Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: One Cup of Tea (★★★)
This is the first book I've read from Jody Hedlund. I must admit that the cover of this book drew me in more than the storyline.
Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.
For nobleman Carl von Reichert, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.
Annalisa senses that Karl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.
This book has the basics right. Carl and Annalisa are great characters. I liked Annalisa's balanced character. She was both tough and tender. I loved her drive to save her farm, but that fact that she recognized that she needed help. Carl really does exemplify the title. He really was noble and heartwarming. His caring nature won me over from the time he was introduced. The writing was good and flowed easily and the authors treatment of classicism was believable and added depth to the story.
My lower rating comes from the fact that the pace of the book was quite slow to me. I didn't quite feel the drive to finish it, although it was enjoyable while I was reading it. A couple of the plot lines were very predictable but were saved by the strength of the characters.
This was an easy, but enjoyable read. I would venture to read other books by Hedlund.