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The Hope of Azure Springs

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  2,164 ratings  ·  469 reviews
Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd 2018 by Revell
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,164 ratings  ·  469 reviews

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Sarah Grace Grzy
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Recommended for ages 14+
Wow! A fabulous debut from Rachel Fordham!

Both the cover and the description had me hooked when I first saw this on Netgalley, and I'm so glad I decided to read it! It was so lovely to step into this simply-written small-town historical story with heart-melting characters, a sweet romance, and even gun-toting outlaws.

Both Caleb and Em were unique and realistic MCs with so much depth to their characters. I loved their sweet relationship, easy banter, and lighthearted competition. I also loved th
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best western romance I've read in a long while. I loved it!

"I laughed. I cried. It moved me, Bob."
Breny and Books
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favs-ever
*Review to come*
Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)
I actually have the honor of knowing this author! We've had many a chat and she has become my favorite virtual partner in crime.
Yes that was a disclaimer! I will try to go into this review with little bias, but c'mon I highly doubt that's gonna happen. It hasn't with any of my other favorite authors. 🤷

The Hope of Azure Springs is what I call the "steak and potatoes" of books. It has its share of sad, depressing moments but OH the hope woven through that spreads like rays of sunshine.
Deanne Patterson
The cover is gorgeous on this book and I was so excited to have a chance to read this debut author's book. The book was an emotional one, Em has had such a struggle in life. Is getting a gunshot ever a good thing? In this young woman's case it was. The back cover with the train on it plays an important part in this story. The book comes full circle in the end. The story was good but fell a little flat in my opinion. I was especially disappointed to see after the hard life Em has that the outcome ...more
4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this story! It's refreshingly different from a lot of other historicals out there, and the characters are fresh and fun to get to know. It was nice to see Em unfold little by little as she got used to being cared for instead of being thrown on the mercy of the land and what living she could make off of it. The descriptions of the area were really good and I loved the humorous parts.

Being a debut, I'm able to excuse some minor inconsistencies in the details and especiall
Sarah Sundin
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A delightful debut novel. Rachel Fordham draws a sympathetic character in Em, who grows – and also causes growth in those who come to know her. Caleb is a wonderful hero, strong but flawed, and the romance between Caleb and Em is unique and intriguing. What sets this novel apart is the refreshing message – what is true beauty and how do we perceive it? I highly recommend this novel and look forward to more from this author!
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
About this book:

“Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.
For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's dete
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
The Hope of Azure Springs is a sweet debut. The main story is about Em finding her sister Lucy. They were both children that road an Orphan Train from New York City to Iowa. Em and Lucy found families in two different towns and have been separated for seven years. Em was taken in by a single man that paid little attention to her. A tragedy brings Em to Azure Springs. The story that unfolds shows character growth of Em and several other characters. The ending is incredibly satisfying. Readers tha ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the honor of reading this debut novel from Revell for endorsement a few months ago, and with the release coming in about two months, I thought I’d share it here!

“As The Hope of Azure Springs unfolds, readers will find a well thought out and intricately put together love story about an uncommon heroine. Fans of Melissa Jagears and Jane Kirkpatrick will enjoy Rachel Fordham’s books now and for years to come.”
~Dawn Crandall, author of the award-winning series The Everstone Chronicles
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, historical
I do enjoy a good historical romance and I’m always on the lookout for new titles and authors. The Hope of Azure Springs is Rachel Fordham’s debut novel and she does a superb job of piecing together this inspiring story. It was exactly the book I needed and I loved sinking into it. Comforting, uplifting, joyful and heartwarming, The Hope of Azure Springs was a delight to read.

Seven years ago Em traveled west on an orphan train. After seven years of barely surviving, Em’s only goal is to find her
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet debut novel which tugged at my heart strings! It took me a little bit to connect with the characters, but I ended up really liking them. I think the author did a great job with stirring the emotions in this one. I also liked that she included a main character that exuded inner beauty more than outer beauty and the lessons learned as a result of it.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With an eye-catching cover and a new author, I was so thrilled to be able to read this book. There were good reminders of getting past the struggles of the world and facing each day with a smile. Also, the light humor sprinkled throughout the pain and grief created a story that is realistic in all of our worlds.

While I did enjoy this book, I did struggle with being drawn in by the main characters. Some of it was that a lot of dialogue was contrived and didn't fully show the potential of Em and C
Dana Michael
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think every young girl needs to read this book. Wait. Every female needs to read this book. Who doesn't suffer from some sort self image issues?! This book is beautifully written and has such Biblical truth in it. It even has a fairy tale quality to it as well. The heroine, Em looks like a little girl, but she is actually twenty years old. She is tiny and malnourished and is plain. She knows she will never marry. The hero, Caleb is the handsome sheriff, who has all of the ladies swooning. He f ...more
Of course being from Iowa I was loving the setting. None of the towns are real, but the very little bit of scenery - the rolling hills of Western Iowa, to the bluffs of Eastern Iowa - kind of made me homesick.

The story of Em is a bit heartbreaking. Coming there on an orphan train, stop after stop, and nobody "picking" her and then someone just saying they would take her because she was the last one left. Her home life was less than, and only to be "saved" because she was shot. But from that she
I’m always excited to read an author’s debut, especially when it’s in a favorite genre. The Hope of Azure Springs is an endearing historical romance that perhaps doesn’t follow the typical plot of other historical romances. Em, who has lived in nearly deplorable conditions since she was a child, was never shown simple kindness, let alone love. After her negligent guardian is killed and Em injured, she is brought to Azure Springs, where she is given the chance to experience the kindness, care, an ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh. Oh. Ohhhhh. That proposal. The death. The sweet three questions. The two sisters. Wow. Wow. Wowwwww. 5/5 stars all the beautiful way. Never have I enjoyed a review book so much. RTC. 😭
My Review.
AH. What an amazing book !! Definitely my new favorite historical book.
Things I Loved:
-I love the day-to-day life in Azure Springs, that was displayed in the book. I would love to live in that time period so it gave the reader a great experience.
-Now onto the plot, the oh, so amazing plot
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Debut novelist, Rachel Fordham, has clearly shown in this book that she has talent. A sweet story focusing on the journey of Em who left New York as a child of 12 along with her 6 year old sister, Lucy, on a orphan train. Beautiful, adorable Lucy is quickly selected by a set of parents, but each time Em is bypassed due to her plain looks, freckled face, and forlorn demeanor.

The characters in the small town of Azure Springs were so supportive and filled Em's life with hope. Her lack of confidenc
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, western
See full review at Joy of Reading

This book deserves ALL the stars!! Rachel Fordham got me in ALL the feels with this amazing story!
It has taken me a few days to clear the book euphoria in order to write this review. From the very first page, until the very last words at the end of the story, I found myself blissfully swept away on a current of words. Poignant and filled with emotion, this story is one that is sure to linger with you long after you’ve put
Heather Gilbert
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
Such a sweet and touching read to relax with at night! I stayed up late to get to the end and was not disappointed! I loved the deep message about inner beauty and how everyone has different types of beauty. I also appreciated how it portrayed both bad and good adoption situations. Excellent debut!
Carole Jarvis
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reviewed at The Power of Words:

Iowa, 1881

The description of The Hope of Azure Springs by debut author Rachel Fordham was appealing, so I decided to try it – and I’m so glad I did! The beginning pages quickly pulled me in, and I was immediately drawn to the heroine, Em. There’s some suspense, but this is primarily a character-driven story, my favorite style to read. This is a heartwarming story of loss, love and resilience of spirit.

I confess to expecting this to be a typic
Vicky Sluiter
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Author Rachel Fordham’s debut novel is incredible; it will tug at your heartstrings as you’re drawn into the lives of Em and Caleb. Loss through death due to the war and sickness was common but with perseverance healing can be reached. The characters come through as true to life and Fordham has me wanting to visit Azure Springs.

So many unexpected happenings had me turning the pages quickly. Hope for the future kept popping up, even though the main characters tried to squelch it. And we were rem
I loved this book more than I ever anticipated! It was beautiful. The whole story is so good... but what gets me even more is the characters. The characters truly are amazing, unique, special, and real.
Em is such a strong, admirable character and I love her and connect with her in different ways. I felt so badly for her but I admired her for never giving up or getting depressed, for not letting her circumstances get in her way. Always daring to hope and love and feel and dream...
And Caleb..... A
“Beauty is something we get to define. We may not see it right away, but when we do, we have trouble even remembering the other definition. We wonder how we were ever so misled. All we can see is the one person who defines it for us.”

What a lovely book! Such pearls within, I can’t even express. I’m richer for having read it.

This is a new-to-me author, and I read that this was her debut novel. Bravo! If this is her first novel, I can’t wait to see what else is coming.

A young woman named Em (only
Bridget E.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy (ARC) of this novel. As someone who grew up watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman with my mom, I enjoyed reading about the Wild (Mid)West. I loved the rugged mountain man, Sully, and I loved the strong woman, Dr. Quinn. This novel is set in a somewhat similar setting (the frontier days in America), where a train is the height of the transportation options and a dollar buys a lot more than a value burger.

Caleb, the town Sheriff, doesn't have much direction t
Karen R
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read from start to finish! A western style tale set in 1880's Iowa, with a very likable heroine whose tragic backstory will instantly make readers want her to get a happy ending. A bit of action, adventure and a tender romance round out the plot with a satisfying finish.

"Let them say what they would, she knew her own story and they would not steal the measure of joy she’d found."

Em was a character that I grew fond of quickly and enjoyed watching her bloom where she was planted. He
Joy Crain
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, historical
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not much of a fan for historical fiction but this one was hard to put down.

Em's life hasn't been a all diamonds and roses. All she's known is loneliness and pain. Having been seperated from her sister on an orphan train heading west, Em is determined to get back to Lucy. Problem is...she's not sure how she's gonna do it.

Then one day she's shot and the man who took her in is dead. Now her life's in danger and there's only o
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Hope of Azure Springs is an inspirational historical tale set in a time when loss and death were frequent occurrences in families. In the midst of hardship, a hope shines bright in the form of a young woman whose inner beauty helps her and others to overcome the difficulties life has dealt them to find a strong faith, everlasting love, and family. This is a story where beauty is revealed not by outer appearances but by the soul of a person. This book grabbed me from the beginning but then it ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Em was separated from her little sister Lucy during an orphan train adoption. It’s been seven long years and she finally escapes the skinflint who barely cared for her. She is accustomed to scratching out a living while this man is away frequently and she lives in his dilapidated falling down barn. There is a shootout and her guardian is killed, and Em is shot and plays dead until she’s rescued by the sheriff. The skin and bones feisty little waif is invited to convalesce in a kind family’s home ...more
Benjamin Liles
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-book-reviews
Rachel's book The Hope of Azure Springs is the kind of book you would want to have in your library. I can say that in the best of what I have to say here. Of all the westerns I have read, and they are many, she has come the closest (in my opinion) to being a new version of Louis L'Amour, who was one of a kind in his own time.

For any who read my book reviews, you notice I read a lot of Western style books. Some of these lately have been a bit on the romance side of things. You know, where the go
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Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children's bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching ...more

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