Beacons of Hope, Book Three
(Bethany House Publishers)
December 2015/384 pages/$14.99
Eagle Harbor, Michigan
In a Town Mired in Darkness,
She May Shine the Light They Need
Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had requested a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since it's too late to replace her. Tessa can't help but thank him and say she is in his debt.
Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Facebook and on her blog at www.jodyhedlund.com.
I am loving Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series that feature historic lighthouses in Michigan. Undaunted Hope takes a bit of a different twist as the main character, Tessa, is a teacher rather than a lightkeeper. Hedlund once again drew me in with her complex characters and intriguing story. The frozen isolation of Michigan's Upper Peninsula makes a perfect setting for this novel, and I suggest reading it under a blanket by a fireplace! Plenty of twists, turns, and heart-stopping incidents made this page-turner hard to put down. Be prepared for laughter, sighs, tears, and gasps as you settle in for a spell at Eagle Harbor. And while this novel stands alone, those who have read the previous books in this series are in for a delightful surprise with some unexpected connections. Adventure, romance, and a bit of suspense combine to make this a compelling and thoroughly satisfying read. Don't miss Undaunted Hope!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Jody Hedlund and Baker/Bethany House Publishers for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Q & A WITH JODY HEDLUND
1. How did you come up with the idea for Undaunted Hope?
For this third book in my Michigan lighthouse series, I wanted to pick a location that was different than the other books. The first two books, Love Unexpected and Hearts Made Whole, are set in the "Mitten" of Michigan. So to add variety to the series, I decided to place Undaunted Hope in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior.
In doing my research of Michigan lighthouses, I learned that there are lighthouses dotted all over the coast of Lake Superior since it was such a treacherous lake to traverse and an important place for steamers due to the rich natural resources that were available. As I studied the various lighthouses, I finally landed upon Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in the Keweenau Peninsula because not only was the area rich in resources, but it was rich in history and the makings of a really great story!
2. Each of your lighthouse books is set at a real lighthouse that once existed in Michigan or still does exist. Tell us a little about the lighthouse in this third book.
Yes, my first lighthouse book (Love Unexpected) is set at Presque Isle which is on Lake Huron on the north eastern side of the state. The second book (Hearts Made Whole) is set at Windmill Point Lighthouse that once existed on Lake St. Clair near Detroit.
Undaunted Hope is set at Eagle Harbor Lighthouse which is in the far north of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In fact, it's about as far north as you can go in Michigan. During the mining boom in the Upper Peninsula, Eagle Harbor saw a rapid increase in the commerce in the area with ships arriving to supply miners as well as load up the valuable copper that was being mined. Due to the dangers of a rocky ledge in the harbor, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was established in 1851 to guide ships safely to and from the docks in the harbor.
3. What special research did you do in writing Undaunted Hope?
As I wrote this third book in the Beacon's of Hope Lighthouse Series, I had the wonderful privilege of visiting Eagle Harbor and the lighthouse that serves as the setting for this book. In fact, I was able to stay for a whole week in the assistant keeper's cottage that now sits next to the lighthouse.
The large covered front porch of the assistant keeper's house overlooked Eagle Harbor and Lake Superior, so it was a gorgeous view! Every morning I woke up to the sound of the crashing waves and every evening I watched the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I've ever stayed.
Not only did I get to do in-depth research on the lighthouse (and walk around inside it as many times as I wanted!), but I also was able to research the entire area taking lots of pictures of the lake, flowers, wildlife, and the numerous waterfalls throughout the peninsula. It's a remote wilderness area of Michigan, sparsely populated, and cold! I visited at the end of June and brought short sleeve shirts. I had to wear sweatshirts almost every day instead.
4. In your other lighthouse books, the heroines are inspired by real women keepers. Did you use a real light keeper as part of the inspiration for the heroine in Undaunted Hope?
Most of us gravitate toward the stories that glamorize lighthouse life and honor the women who served in them. That's only natural. And I hope in my other two books in this series, I give those women the laud due to them.
However, I didn't want to neglect the women who served in lighthouses whose experiences weren't quite as glamorous, who served even though they disliked the duty. One woman in particular inspired this book. Her name was Cecelia Carlson McLean who was married to keeper Alexander McLean who served at various lighthouses around Lake Superior. When she was interviewed later in her life, Cecelia was very forthright in stating that she hated lighthouses, that they were lonely places, and that she'd had to sacrifice a great deal to live in them. She claimed that if she had to do it over, she wouldn't choose life in a lighthouse.
Of course her story made me think about the many hardships that light keeping entailed, especially for women–the extreme isolation, the lack of luxury, and the constant threat of danger. So out of Cecelia's hardships, I created Tessa and tried to imagine the underlying motivations for what might cause someone to hate lighthouses. Although I had Tessa work through some of her fears and dislike of lighthouses, I'm sure most women like Cecelia took their resentment of lighthouses with them to the grave.
5. What do you hope readers take away from Undaunted Hope?
I pray that this story will encourage readers with renewed hope. Just like Tessa, I hope that readers will find the strength to face their fears. We all have things that frighten us, and many times we find it easier to run away from those things that scare us. Sometimes, however, God calls us to walk directly into that thing we fear most. He wants us to know that during those times, he's there walking right beside us and that he'll help us come out on the other side stronger as a result.
6. You have a fourth lighthouse book releasing in June of 2016. Can you tell us a little bit more about this story? Is it connected to your first three lighthouse books?
Forever Safe. Like the others, it can completely stand alone. There's no need to read the others first to enjoy the story.
However, the main character in Forever Safe does make an appearance at the end of the third lighthouse book, Undaunted Hope. I won't say who it is, so that I don't spoil the surprise for those who haven't read Undaunted Hope. But I hope that readers will be excited about this particular character getting a story in Forever Safe.
7.You have a busy publication schedule in 2016! In addition to Undaunted Hope, can you tell us what other books we have to look forward to?
A Daring Sacrifice, releases in March. I'm super excited about this reverse twist on the Robin Hood story set during medieval times.
In June, Forever Safe releases. This is a fourth lighthouse book that involves a very special character. While the first three books are set at all Michigan lighthouses, this fourth book moves to the East Coast to Race Point Lighthouse on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Finally in October, my second historical will release. Following in the same vein as my Luther and Katharina book, I will be bringing to life another historical couple. I hope to reveal the couple, title, and cover in the next few months!
8.Do you have any parting words?
I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
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