Title: Undaunted Hope
Author: Jody Hedlund
2016, Bethany House
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
In a Town Mired in Darkness, She May Shine the Light They Need
Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had requested a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since it's too late to replace her. Tessa can't help but thank him and say she is in his debt.
Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students and decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her ever move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.
I have read quite a few of this authors books and have become increasingly frustrated with the last few. I was pleasantly surprised with Undaunted Hope because the main character showed more integrity than some of the past few in the Beacons of Hope series.
This book is set in 1871 in Eagle Harbor, Michigan. Unlike the last couple books in this series, Tessa is not a lightkeeper and she doesn't want to be. She is a schoolteacher. We actually met Tessa in the previous book in the series and although this book could stand alone, I think in order to really appreciate her character, that book should be read first.
Tessa comes to Eagle Harbor as a teacher, but she soon learns that there are many things not right in the small copper mining community. Percival Updegraff, the chief mine clerk, uses many underhanded ways of keeping his employees in line. He preys on women and threatens the children. He seems to know everything that goes on in the community no matter how small.
The only people he seems not to have under his thumb are the two lightkeepers - brothers - Alex and Michael Bjorklund. Tessa befriends Michael's two young children who attend the school and the young girl tries some matchmaking
between Tessa and her father.
I was happy to see that Tessa attempted to keep her reputation from being ruined during her time spent with the brothers. That had been one of my frustrations with the previous books in the series that the main characters seemed rather naive and, if I must say it, stupid when it came to her time spent with men - especially men they were attracted too. Just because you are attracted to someone doesn't mean you throw all your morals and brains out the window and I was happy to see that Tessa, for the most part, kept her brains about her.
Although this is Christian fiction, I didn't feel like it was a huge part of the storyline. It is mentioned, but not really talked about much in the book. This doesn't bother me, but it may be something that someone who likes a strong Christian message takes issue with.
Overall I thought it was a good and interesting book. I always enjoy the Author's Note at the end that reveals the true historical inspirations for the author's stories. I may continue on with the series now that I've read this one!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.