Love Unexpected is the first full-length novel in Jody Hedlund’s Beacons of Hope series, and it starts off with a bang. Pirates pillage the steamer Emma and her brother are traveling aboard. They are forced to abandon ship and swim in the frigid water of Lake Huron off the coast of Michigan until the light keeper is able to rescue them. But then they find themselves in a remote area with no money to pay for passage.
Having been poor and transient most of her life, all Emma has ever wanted is a home to call her own. Through divine providence (according to Holy Bill), Emma finds herself faced with the opportunity to have a home and a family if she will marry a complete stranger.
I appreciate a good romance, and Patrick and Emma’s story was sweet and realistic. Both characters struggle with insecurity and past mistakes, but they learn to find their strength in and forgiveness from God. They also struggle with expectations–one having absurdly low expectations from the other based on a previous relationship–and fear of the unknown. If they could get everything out in the open, healing could begin, but they must experience a lot of pain before realizing that the truth will set them free.
Love Unexpected can be read alone, but I would encourage you to read Hedlund’s novella Out of the Storm first because it introduces the series and relates a wonderful love story. There are references to the characters from the novella in this book, but the characters in Love Unexpected are unrelated to those from Out of the Storm.