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Thr Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason is the third book in the Canadian Crossings series, but it can be read independently, I didn’t read the previous books and had no problems (it did mention the main characters of the other novels, and I think it would be nice to see how they all faired if I’d read the previous books). I’m now very curious after the other books and I have made reservations at the library, as there is a waiting list for all Susan’s books!

In this novel we follow Quinn and Julia with the occasional POV of Mrs. C., a wonderful boarding house lady. It’s 1919, and Quinn has returned from the war only to find that his family was torn apart. His mother is in the working house, and his 3 siblings went to an orphanage and ended up in Canada, where they became contracted laborers. Quinn made a promiss to his dying father he would keep the family together and feels like he has totally failed his promise, and sets off to Canada to bring them all home. But first he visits his former employer to ask if he can get his job as valet back after he finds his siblings. The earl sees an opportunity as his niece is in Canada as well, and he’d like her to return. If she indeed returns, he will reward Quinn with what he truly wants: a farm of his own. With this incentive Quinn really can’t say no and sets off to Canada.

This book literally kept me up at night. There were so many twists and turns and the plot thickens so much! There were quite a few side stories which I really loved, but of course the main plot of whether the siblings would be found was very intruiging. And haunting, too. To imagine that so many children (100,000 as the author explains in the end) were shipped off to a new country, often with relatives still in England, and forced to work under often dire circumstances with no protection and no way to escape the contract, it broke my heart. I had never heard of this, and it was appalling. I applaud the author for tackling such a heavy subject that should not be overlooked. Because you can see what happens to the siblings, and how powerless even a brother is, it really hits home. Thank goodness there was a lot of kindness too! I love how fiercely protective Quinn is of his family, and is literally 24/7 busy creating a right future for everyone and making sure everyone is safe. He can be a bit overprotective at times, because often the reality is different than he imagined in his head, and to adjust to reality is a bit hard for him. But he always does the honorable thing and is a true gentleman.

Julia has left her privileged life to care for wounded soldiers, and then went back to Canada with a soldier who needed her help. However, bad things have happened and she is forced to take a job that barely pays and live in a hovel with a leering landlord, and is down to her last penny. I kept yelling in my head for Quinn to arrive and help her out of this terrible situation, and thankfully he did. Shouldn’t have been a day later. Quinn already made some new friends who can help, and Julia ends up in a boarding house with Mrs. C. who is a true gem. She has her own story to tell, and how she practices faith is really inspiring. I really loved the subtle themes of forgiveness, mercy and justice and I also really admired how Julia, with her privileged background, really trusted in God and that He would care for her day by day. That was very inspiring, especially as she teached Quinn this lesson by example. There is talk of faith in this book, but it’s not preachy and not in your face, which I personally really like.

I really loved all the characters (except one lol, but he made an excellent villain and his arc was really good), they were all fleshed out and had their own motives. The romance was top notch and exciting and the writing style impressed me, I just couldn’t stop reading. And those twists and turns were amazing! I absolutely loved this book and I could go on and on with this review, which already turned out a bit too long. This is a story everyone will love, with a lot of depth and richness and you simply can’t stop reading because you need to know what happens next.

I received a free e-copy from Bethany House through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reacties op: Couldn’t put it down!

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The Brightest of Dreams - Susan Anne Mason
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