I want to thank Bethany house publishers and Net Galley for making a copy of this book available to me for no cost in exchange for an honest review.
After the Civil War Ryan Chambers needs work. He is an injured veteran who is now addicted to Opium and Alcohol. He is missing most of his dominant hand and the shrapnel still in the hand and arm bring him constant pain. But he needs work.
Carolyn Taylor is the daughter of a light keeper along St. Clair Lake. Her father has cared for the lighthouse for years and she has grown up there and learned the trade from him. But a few months before her father died in the lake while trying to take the family doctor back to Detroit. The storm that took his life took much from Carolyn.
She is now tending the lighthouse and also raising her four siblings. Their mother had died years before and now with the father gone she is the head of the house. But Mr. Finick, the supervisor of the lighthouses along the shore wants her gone. He doesn't feel a woman can do the job and he wants her out. So, he has hired Ryan Chambers to take the job.
When Ryan shows up he is taken back by Carolyn and her family. He didn't know they would still be there. But it is a good thing because he is truly in no shape to be a lighthouse tender. He sleeps to much, is high on Opium and drunk much of the time. But even so Carolyn sees in him the man that he once was and the man that he could be again.
It's a typical love at first sight type of story, with the typical drama of shattered dreams and shattered lives that need healing. So, you have good ideas of what is going to happen as the book develops.
But Jody Hedlund does a great job of developing her characters and developing the real life scenarios that are entrapping her characters. She has captured their emotions and their fears and their guilt perfectly.
She will deal with the guilt and pain that a soldier feels for the things he has done during war that are not humane. She will deal with his pain from being injured and then addicted to pain pills and alcohol. She will correctly deal with his desire to quit but his bodies unwillingness to allow him to, the cravings are to deep.
Then there is Carolyn, she is a woman doing a "man's" work. She faces criticism from her supervisor. She faces the bullying tactics of a local thug who is smuggling goods across the lake and needs a lighthouse keeper who will turn the other way. She doesn't know it but she will also be stalked by someone who is immature and can't have what he wants.
These and other topics make the book a good read.
The best topic of all though is that GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME! That is the lesson that Carolyn's father has taught his children. But sometimes it is hard to live out that truth when the ravages of life bear down on us.
This is an excellent and encouraging read.