In a conference many years ago I heard a woman speak about womanhood and she said something that spoke to my soul.
“The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are course; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue, We have enough popularity we need more purity.” -Margaret D. Nadauld
“The life of an impoverished schoolteacher is not one Evangeline Blake would have chosen for herself. Torn from her home and her beloved sister and sent to work in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, Evangeline must prove herself to her grandfather, a man who values self-reliance above all else, before he will grant her access to her inheritance. Raised to be a lady of refinement, she hasn’t any of the skills necessary to manage on her own nor does she have the first idea how to be a teacher. But failure means never being with her sister again.
Alone and overwhelmed, she turns to the one person in town who seems to know how she feels—Dermot McCormick, an Irish brick mason who is as far from home and as out of place as she is. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot’s tentative friendship deepens and grows. Her determination and compassion slowly earn her the faith and confidence of the skeptical residents of Smeatley, who become like the family she has lost.
But when a secret from her past comes to light, Evangeline faces an impossible choice: seize the opportunity to reclaim her former life and rejoin her sister or fight for the new life she has struggled to build for herself—a life that includes Dermot.”
Despite her circumstances Evangeline is tender and kind, refined, good and pure. The world needs more books like this. Books where women face impossible circumstance and overcome them with courage, kindness and optimism.
Sarah Eden took a book that could have been somber and tragic due to its location and character’s situation in life and used the underlying themes of family and home to infuse the book with warmth, comfort and hope.
It was obvious that every aspect of the book was extremely well researched giving the book depth and richness. This was especially apparent in the way Sarah Eden handled the Yorkshire language. Not only could you tell she had a beautiful handle on such a unique way of speaking, but she understood that it was also a part of their identity, tying it in beautifully to that underlying story arc of home and purpose.
The imagery throughout the book created an emotional attachment to the scene and the characters. The way Sarah Eden used the bells pulled you immediately into Evangeline’s grief making you feel it deep in your heart with every gong. Then to use the bells again at the end of the book as a symbol of hope for the future was exceptional story telling.
I’ll say it again, the world needs more books like this. Books that advocate the value of teachers and the difference, however small, they can make in a child’s life. Books that show that friendship does not need parameters. This is a must read. –N.C.