In the first book of the series, With You Always, we followed the story of oldest sister Elise caring for her siblings in the difficult financial crisis of New York.
Set in 1858, Together Forever highlights the second sister, Marianne Neumann, and Andrew Brady, who work for the Children’s Aid Society, involved with the effort to resettle orphaned, abused, and abandoned children from the harsh conditions in the city—where many turn to crime as a means of survival—to a better life in the Midwest. Marianne has taken this job in an effort to locate her younger sister, for whom she feels responsible.
Shame and guilt rule Marianne’s heart as she tries to come to terms with her past mistakes. Drew also carries around a burden of a terrible accident from his past. Can they learn to forgive themselves and live in the present?
Together Forever gives a close-up view of the placing of these children as they arrive on the trains. The story exhibits the attitudes of the townsfolk where the children are sent, as well as the heart-wrenching emotions of the placement agents who feel an obligation to these children.
I couldn’t help but care about the characters of this story. You will root for Marianne and Drew to lay down their burdens and live life to the fullest. Your heart will ache for the children who are torn from the only life they’ve known. Hedlund does an excellent job of giving these children unique personality traits that help the reader truly know them. I wanted to reach into the story and hug so many of them. Not all have happy endings. The story has a sad reality to it but is still filled with hope and love.
As typical of Hedlund’s books, Together Forever is well-written and well-edited. The story flows steadily throughout, with twists and turns to keep the reader engaged, and situations are resolved in a way that give satisfaction.
As a historical romance, I give this book five stars. Together Forever released May 1 and is available now.
I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and contains my own thoughts and opinions.