The Hope of Azure Springs

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

A strong woman helping those around her through the struggles of life. Watching the friendship, trust and love develop between Em and Caleb is wonderful. Though an orphan she learns to love, Along the way inspiring those around her to do the same
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4 1/2 Stars!! In Rachel Fordham's debut novel "The Hope of Azure Springs," she immediately draws her readers in with an authentic, powerful story of faith, love, and resilience. This is a must read for fans of historical fiction. The story takes place in Azure Springs, Iowa during 1881 in the heart of the Western wilderness. The pain Em feels recalling how she was separated from her 7 year old sister after arriving on the orphan train 7 years ago and the hardships she faced in her life afterwards pulls at the reader's heartstrings and demonstrates the strength and resilience of the human spirit. Em is determined to find her sister after all these years. 

The heroine Em is plain and not particularly attractive. Sheriff Caleb Reynolds is a handsome, strong hero who is determined to find the people who killed her guardian and shot Em. He finds himself slowly becoming attracted to Em over time. His father helps him realize that beauty is found within and shares the following advice with his son, "Don't let anyone else decide which kind of beautiful is right for you. You find a girl who brings out the best in you. Who you can see a happy future with. That's your kind of beautiful."

Readers will experience a wide range of emotions while reading "The Hope of Azure Springs." Even through the pain and sadnesses Em faces toward the end of the story (a tear-jerker for the readers!), she becomes stronger as a person and uses her experiences to make a difference in other children's lives. A wonderful debut novel from Rachel Fordham! I can't wait for her next book!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
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This is one of my most favourite  books that I have read in a long while . It had everything  suspense ,sadness  ad happiness.  I loved the characters, the setting and the happy ending.
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The Hope of Azure Springs is an amazing debut title by author Rachel Fordham that I was pleasantly surprised by. Christian fiction can at times be dry as dust, but this novel surpassed all my expectations! It contained elements of romance, danger, mystery, and small-town charm.

Set in historical Iowa, our plain-Jane heroine is an orphan train sibling who shows remarkable strength and resilience. Of course, her personal experiences have left a mark on her, but she is just absolutely charming. I don’t want to elaborate too much because I don’t want to spoil the book, predictable as elements of it may be.

Our hero is the town sheriff and of course, depicted as being absolutely swoon-worthy. He has his own personal history to deal with and current obstacles that he has to overcome. He’s stoic, handsome, stubborn, and sometimes oblivious, but also good-hearted and courageous.

The depth of the story is in the lesson of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, to acknowledge that attractiveness is more than skin deep, to see beyond a charming face to the heart that lies beneath. The story also beautifully chronicled a tale of loss, self-worth, family, friendship, healing, and hope. I was moved to tears by the eloquence with which certain passages were written. This was a well-paced novel that I did not want to put down (and may have stayed up way too late reading.)

A 4.5-star rating for sure. This is a definite recommended read for anyone who enjoys squeaky clean historical romance. A delightful escape from the grey skies of February.

I was provided with a copy of this publication via NetGalley with thanks to the publisher and/or author. All opinions are my own.

Originally reviewed on my blog:
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A good weekend novel to try this year. Compassion and hope, the deep narrative is unique

#TheHopeOfAzureSprings #NetGalley
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The Hope of Azure Springs
by Rachel Fordham


Pub Date 03 Jul 2018

I am reviewing a copy of The Hope of Azure Springs through Revell and Netgalley:

Emma and I arrived at a new home after having traveled on the Orphan train seven years prior.  Secrets from her past haunt her.  Her new life in the Western Wilderness  is a rough one. When her guardian is killed Em, who is now nineteen has the chance to search for the sister she hasn’t seen in years but
It’s not something she can do alone.

Assure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds securing justice  for Em who has been hurt is only a part of the job.  The Sheriff is determined  to solve every case put before him so he will  impress his parents. Caleb is determined and expects to succeed, what he doesn’t expect is to develop the feelings for Em he developed.

 I give The Hope of Azzure Springs five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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This story would be a nice introduction to historical fiction for younger readers or fans of women's fiction as it shares common elements and themes of those genres. I would also recommend this story to fans of Kim Vogel Sawyer or Janette Oke. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this story!  It's refreshingly different from a lot of other historicals out there, and the characters are fresh and fun to get to know.  It was nice to see Em unfold little by little as she got used to being cared for instead of being thrown on the mercy of the land and what living she could make off of it.  The descriptions of the area were really good and I loved the humorous parts.

Being a debut, I'm able to excuse some minor inconsistencies in the details and especially in some memories of Caleb's brothers (kept checking the date because they would have had to be so much older than him that they would have been men when he was a young boy and thus the pranks and tricks would have been a bit different.)

I for one enjoyed the realistic bits about the ending, even though my emotions didn't.  It was more real and believable, despite having preferred her ending to be perfect.

Thanks to the publisher for a free reading copy.  A favorable review was not required.
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I downloaded THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS to review as part of a Blog Tour for the book by Lone Star Literary Book Blog Tours. This sweet story was a change-of-pace for me, because I rarely read historical fiction or historical romance! But I do want to be able to recommend these genres to my customers in the library, so I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to download it. It has a lot of things that I love about many of my favorite books: small town setting, well-developed characters, some humor, light romance and emotionally complex issues to overcome. I will look forward to reading more by this author!
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Excellent story with relatable characters. Good descriptive narrative. Looking forward to the next book by this author!
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I LOVED This book! It emotionally gutted me when Em arrived at her sister's house. But all the emotions through the entire book were so fitting and the ending was worth the tears. I loved the characters, the town, and the struggles that were faced by the characters.
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This book was hauntingly beautiful; seriously impressive writing from a debut author. Em and Caleb were so raw and human, fleshed out wonderfully and deeply complex. The plot was rich and moved quickly. I was easily able to immerse myself into the world that Rachel Fordham had created. And perhaps most importantly, the lesson in the story was much needed. Hardships can be overcome, struggles pass, circumstances change; all of them work together to make us stronger, weaving together to form our story.
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A heroine full of secrets. A hero your not quite sure he’ll stand up to such a title in the beginning. This book had me wrapped around its fingers (or pages) from the start as I, alongside the characters, urgently wanted to find out what was going on.
Better yet, I wanted to see Em shine beyond her hurts, traumas and sorrows. And what a scene!
An author to keep an eye out for sure!
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I was absolutely enthralled with this book, I felt like the characters and message was refreshing and not run of the mill. I cannot say enough how much I appreciated a character who was not utterly breathtaking and who had beauty that came from within. Em was an charming and endearing character who you cannot help but grow to love and cheer on as she wins the whole town of Azure Springs over through her kindness and inner beauty. While Em doesn't get all of the happy endings one hopes for I felt like her story was more realistic to how life turns out sometimes and that made it all the better albeit sad.
Memorable characters, a wonderful heroine and a compassionate hero, the romance was charming and slow to build up which is exactly what I prefer.
I thought this was an outstanding book by a debut author, I will certainly be on the look out for more of her books in the future!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Where will Em decide her best future lies, in The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham? 
Fordham brings to life the story of a “prince” and “princesses,” beauty and ugliness, and the ugly reality of lonely children who travel the orphan train west to very uncertain futures. 
I loved Abigail and Abraham Howell and the generosity and love they show to Em in her hour of need. I also appreciate the fact that one of their children is NOT walking in their ways. How true to life that can really be.  
I also loved that the heroine is not beautiful by most people’s description of beautiful. Beauty comes from the inside out. This is one discussion my husband and I have repeatedly with our young, single twenty-somethings. Can Caleb, the sheriff, ever start seeing with eyes of the soul? 
Sometimes we think the little things we do for others don’t matter. Not so. Em discovers this when Abigail lends her a clean nightgown. “ was not just a nightdress, it was kindness.” 
A few other quotables: 
“Where does a caged animal go when it is freed?” 
“How will you ever truly live if you are too afraid to be where you need to be?” 
Definitely, a book to read to experience the varied lives of orphan train children. I gratefully received a copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions. I was not required to leave a positive review.
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This is a very enjoyable coming of age story that I really enjoyed because of the sweet and comical interactions between all of the main characters in the story. Em is a dirty, frail and seriously  injured young woman at the beginning of the book but she’s also a young woman to be admired because she was orphaned at an early age and her life has also had many hardships, yet she still has a gentle and loving spirit that shines through her pain. Her heart is not filled with self pity as many of ours might be and although she’s seen the worst that man can do she always sees the good in people and is grateful for the loving family that welcomes her into their home while she recovers from a gunshot wound. The Howell family’s twin daughters take an instant liking to Em because she happily spends time with them while she tells them stories that make them believe in romance and a happily ever after. Meanwhile, Azure Springs, Iowa’s town sheriff and all around nice guy, Caleb, does everything he can to find the man who shot Em while he becomes her protector and friend. Soon they have much in common, including mourning the loss of younger siblings, finding joy in the little things, and well as a fierce thirst for competition that made me laugh out loud. All in all this is a very heartwarming and very entertaining book.
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What a wonderful story! I loved the character of Emmeline.  Despite mistreatment and loneliness during her teenage years, she retained her sweetness of spirit and her care for others. However, she struggles with confidence because she considers her appearance to be quite plain.  As her caring heart becomes evident to those around her, there is no doubt that her true inner beauty shines clearly for all to see. As Em overcomes fear and doubt, she begins to dare hope that she can find a happy, useful life.  But will that life include the handsome town sheriff? And does he come to realize that Emmeline is the woman of his dreams?  I was cheering for her every step of the way to find her happily-ever-after.

An engaging and unique storyline makes this author’s debut novel a keeper.  I’m looking forward to more from this author.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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I love meeting new authors and reading their debut books!   I feel like they will have something different to offer to a particular genre.  I always look forward to learning more about my favorite themes.  They always seem to have a different message to offer for our daily lives, and I get to hear different author's viewpoints on the same subject.  

I wanted to read this book because I heard good things about it and about the author.  I was excited to open the book and was not disappointed!  When I first opened it, I knew the story would be good, but I didn't expect it to be this good.  I enjoyed it so much that I even burned the midnight oil to finish it.  It didn't take me long to fall in love with the story, because it was fast paced and there was a little bit of mystery included.  The author made her character come to life.  I'm already waiting for the next book!

The characters were so delightful and I enjoyed making new friends.  I feel like books are a woman's (or man's) best friend.  I relished watching these characters "find themselves" and learn to trust each other along the way.
I enjoyed the historical setting of Azure Springs, Iowa, and Rachel had a way of making you feel like you were actually there!!  She made you want to yell at them when something drastic was happening, and along the way even root for them as they worked their way through their troubles.

Right now, I even feel like Em, feeling out of sorts and all. It's hard to adjust to change. I have a very hard time with change, even though I know sometimes it's for the good.  I am guessing sometimes the Lord likes to pull us out of our comfort zone. With such depth and quality, it's hard to believe that this is her first novel.

I received this novel from Netgalley and in no compensations were received
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The Hope of Azure Springs is a sweet debut.  The main story is about Em finding her sister Lucy.  They were both children that road an Orphan Train from New York City to Iowa.  Em and Lucy found families in two different towns and have been separated for seven years.  Em was taken in by a single man that paid little attention to her.  A tragedy brings Em to Azure Springs.  The story that unfolds shows character growth of Em and several other characters.  The ending is incredibly satisfying.  Readers that enjoy a well done ending will likely love the ending of this novel.  I look forward to what this author will write in the future.
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I’m never really a fan of a storyline constantly reminding us of the ‘plainness’ of a main character, it irritates me. Sometimes though I find it pointless to the plot. In this case, as much as I didn’t like it, I appreciated it was pivotal to much of the development that happens. 

If you’ve read any of the many recent novels being written about the Orphan Trains - of which there has been quite a few, then this story will already begin with you having a pretty good idea to what it was and what happened. I’ve read both of Jody Hedlund’s in her series, and it provides a very good basis of understanding for me. In fact the more I read on this subject the more compassion I am feeling for the obesity affected the most. The children. Imagine being lined up on a train platform and being looked over and then rejected. Imagine that happening repeatedly at every train station you stopped at. That alone would affect a child psychologically. Imagine then being separated from your siblings. Never knowing if you’ll see them again because all you know (and only if you were old enough) is which town they left you at. Imagine when you do finally get taken, it is to a home that is little more than a hovel and the neglect leaves you lonely, starving and so desperate you’ll do anything to survive. Throw all of that together and you’ve got the opening for Em. The heroine of this story. The author has written a book that has you questioning the validity of the Orphan Train Movement. Or at the very least the way in which it was administered. It was not only a journey of emotional and physical healing to travel along with Em, but the ability to see how despite all the grievances we could have for the life we have been handed - it is entirely possible to not repeat the past. To become so much more. To have an attitude of grace. Caleb is such a fun character, who takes his responsibilities as Sheriff seriously. He will protect his town if it’s the last thing he does, and throws everything he has got into solving this case involving Em. As he goes above and beyond what it expected, we see a side of him that only one person has the ability to alter. 

The process of tying up all the loose ends & questions you’ll likely be asking as you read is nicely done. 

Thanks to Revell & Netgalley for the eARC. This is my honest review.
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