Love Will Follow by Bailey Bristol
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received eCopy from Author to review
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Description from Goodreads: Every child on the 1890's Orphan Trains hoped to be taken in by a loving family, to know what it meant to be wanted and loved. For 10-year-old Kittie Thornton, it meant leaving her brother-protector on the train and being taken in to serve an abusive family in Kansas. Now, as a frightened 18-yr-old, she must flee or die at the hands of the man who never saw her as a daughter, only as his woman. With no funds and little hope of succeeding in her flight, Kittie finds meager work in Mounthaven, Ohio, the only place she remembered her own parents speaking of with fond memories. And there she hides. Her brother, Penn Thornton, had watched his little sister leave the train station with a family of five. Thinking she'd be better off with them now, he joined up with another 12-year-old and headed north. As young men, Penn and Jake Kannady rose in the ranks of the Cavalry, until Penn and his beautiful Indian wife were killed at Wounded Knee. Devastated, Jake leaves the carnage with Penn and Two Hearts' infant son strapped to his back and a single obsession to honor his best friend's dying words. "Find my sister, Jake. Take my son to Kittie." With nothing to go on except the name of the Kansas town where they last saw Kittie, Jake carries the baby on a relentless search. In Mounthaven he loses the trail. And loses his heart. With murder in his eyes, the son of the depraved Kansas farmer stalks Jake, certain he'll lead him right to Kittie. After all, she was his woman now that Kittie had killed his old man. Rich with poignant, mystical dream scenes and glimpses of what family can truly be, Bailey Bristol weaves a tail of danger and endurance, loss and depravity, honor and trust...and a love that blurs the lines between hope and the spirit world
My thoughts: This is a historical romance. The main character, Kittie, and her brother were put on an orphan train after the death of their mother in the 1800's. Ten year old Kittie was taken in by a family and Penn, the older brother, left behind. He was hoping that his sister would be given a loving home.
Kittie's new family is far from loving. She is abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. The mother of the family dies after childbirth of a little girl and Kittie lives in the home trying to hide her femininity to pass as far under the radar as possible. It doesn't work. She lives in these horrible circumstances for three years before leaving, taking the little girl with her.
She runs to the town her mother grew up in, hoping to forge a new life for herself and Hannah Marie. She runs from one abuse to another. The circumstances she finds herself living in are far from favorable and to top it off, Hannah Marie is very ill.
In a moment of compassion she helps a frail woman in her time of need. Her simple act opens a window that leads to an improved life and better circumstances for her and Hannah.
She finds that her brother's love for her never ceased and that love can be found in less than ideal circumstances. She learns that there are compassionate and helpful people around her.
At the beginning of the story, we are presented with a young woman who is abused and battered. She moves from one abusive circumstance to another, a cycle many find themselves in. Through love and kindness she finds the strength to believe in herself again and become the woman she was always meant to be. I think this is a great idea for victims to know. Life can get better. There are people who care.
The romance was rushed. But, as Jake remembers a saying "When it's right you know." Why wait when it's the right thing? The rushed romance wasn't a big deterrent for me. I felt that the story progressed at a nice pace. There wasn't a lag in the storytelling.
I enjoyed the level of spirituality present. Kittie is told by others when her life turns around that she is being helped by God. She begins to believe that. Another level is the presence she feels of her brother. I don't want to go into a lot of detail about her brother, because it is a huge part of the storyline. Just know that I enjoyed his presence in the plot and the addition his presence brings.
Content warning: cussing, sexual abuse (not fully described, but you know what's happening), violence, and mild sexual situations. It's on kindle for 99 cents.