This is book 3 in the "Postcards from Pullman Series". Although I enjoyed reading this story, it didn't appeal to me as much as books 1 and 2 did. I would definitely recommend reading these books in the order they were written, because they are a full story together and reading them separately you will miss too much background and information. I do enjoy how much detail and attention to history this author provided for me as I read her stories.
It is 1894 in the city of Pullman, Illinois and the working class people at the Pullman Car Works are about to unite as a Union and go on strike. Working wages and housing costs in the city of Pullman are not good and Mr. Pullman shows no signs of caring about the people who work for him, only about the money he is making for himself and his investors. Fred DeVault and Olivia are still trying to find time for each other as Fred helps head up the strike and Olivia stays busy as assistant chef at the hotel there in Pullman. Then there is also Lady Charlotte Spencer who finds herself heading back to America from England with her son, Morgan. There is a lot of things happening during this story but the main emphasis is upon the strikers and the union and how is affects the whole country at times.
My heart goes out to the people that were living during this time in Pullman and Chicago. Life was not easy for them; they took a risk and I will let you determine whether it was worth it or not. The "romance" part of the book was not an obvious part of this story, but it just naturally flowed with the story as you saw people trying to live and make a living and at the same time fall in love during hard times. The faith of some in a God who can work all things out will give hope and courage to those in despair. This was a series I enjoyed; I felt I was learning the history of this time and place as I read, and getting to know how the people lived during this time.
This is a series of books that I would strongly suggest you read in the order they were written. Each story picks up where the previous leaves off and if you were to pick up book two, "Whispers Along the Rails", without reading book one, "In the Company of Secrets", you would not have the background of the characters to fully understand what is going on. I enjoyed having book two pick right up with the story, and you will close the book wanting to pick up the next one to see what happens next because it kind of leaves you "hanging" at the end. I also appreciate the covers on each of these stories as they do a good job of portraying the feel of the story.
In this story Olivia Mott finds herself as assistant chef and as an undercover worker for the Pullman Palace Car Company as she rides the rails and observes how the people employed for Pullman do their jobs. She is VERY naive though as what she thinks are mere suggestions to improve the company, are really sinister ways of getting people fired. At the same time her "friendship" with Fred seems to be at a standstill as there are too many situations both her and Fred seem to be misunderstanding. I will say at times Olivia needs to not be so naive and start to put some things together in the town of Pullman.
You will also get to follow up on Lady Charlotte in this story and find her in Chicago. She will have a lot of growing up to do, but as she finds herself under the wings of a dear Christian lady and employed at Marshall Field's department store you will see Charlotte's heart soften to the things of the gospel and her life change for the better. She will still need to go back to Pullman though and figure out what happened to her baby she left behind. I appreciated Charlotte a whole lot more in this story than I did in book one. I look forward to seeing how the author brings it to a conclusion in book three, "An Uncertain Dream".
Although this is a work of fiction, I enjoyed how the author centered her story around a real town and a real company and the way life was back then. There was a whole side of the Pullman Company and how it operated and handled their employees and the quality of work they expected that was very enlightening.
As it states in the front of this book, "Judith Miller is an author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels". I was entertained and educated on the town of Pullman, Illinois. My thinking was this series would take place on a Pullman train car (I didn't read what the story was about, but got this from the cover and the series title), and was surprised to discover that Mr. Pullman built a town around his production of his Pullman railroad cars. I enjoyed learning about this town and was pleasantly surprised at the end of the book by that fact that the author encouraged her readers to visit this town. I think I would like to do that next time I travel up near Chicago.
The Bible verse at the beginning of this story was aptly quoted, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor.. . .". I quickly discovered how much trouble one can get into by not telling the truth. Olivia Mott didn't set out to lie, but she finds herself fleeing England and her job as an assistant cook to the Earl and Countess of Lanshire, and taking with her Lady Charlotte, their daughter. Upon arriving in Pullman, IL she finds herself in real trouble with a deceptive job reference, a pregnant Lady Charlotte, and a story to go along with it all which is far from the truth. She finds herself being sought after by a Pullman supervisor and a Pullman employee and although she only has eyes for one of them, she refuses to be honest with both of them. Eventually her lies will be found out and then there will be consequences.
I liked the story line, the characters and the things I learned about the town. I also liked the way it just naturally led itself into a sequel, book two, "Whispers Along the Rails". It left you hanging a bit as to what will become of Olivia and made me want to pick up book two and begin reading. There was a little bit of danger, adventure and romance and left me wanting more, which is a good fit for me.
Taken from the description from the back cover (which I thought did a good job): "If there was one thing Constance Wetherill couldn't accept, it was pity. So when her family fortune was lost she slipped away from town determined to start a new life rather than risk the sympathy of her wealthy socialite friends and admirers. Working for a living in a small town where she was a stranger brought unexpected rewards - not the least of them the earnest young minister who made her part of his flock. Until a man from her past tracked her down, and she was forced to choose between the new life she has built and the old luxuries she has always taken as her due."
This story was not one of my favorites by this author. It was a little slow moving for me, but I did enjoy some of the characters in the book and the way she brought them to life.
This was an endearing short story that was labeled as "a story destined to become a timeless classic"; I would agree with that person's description. You have a young student, Maggie MacAuley, who has a tender heart who wants to help her teacher out. You have Summer Rankin, a fragile child who is best friends with Maggie and then you have the teacher, Jonathan Stuart. He is the only teacher that has stayed in this little mining town called Skingle Creek for more than a few months. He has a heart for the children and the people and a love for music. This story takes place in the 1800's when times were tough, but the children will pull together to get their teacher a special gift and will bring the whole community together in the process. There was sadness in this story, but it was also full of hope and love. I am glad I read this tender story.
This was a feel good story and a heart warming romance. You know how it is going to end when you start reading it, but it is just enjoyable watching how it all comes about. You have Meridith Ward, who has a well ordered life, and who finds herself becoming guardians of 3 children she has never met. She must leave her well ordered life and travel to Nantucket to care for the children and try to care for the Bed and Breakfast their parents owned. Enter Jake, the children's uncle, who becomes the handyman who helps keep the Bed and Breakfast from falling apart, and who keeps his real identity a secret from Meridith. Meridith will have to learn to trust God with her fears and trust Jake with her heart.
A good summer read as you find yourself on Nantucket Island, enjoying walks along the beach, but also enjoying each of the characters in this story. It was fun to watch this mismatched family unit learn to like, then love one another. This is part of a series listed as; four women, four love stories, one island, escape to Nantucket, I enjoyed each story and felt they could all be read as a stand alone stories. If you want to get away and escape for the day, then grab "Driftwood Lane" and enjoy a relaxing and entertaining love story that will leave you refreshed and relaxed as you travel to Nantucket Island.