When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She’s had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children’s Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn’t want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.
The son of one of New York City’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother’s shadow and is determined to win his father’s challenge. He doesn’t plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.
I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. The history aspects alone were fascinating. It really highlighted how hard life could be for immigrants and the poor communities of this time period. It would have been easy to capture these hardships and allow the characters to be overcome by thier situation, however the amazing thing about this story is how they work to rise above their difficulties. I loved the interaction between Elise and Thornton. Elise was an amazing heroine. She was hardworking, determined, and did not back down from voicing injustices or wrong doing. I loved that she still had a playful side and that really came out in her interactions with Thornton and their witty banter. And Thornton. Where do I begin? From the beginning of the story I admired him. His integrity, kindness and williningness to change and mature only grew as the story progressed. I loved the relationship between Thornton and Elise. From a chance meeting on the street, to playful conversations, they didn’t realize they were falling in love. I enjoyed the small highlights of the other siblings that stayed in New York. It was a great reminder of why Elise was working so hard when the reader was able to peek back into the New York situation and see that the siblings were still struggling to survive. A little bit of a mystery thrown in at the end, and some very tense moments leading up to the conclusion of this story just added another layer of interest! There was a definite conclusion, but a lot of things left unanswered, which I assume will be addressed in future books of this series. I had questions about some of the situations that were left open ended, but in no way felt like this ended on a cliffhanger. It left me interested and anxiously awaiting whatever comes next in this series! This was a five star read for me and its a new favorite!
This book is set to release in early June, to pre-order a copy visit one of the links below!