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Joy In Our Journey's review:
This is a true-to-life novel, based on real events in upper Michigan during the 1880’s, in a very small rural community where the logging was the main industry. Lily Young, an 18-year-old who had been orphaned at a very young age, along with her younger sister, Daisy, had been raised in a series of orphanages and crude living situations until she was finally ready to make her own way in life, and fairly quickly set out to right the wrongs of her world.
Lily’s greatest concern was for her sister, who sent her a note saying she also was going out on her own and asking Lily not to search for her. Daisy had succumbed to the world of prostitution, and Lily was determined to “rescue” her and others like her, who felt they had no choice of earning a living than to live in the brothels of their time and be cared for by those who earned a living from their misfortune. Once inside a brothel, there was little chance of ever escaping. Those who tried to escape endured horrible punishment, even death.
Lily’s only friend and companion was Oren, an elderly photographer, who along with his now deceased wife, Betty, provided a loving home for Lily for the past few years. Oren and Lily traveled the logging camps, photographing the young loggers for income. They arrived at Harrison and ended up in the Northern Hotel, a place for the “shanty boys” who worked the logging camps and spent their nights and received a hot meal at the end of their long work day. Unfortunately, most of these young men also spent much time and most of their hard-earned money in the nearby taverns, drinking and spending time with the in-house prostitutes. It is an extremely sordid environment for a young Christian girl, but Lily is determined to continue her work as a rescuer and refuses to fear any of the men who admire and lust after her.
One young man who stepped in to protect Lily many times, Connell McCormack, turned out to be the son of the local lumber baron, who actually lived in a small city several hours from Harrison. Connell had been raised by a very strict father and obediently attempted to please his father with his hard work and industrious efforts at building up his father’s wealth. The logging industry left in its wake a barren and ugly landscape, which Lily noticed and grieved over, almost as much as her girls she attempted to rescue. She surprised herself by being extremely attracted to Connell and finding he was likewise attracted to her, in spite of both of them resolving to avoid the opposite sex!
Between rescuing the fallen women and attempting to change Connell’s mindset to that of wanting to improve the environment his logging business has destroyed, this novel is filled with many exciting adventures. Lily was an adventurous and brave young woman, but very foolish in some of her head-strong attempts at her rescues. Connell, because of his love and admiration for this woman, risked his own life many times in order to preserve hers. Lily learns she can trust God to guide her and lead her through her chosen path and help her accomplish her goals, but she had many lessons to learn along the way.
The events in this novel are based on a number of historical events occurring in Harrison, Michigan, as well as some of the characters of that time.
Jody has written novels for the last 20 years. After many years of writing and honing her skills, she finally garnered national attention with her double final in the Genesis Contest, a fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).
Her first published book, The Preacher’s Bride, became a best seller and has won multiple awards. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady, released in September of 2011, and her third book, Unending Devotion, was released in September 2012. She’s currently busy researching and writing another book!
Jody has five children ranging in ages from 15 to 6, with a set of twin daughters in the mix to make things more lively.
She spends the major part of each day teaching her children at home. When not teaching, she’s either writing or folding laundry and wondering why there are so many missing socks. Her theory? A sock monster lives under the kids’ beds and steals them when no one’s looking. The alternate theory? The dog eats them.
Readers' Group or Book Club Discussion Questions:
- Before reading Unending Devotion what were some of the stereotypes you had about the lumber era? What problems during that era did the story bring to light?
- In the beginning of the book, Connell had the philosophy that there's not much he can do to change the social ills around him so why even bother trying. What are some ways we fall into the complacency trap today? Why is it so easy for us to think that because others are fighting against the problems we don't need to do anything?
- While some of us tend toward complacency, others of us are more like Lily, wanting to save the world. What are some causes or organizations that you've been a part of or helped? What would you recommend for someone wanting to know how they can get more involved in helping others?
- Lily thought she had to help God along in His plans and efforts. She took control of the situation instead of waiting for His leading. Why do we so often make our own plans without consulting God on His?
- As Vera said, we don't always know the bigger picture that God is piecing together of our lives. Ultimately His ways are higher than ours, and we can't always understand what He's doing. Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't know what God was doing, but then later it became clear what He was up to?
- What did you think of Connell's self-restraint when he was around Lily? In our modern culture, do you think we're teaching boys to use enough restraint with girls, or do you think respect has largely become a characteristic of bygone eras?
- In the end when Daisy returned, Lily was quick to forgive her sister for leaving. How does that illustrate God's forgiveness of us when we return to Him?
- If you could write the next chapter of the book, what do you think would happen to Daisy? Will she have to live with the consequences of her sin? Will she find hope and healing? Or do you think she will struggle to stay pure?
I received one paperback copy of Unending Devotion in exchange for my honest review of this book. No other compensation was provided.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
You'll find me in the kitchen
trying new Trim Healthy Mama recipes, loving God, and carrying out that love as I bless my husband and teen daughters.
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