This was an entertaining and wonderful story about a young woman who's trying to escape her past and save as many children as she can in the process. Livy O'Brien used to be a street kid on the streets of Chicago from her earliest memories until 1872 when a loving Christian woman took her in and earned her trust. Mrs. Brooks showed her that she could be safe and cared for and introduced her to Jesus. She moved with Mrs. Brooks to the smaller town of Chestnut, where they set up an orphanage. She's focused on taking care of the children and plans to never marry, especially after what happened to her sister.
Deputy Jake Russell has his hands full trying to do his job keeping the town safe and take care of his widowed mother and siblings. He has no time for a woman, until he literally runs into Livy when she's returning a gold watch to his pocket that she saw a child lift from him. He's none the wiser, but he's having a hard time forgetting her, especially when they keep being thrown together. There's an influx of street children in his town and a rise in crime and most everyone believes the two are related. He needs to find them and fast, yet Livy challenges his beliefs about the children and makes him wonder if they're really to blame.
Pam Hillman has another winner! This was a wonderfully written story where the characters really came alive. I loved Livy and Jake. It was fascinating to learn more about Livy's life growing up in Chicago and her fear that someone would find out about her past. From what I've read about Chicago in the past, it was a very corrupt place where you couldn't even trust a lot of the cops. I admired her determination to save the children and her tender heart. Jake was a good man who didn't have all the facts, but was willing to change his mind when his eyes were opened to the truth. His care of his family and the townspeople was admirable. He really went above and beyond to watch out for them. I liked the multiple viewpoints, including Luke, a street kid trying to find his younger brother after being shipped to Chestnut. The romance is sweet, with plenty of romantic moments. I liked the strong faith element, with multiple times where Livy prays for guidance and safety, talks about her salvation and her and Jake both attend church. Jake also prays and seems to have a faith that consists of more than just church attendance. The plot was interesting and kept my attention. I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction.
I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.