Love Unexpected | #HedlundChallenge2015 May Discussion & Survey

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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! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!

I don’t know about all of you, but I felt like this book started with a lot of excitement. In the first chapter alone, Emma experiences a pirate attack followed by having to abandon the ship she is aboard because it is on fire, and then her struggle to stay afloat in the frigid Michigan waters. But then she gets rescued by a man with “the kindest eyes she’d ever seen” (20).

Emma’s innocence and inexperience are obvious when she arrives at the lighthouse, newly married. Her excitement to be a wife and mother is soon tempered by the daily hardships she must learn to endure. And Patrick is the most gentle and considerate man. His interactions with his son are adorable, and his thoughtfulness towards Emma is endearing. I enjoyed reading about their new life together, as they learned so much about each other, how to trust, forgive, and love one another.

I have to say some of my favorite moments were when Patrick would ask Emma, “Will you come up to the tower tonight?”

If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on Love Unexpected, check out my original review here and Jamie’s here!

Now it’s time for some discussion questions. Share your thoughts with us!

  1. What message did you take away from Love Unexpected?
  1. What was one of your favorite scenes?
  1. Patrick lives with guilt of things he unknowingly isn’t responsible for. Only towards the end of the book is he unburdened by the truth of his past. How does this affect his relationship with Emma and the way he lives his life?
  1. Emma confides in the wrong people because she is desperate for advice. How can we use discernment when choosing friends? How can we avoid gossip in our personal lives while still sharing our lives with the people we care about?

And before you go, we have something else for you. As it is May, we are officially at the half-way point in our Jody Hedlund Challenge! We are always looking for ways to improve this challenge for our readers, so we ask that you please take this short survey on how we can make this experience even better! Thanks so much! You can take the survey here.

–> Survey <–


17 thoughts on “Love Unexpected | #HedlundChallenge2015 May Discussion & Survey

  1. I actually read this book months ago, so the details are sketchy, but I agree with you; the opening scene stands out to me as well; as does the time Patrick and Emma share in the lighthouse; intimate and romantic. Patrick is so burdened with guilt and responsibilities that he never considers how his actions and lack of communication can misrepresent who he really is. Of course Emma is wary of him and his curious “trips”. Love came to me, personally, in a very unexpected way, so I this book is a sweet reminder of how God uses so many circumstances to accomplish His will; even when it comes to love.


  2. 1. No one can ever be so deep in sin that God can not rescue them and save them. Patrick knew God’s saving Grace personally.

    2. When Patrick shows up while she is hanging out clothes and they ask forgiveness from each other and then Ryan sends her to the lighthouse.

    3.I think he learned to trust God more and gave him a peace that he was needing and that he forgive himself for his past as God had forgiven him and as Emma forgave him and he forgave her.

    4. Tough question. It is hard for me to trust anyone in sharing my deepest thoughts and concerns with anyone other than God and my husband. I’ve learned the hard way that just because you ask someone to keep what you’ve shared between you usually doesn’t mean they will. That is painful and therefore it takes years for me to trust anyone and I still have my boundaries set. How to avoid gossip? Keeping to yourself what others have confided in you and when others think they need to share about someone’s else troubles, step in and nip it in the bud and offer to pray for those having trouble and walk away. And always if needed go to the person being spoken about and confirm what is being said. Sometimes it has gotten twisted around in the “sharing” of it.


    1. Hi Karen, Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think that it’s a rare gift to find a friend who truly can keep your secret pains and fears confidential. I can count on one hand how many friends I’ve had like that! But they are a treasure when we do have them!


  3. Hello! Such fun being on the Hedlund journey this year!

    What I loved the very best about Love Unexpected was the history of the lighthouses that Jody shared at the end of the novel. I love to see how fact brings about Fiction.

    The message I took away from Love Unexpected is that it is good to give others a second chance and judge them based upon their current character rather than their past. A secondary message was sometimes a snap decision (their marriage) can turn out positive although I don’t see me making many snap decisions. 🙂 Not my style…

    Patrick was incredibly weighed down by his past. It was clear that unloading the burden lifted his spirit and confidence right away. What a blessing!

    Cultivating a good friendship takes time and experiences together. Emma saw the negative in her “friend”, but I think wanted a friend so much that she ignored the warning signs.

    As a side note, I could not picture Emma with blond hair for some reason. She had dark hair in my mind. Funny how we can get mental images that differ from the author’s.

    I look forward to continuing the series in June.


    1. Hi Staci, That’s the disadvantage of showing a cover model on the front. Then the reader doesn’t have as much left to the imagination! Interestingly, the heroines in the next two books both have dark hair (and are sisters). So the dark-haired heroine is coming soon! 🙂


      1. I’m glad you shared your thoughts with us again! It’s always good to see you here, Staci.

        This was my second time reading Love Unexpected, and knowing what happens in the end this time really enriched the story, and especially made me catch details about Patrick and his behavior that I hadn’t noticed the first time. It’s amazing how the truth really does set us free!


  4. I was a big fan of the scenes in the tower too, and the way they gradually developed the courage to show their affection, despite fear of rejection. As far as take-away message goes, I liked the quote by Emma’s brother Ryan when he says, “I’d like to think that no one can sin too much or stray too far from God that He can’t bring them back, heal them, and give them a new life.” I also really like what Staci said about giving others second chances. It’s been a while since I read the book, so for questions 3 and 4, I’m hoping I remember the details right. 🙂 For question 3, I think realizing he didn’t do what he thought he’d done relieved not just the guilt, but also the fear that something like that might happen again, despite his best intentions. For question 4, I think it’s especially hard to make good decisions in the heat of the moment. I got the feeling she didn’t intend to confide as much as she did, but kind of got swept away because she didn’t stop to think beforehand.

    I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the next one in the series. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Karen! I always enjoy reading your thoughts during these discussions. 🙂 The tower scenes were definitely some of my favorite parts of the story!

      Did you review this book? I’ll have to read your review!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with everyone else – I loved the tower scenes! I really enjoyed seeing how they risked rejection for the hope of something greater. It’s not easy – especially if you’ve been rejected in the past, so I enjoyed seeing how they overcame those fears 🙂

    Can’t wait to dive into the next one!!


  6. Hopefully I’m not too late for this discussion!

    1. The value of trust. And the beauty of prayer. One of the most favorite things I love about Patrick is his thoughts on prayer. It’s so beautiful!

    2. The part where Emma had the kitchen disaster (Chapter 10). Although I’m also a fan of the light tower scenes!

    3. Guilt is a heavy thing. I think because of that it was really hard for Patrick to give his whole self to Emma. He couldn’t truly live his life because of the fear of recommitting past actions.

    4. Wow, this is a thinker!
    I completely agree with Karen about getting lost in the heat of the moment. One way of using discernment is to know that person well -watch the warning signs, know they won’t use what you tell them in confidence against you- before sharing something from your heart. As for avoiding gossip? I’m still learning that one!


    1. You’re never to late to join the discussion! I especially like your answer to #3. Patrick’s guilt really did hold himself back from living life to the fullest, so seeing that resolution at the end gave him freedom and hope for a better future!

      Liked by 1 person

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