Book Review: Love Unexpected By Jody Hedlund

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Blurb:

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she’s left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He’s just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other’s dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife’s death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

General Thoughts:

I have to say this story was enjoyable to read from start to finish. What drew me to the story, knowing nothing about the author or reading anything from her prior, was my fascination with lighthouses, which I also know little about.

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it because I thought things were happening quite fast and being rushed for one of the main characters, Emma. Immediately reading the story, she and her brother faces a tragedy, which changes her life so suddenly in a matter of a day. Also, Emma’s negative outlook on herself and life made her an unlikable character to me at first—it almost felt exhausting to read her thoughts.

However that changed.

As the story progresses, things slow down a little and focus more on Emma’s newfound relationship with Patrick and Josiah and her behavior towards herself starts to change. I started to actually like Emma and found her story, as well as Patrick’s story of redemption, inspiring. I believed that Emma became the character one wanted to root for—one wanted things to work out for her in the end.

The strengths of this story were the author’s ability to effectively convey a message, which I believe is that of redemption, as well as develop the characters and their relationships. During and after reading the story, I felt that I had known Emma and Patrick forever—I completely understood why they responded the way they did and could confidently predict how they would respond in certain situations.

I think it is important to say that I feel a lot of the story was focused on building up the characters and their relationships (especially among Emma, Patrick, and Josiah). The best part of the story was the ending. Although it had a slow middle, the ending was as action filled as the beginning and everything made sense. All the issues the characters faced individually and with each other came together in the end, which I found genuine and remarkable.

Recommendation:

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories that are character and relationship focused, and seek to inspire. I believe there are many readers who will relate to Emma and Patrick individually and will find pieces of their stories (maybe even all) similar to theirs.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars. I felt this book was an easy read with a solid message and story. Only true criticism is the story has a slow middle, which focuses on character and relationship development. For me, this was not a big problem, since it allowed me to know and understand the characters, which made for a strong ending when problems rose. However, for readers who are seeking to read a story with more action from start to finish, they may not like this setup.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

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