Journey to Love by Amanda Tero

Title: Journey to Love

Author: Amanda Tero (https://amandatero.com/)

Series: Orphan Journey, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Age-Range: middle grade/young adult

Era: 1901

Setting: United States

Publisher: Amanda Tero

Source: author

Rating: 4.5/5 stars. One of the best stories I’ve read in a while! Incredibly inspirational! The author has a gift for spreading God’s light!

Content: 1/5, perfectly ok for all ages. I can’t think of a single thing that made me uncomfortable.

Journey to Love by Amanda Tero

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Now orphaned, Marie is swept miles away from the only life she knew to be sheltered by unknown guardians. Caught in the challenges of a new life, she cannot prevent changes from happening, but she can keep the Bowles and their friends at arm’s length. Or can she?

While things appear to transition smoothly on the outside, Marie struggles against the turmoil she faces on the inside. She sees something in the Bowles and her new friends that she had never experienced before…but should she trust what the preacher is teaching when it goes against everything she had accepted as truth? Is God really a God of love? If He is, then is Marie willing to accept it?

Follow Marie as she begins the journey to love.

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This book made me so happy! It also inspired me. Now, that’s quite rare. Because I’m not an easily inspired person. So that says something about this book, right?! After reading Journey to Love, I can quite honestly say I wanted to be a better Christian.

The plot was very sweet. It came together nicely at the end. The epilogue … I don’t have words. ❤ However, it did feel a little rushed at times. Novellas do, most of the time, in my limited experience. I would have liked to hear more about Marie’s journey on the train, etc. But that’s just me.

The character were pretty real. I think their motivations all made sense. Marie’s ‘journey to love’ was believable. I will say I’d have liked to hear more about how some of them ended up – Mary in particular – but, as I’ve said before, some things can’t be accomplished in the little space a novella furnishes. So character development had room for improvement, but not much.

One of my favorite characters was, of course, Mary. She was so wise, and yet believable for a girl of about fourteen. I admit I was at-first prejudiced against her because her name was Mary, she was blind, and she was perfect. Ring any bells? Yep. That’s right. Mary Ingalls. You know what? I always HATED Mary Ingalls. Even when she was grown up. She’s too perfect. I can’t stand her. But this Mary, Mary Thorton, was awesome.

Of course I liked Marie, the main character. She and I both know what it’s like to be absolutely determined not to cry (because COWGIRLS DON’T CRY … although that was not her reason …) and then cry anyway. Because neither of us are cowgirls. *sigh*

The writing was neat and tidy. It was a little reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder … a little. It was aimed more at middle grade or young adult readers … and reading a book aimed at a young age range was refreshing. Relaxing, even. I really enjoyed it.

It was easy for me to get into the setting, although the book wasn’t really focused on Marie’s journey on the orphan train as I was expecting (I’ve really got into a habit of not reading the summaries of novels of late. I don’t really know why … I guess I’m just too lazy!). I enjoyed the glimpse at small-town life in 1901 (one of my favorite eras, by the way!).

The theme was wonderful, a tale that shows forgiveness, faith, courage, hope, and, of course, love. Very inspiring and sweet without sounding “preachy.” Truth is dealt with unashamedly yet tactfully. I love it! 😀

I did feel at times as if the Catholic church was being beaten up on a little. Perhaps that wasn’t the author’s intention, but that’s what it felt like. Not that I mind, but that might be offensive to Catholic readers should they interpret it the way I did.

Ok, that was cryptic. 😛 Let me explain. Marie came from a religious family … but they were very legalistic, and this turned Marie away from God. I don’t know if this was the author’s intention, but Marie’s descriptions of the church she attended with her parents sounded like a Catholic church. There you go. Now you understand!

~Kellyn Roth

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