Author: Jody Hedlund
Unending Devotion was the first novel I read introducing me to an author who wrote deeply from her heart and soul. Since then, I have been awaiting her next work to see the possible growth as an author, as well as the next tale she would tell. I wasn’t disappointed when I began the story of German immigrants living in Michigan in the late 1800s. They came to America to begin a new life, no longer in underground mining, but as farmers. Most marriages were arranged by the father in order to provide for the daughter, whether or not there were feelings of love present. It was strictly to give a daughter to another family member so the land would remain in the family.
The life of Annalisa Werner and that of her sisters is anything but a fairy tale. Her one sister is given to a man who recently lost his wife in childbirth; he is a brutal man. The daughters have no say, no choice in the matter; they are expected to obey. They will work the land and take care of chores inside and outside the house from sunrise to sunset. In the time period covered in the book, no conveniences like a washer and dryer were around to help alleviate the backbreaking, time-consuming work. Carl was in prison on charges similar to the ones Joseph faced in the Bible in the book of Genesis when he spurned the advances of a married woman. Like Potiphar’s wife, she too lied to her husband. On the morning he was to be beheaded, God moved on the heart of his father, sending him away towards an unknown future with no money.
Through the experiences Carl has on the farm, he learns many truths about himself and the God he loves. Annalisa also is coming to a crossroads in her faith, deciding whether the risk of faith and love is worth the pain at times she experiences. One man wants to undo all the dreams the farmers have and isn’t going to stop short of accomplishing his goal of taking over the farms he needs to build a successful business. Typhoid fever breaks out in the community where many lose the fight, while others regain their health after a time of healing. Now, with time running out on the loan balance to be paid off, and Annalisa’s father having already sent back home for a new husband, something else is a part of the climax. You will have to read the many twists and turns in the story to find out what occurs as well as the ending!
I love to read about the internal struggles the characters had when facing trials and temptations. The way tragedy can make some become stronger in their faith while others wrestle stubbornly, refusing to consider change. The example of love-filled marriages compared to those that weren’t and how it impacted others’ choices was an enlightening thread in the novel. I am thankful my parents were in a loving marriage, working their relationship during good and bad times. I am not sure I would have risked the depth in my heart had I not seen any loving marriages at all. Thank the Lord my husband and I will soon celebrate our 25th anniversary. Without Him, it never would have lasted or grown to the place it has. I trust Him for the future we have together.
My rating is 5+ stars.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457