We are introduced to Sophie and Reinhold in the two previous novels which form part of this captivating series by Jody Hedlund. Whilst knowing their background is helpful, you can read Searching For You as a stand-alone. Sophie is equal measures of endearing and frustrating. I love her passion for caring for two small children, Olivia and Nicholas, but she resists any help so stringently, it hampers them and her. Her pride stops her reaching out to her two sisters. They have no idea where she has run to and are desperately looking for her.

Her journey is full of missteps but by God’s grace she lands in a small town where a family friend, Reinhold, is running his farm with his brother. Along with a lovely Scottish family, they work to rebuild Sophie’s trust in a world which has been so cruel to her.

Jody Hedlund doesn’t shy away from the brutalities and cruelties of life in this era especially for orphans and the risks the children on the Orphan Trains took to find a happy and safe home. It didn’t always turn out the way those involved hoped but when it did, it gave the children a new lease on life! I found the history incorporated into this novel fascinating.

Each character, big or small, is carefully crafted and beautifully written. At times, the story is heartbreakingly sad. I wanted to pick up all the children and bring them home! The ending is wonderfully done! These are characters I’ll miss now that the series is wrapped up! I highly recommend this one and give it five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale.

My favourite line “We’re human. We break things. It’s what we do with the brokenness that counts”.

From the back cover:

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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