New York to Illinois, during a challenging economic downturn. This was especially hard on immigrant families, and subsequently children AND women were sent west to find a better life, on what is now known as the Orphan Train. With You Always by Jody Hedlund tells a fictional story based on the journeys many wo ...more
Angie Thompson
Jan 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished

I had a hard time with this one. Somehow, in spite of the setting and the backdrop of historical events, it didn't really feel historical to me. Maybe my perception is tainted by all the period (as in, written-in-the-period) books I've read? The way that near-strangers would just talk offhand about any and all subjects while seemingly not giving a thought to the presence or lack of any kind of social proprieties just didn't ring true for me. And for some reason, even though I felt sympathy fo
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So many things to love about this novel! First, the history, set in the New York city slums of the 1850s, the historical accounts are heartbreaking. The poor starving to death, widowed mothers selling their bodies to feed their children and so many homeless people living on the streets. A reminder to us to be more thankful for all we take for granted. Secondly, the vibrant characters. Elise and her family come to life through the pages of this book. Reinhold, Elise's best friend, is true and han ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good start to a new series with strong, distinct, and likable characters and a great romance, but the ending was too rushed and abrupt for my taste. Look for my full review closer to the book's release date! ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
Jody Hedlund has incredible talent – in creating characters, plots, and setting. And writing kisses. But more on that later. Perhaps my favorite thing about each new offering from her is that she spotlights (and honors) lesser known parts and populations of history. Sometimes these aspects have been tucked away inside history we do know & read about more frequently. But Hedlund finds the women, the immigrants, the conditions that few others write about – and she brings them vividly to life on th ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the things I absolutely love about Jody Hedlund's novels is the way she brings to life some of the lesser known aspects in history -- particularly issues that affected women. And that's exactly what she delivers in With You Always. Of course, I've heard of the Orphan Trains but I had no idea that women were also sent west with that program. Or that it broke up families and left desperate women torn between staying with their children or finding work far away in order to keep their childre ...more
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Jody Hedlund is the author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that

Other books in the series

Orphan Train (3 books)
  • Together Forever (Orphan Train, #2)
  • Searching for You (Orphan Train, #3)

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