Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won’t be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can’t help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him.
Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she’s the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.
Tessa Taylor’s precocious and resolute character first graced the pages in Hearts Made Whole, during which she jeopardized her reputation and fractured the relationship with her sister with the singular goal of escaping the hardship and emotional turmoil of life in a lighthouse. Undaunted Hope finds Tessa in a desolate mining town isolated by a relentless Michigan winter, reformed of her rebellious and impetuous youth, yet still running from the memories.
This Tessa is a woman to be admired with her selfless and valiant dedication to educating the whole town. The same tenacity that she used for ill in the past has found a new restorative purpose as Tessa attempts to atone for her destructive behaviour. Her nurturing spirit draws the affection and regard of the town, specifically two men of noble character. Brothers Alex and Michael both vie for Tessa’s affection in a love triangle that has moments of pure comedy as well as stirring devotion.
Jody Hedund has created a strong female lead character that readers want to befriend and emulate. Tessa’s is a story of redemption and sacrifice that is certain instil a message of hope in readers. Another resounding historical success for Jody Hedlund.
*Disclosure: review copy provided by author. All opinions are my own**