I love it when I’m able to step back in time and become encased within the advantages or difficulties of years gone by. In With You Always I fell back into the 1850s and saw the world through the eyes of spunky and fierce Elise Neumann.
Elise is an interesting character. Though this German emigrant, the oldest of three orphaned sisters, is still young and relatively inexperienced in life, so much responsibility hangs upon her shoulders. Namely, providing for her family (and then some.) Initially she comes off as naïve and a bit self-righteous, but she reveals she is rich in courage, compassion, and resolve. I understand her flaws and sympathize with her emotions and struggles.
And Thornton. Oh my, the irresistible, faulty, attractive Thornton Quincy. He is wealthy, and somewhat untouched by the struggles of the times. He lacks sureness in some ways and is over-confident in others. Let’s face it, being rich, handsome, and charming helps him overcome much—but even though the physical abounds, his emotions are boggled and bruised.
Neither character has experienced such an inimitable relationship before. Their attraction is undeniable, but incurs many barriers. I love how their relationship progresses, though, and how their flaws cause tension. This story is much more than a romance. Each character discovers their strength, breaks their restraints, and becomes free from doubt.
I learned a lot from this book—the history of orphan trains and the Children’s Aid Society, land and town developments in the mid 1800s, and other struggles and hardships of this time period, especially the brutal responsibilities and environment of women’s work and the living conditions of orphaned children. I also discovered a bit about myself, as I imagined how I might’ve coped if I’d walked Elise’s shoes.
This is a stimulating, inspiring, historical story. There are a few loose ends, so I hope the next in the series tells Fanny’s, Sophie’s or Marianne’s story.
Series: Orphan Train Book 1
Publisher: Bethany House
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley.