Monday, May 14, 2018

TOGETHER FOREVER (ORPHAN TRAIN #2) by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giveaway]

Bethany House Publishers
Paperback $15.99
My thoughts:   The trauma and heart-hurting rawness of families torn apart, abandoned, suffering, and being given away to others is poignantly written into the pages of Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train series. She has fleshed out the story of peoples in the mid-1800's who because of poverty found themselves in conditions where there were thousands of children abandoned to the streets of New York. 

There are two main story lines or emphasis in Together Forever. The first would be the story of the children being taken from the streets of New York to be resettled with families in the mid-west. It is about them as individuals with fears, troubles, attitudes that make them either considered to be good or poor choices for those willing to take them in. The second story line in the book is a developing romance between the two main characters, Marianne Neumann and Andrew Brady. 

The children include many ages from toddlers to teens. When they stop at the towns that have families awaiting the opportunity to choose a child to take in, the children face a gamut of types of families. They are peered at, examined for ability to work, and scrutinized. Siblings are torn apart and some are deemed "unwanted." It was a sad time and socially both a good happening and a terrible blot on humanity. 

Being in close proximity for many weeks as agents transporting these children aboard the Orphan Trains, the young adults, Marianne and Andrew, became drawn to one another and it soon their friedship blossomed into a sweet romance. 

Together Forever can easily be read as a stand alone story. However, other characters in the book were in book one in the series and the continuity is nice and makes for a more enjoyable read.

The plight of the children in this series touches my heart as my own mother was raised in a orphanage because circumstances prevented her mother keeping her at home. Her situation was not as dire as that of the children consigned to the outbound Orphan Train, but it is a reminder that life can be hard and when hardship comes, the children suffer the most.

I recommend Together Forever.

About the book: Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.. 

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children–firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.
Begins May 15
Ends June 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I receive a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.


  1. wow i would love to read this. i know very little of the orphan train. and orphans today? well again very little. i know of a few in our church that are in foster care or have been adopted and they seem to be very happy where they are. of course they are in loving homes with loving people.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  2. Learning a little about adopted children in Poland right after the War. It's probably similar in many ways. I have read some books about the orphan trains. It was sad...

  3. I don't know very much about the orphan train, only about a few orphans that different members of my family took in. I hope the orphans are better taken care of today, especially with our foster care system.

  4. I know a lot about the orphan train. My father could have been adopted by a couple but his older sister would not sign the permission papers.

  5. I don’t know much about the care of orphans/orphan trains. I know there are many children in the foster care system in the USA. Not all orphans but all need loving homes.

  6. I had always heard of orphanages and, also, the orphan trains. In doing genealogy I had found that many times other family members or neighbors took in orphaned children. I suppose that today the foster family is a main component in the system. I enjoyed very much the first book in this series. Thanks!

  7. That must have been crazy scary for those kids and such loss and heartache, especially if you didn't end up with nice people! This is a part of history that we don't hear about. I'm visiting from Booknificent Thursdays.

  8. Historical fiction is my very favorite genre. I appreciate the research the authors do to place their characters within the happenings/events of the time period. So much more than we might have learned in school. I like reading about those coming through Ellis Island and acclimating from their homeland and orphan trains when the families want the child for themselves to complete their family and not for a work-hand. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  9. I don’t know much about the care of orphans back then. Would love to read the book and find out.
    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

  10. I don't know a lot about orphan care back then, I believe that many of them had to fend for themselves though.

  11. This books sounds heart wrenching! Thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday on!

  12. I dont know much about the history of orphan care but would love to know more!I know now days that the foster system is a corrupt, money making system!

  13. I don't know much about the orphan trains. Today I think the foster care system is overwhelmed here in the usa. My one friend is a social worker and another is a foster parent.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. I do not know much about this. Years ago I heard that alot of these baby died from not being held and cuddled. I would love to learn more about this. Thank you for sharing


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