“Livy hadn’t wanted her past to follow her to Chestnut, but now it had caught up with her full force, and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it,” Pam Hillman writes in her novel, Stealing Jake.
This three hundred and eighty four page book targets readers who enjoy historical fiction during the late nineteenth century in America’s West. With no profanity, little violence, and wholesome romance, topics of misuse and abuse of children may not be appropriate for immature readers. The end of the book includes acknowledgments, fourteen discussion questions, a chapter of the author’s next book, and her biography. Scripture verses are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Set in 1874, “Light-fingered Livy” O’Brien has escaped her past of pickpocketing and living on the streets of Chicago and now finds herself helping Mrs. Brooks at the struggling, yet growing orphanage in the small town of Chestnut, Illinois.
Hoping the past is behind her and God has forgiven her sins, she is still skittish whenever she meets someone in authority, especially when it is the good-looking Jake Russell, a sheriff’s deputy who also takes care of his mother, siblings, and the family farm.
When a rash of burglaries occur in the booming town, everyone blames the influx of untrusting street kids. Knowing of their plight, Livy watches one of them steal Jake’s pocket watch, only to confiscate it and return it to its unaware owner.
As more robberies happen and the young ones are accused, Livy learns of a sweatshop of underaged, overworked children being held against their will. With no one else in the town believing the kids’ innocence, she must overcome her fears of the past to stand up for them.
Jake, aware of this newcomer’s beauty and fortitude in carrying for those in need, has trouble accepting the young hoodlums are not to blame. Dealing with the family’s farm faltering and owning a closed coal mine, he often gets sidetracked by Livy’s good intentions.
Although romantically predictable, the tale shows how misconception and misconstruing hides the truth and that God truly forgives those that turn to Him. With a heart for the homeless, the main character learns love covers a multitude of sins.
Focusing on writing inspirational fiction set in the American West and the Gilded Age, author Hillman lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.