(The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year!)
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, which is why Jamie and I chose to start this series with Unending Devotion. We meet Lily Young, the heroine of the story, in her desperate search to find her sister who has been forced into prostitution. This novel brings to light the atrocities of forcing girls into selling their bodies.
Jody wrote in her Acknowledgments about the real people who inspired the despicable James Carr and the women victimized by his cruelty, Jennie King and Frankie Osborne. What is so inspiring about this story is her call to action. She urges readers: “May we rise up, stand tall, and fight against the injustices that still exist today.” May we truly stand up for what God has called us to do! (If you would like more resources and ways to get involved, please check out some of the works these organizations are doing: International Justice Mission, A21, End It Movement).
On a lighter note, let’s talk about the characters who grace the pages in this novel:
- Lily- Our heroine is stubborn, passionate, and is willing to die for her sister. And she’s pretty gutsy, if I do say so myself!
- Connell- He’s the boss of three lumber camps and pretty good-looking (hello, broad shoulders, green eyes, blond hair). But, he prefers to stay out of trouble when it doesn’t involve him.
- Vera- she had the most awful coffee and the strangest concoctions, but the warmest heart
- Stuart- didn’t he have the most well-intentioned yet misguided heart?
- Oren- the rough-around-the-edges old man with a heart of gold. Loved him and his fatherly love for Lily.
What quote perfectly sums up what this book was all about? Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“As long as man lives and breathes, there will always be sin in this world and consequently injustice.”
“But that doesn’t mean we should give up, sit back, and do nothing.”
“You’re right. Nor can we fight against everything. We must instead discover where God wants to use us.”
Themes of courage, love, and learning God’s purpose are intertwined throughout the pages, and brought together by this beautiful quote.
“When things don’t turn out the way we want…about the only thing we can do is know God is still there piecing together all the scraps of the events in our lives the way He has planned…He sees the big picture even when we don’t.”
This quote is a beautiful reminder that God does see everything and we can put our hope in that truth.
Now that I’ve shared my thoughts on the book, it’s time to pass the discussion over to you, readers! Here’s a few questions to get the discussion started:
- What’s something you’ve pursued relentlessly?
- What is something you’re passionate about that God has called you to do?
- Who were some of your favorite characters and why?
- What quotes stood out to you while reading?
- Do you see yourself more like Lily, who takes control of the situation, or Connell, who is more reluctant to take a risk?
Answer a couple or answer them all! Let’s get this discussion started!