Together Forever - Orphan Train Book 2, is another winner by Jody Hedlund. She writes wonderful historical novels. I know when I'm reading one of hers that actual events and characters may be included, that's why I always read the author's notes in the back of the book. She researches her topic well so that the actual facts of history are accurate. It's a great way to learn in among the fiction.
It's not absolutely imperative that you read book one, With You Always, to enjoy this one but getting some of the background might be helpful so that you don't feel lost, and why miss out on a great read?
The 1850s-1860s is the time frame and it begins in New York City. A financial crisis has occurred and some parents are forced to place their children in orphanages because they can no longer support them. Some children lose their parents to disease and death. Some are forced out on the streets to survive the best they can. The Children's Aid Society takes the children on trains with agents hired to go out west with them and find families to adopt them. Some are good placements, some are not. Farmers take some of the older boys to use as free labor. Stops were made in different towns along the railroad line and the most desirable were chosen first. I felt so sad for some in the story that were last or not chosen at all.
The characters were easy to care about and follow. The two agents in this story Marianne and Andrew, worked together and became better acquainted on their long placing journey. They both had pasts with regrets and insecurities and kept them hidden from each other. I loved Drew's humor and Marianne's motherly instincts. God gave her some revelations about herself toward the end that helped her let go when the time was right.
This was full of problems, misunderstandings but also lots of adventure and love.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher but was not required to write a review.