Returning home after two years at the Buffalo Ladies’ Seminary, Annis Jackson believes God has blessed her with the perfect homecoming: a whirlwind romance with a man she’s loved from afar during her time at school. Except the object of her affections, Hugh Hylton, is related to her father’s most bitter enemy, a man determined to see Toledo firmly in the grip of the state of Ohio and the very one funding Hugh’s newspaper venture.
After several years of newspaper work in Buffalo, New York, Hugh Hylton jumped at his uncle’s offer of financial help to start a newspaper on the opposite shore of Lake Erie. And when he discovers during the steamship voyage to his new home that the woman he’s been dreaming about for the past year, Annis Jackson, loves him back, his future seems secure. He arrives in Port Lawrence, part of the newly named town of Toledo, ready to approach her father and declare his intentions toward her.
But Annis fears Hugh doesn’t understand the depth of the personal conflict over the positioning of Ohio’s state line and persuades him to conceal their relationship until she can prepare her father to accept Hugh in spite of his family connections. Then the Michigan militia arrives in the Toledo Strip, determined to prevent Ohio elections, and the situation gets out of hand, making their secret more difficult to guard. Suddenly the future of the newspaper—and their relationship—is as unstable as the fate of Toledo itself.
Will Hugh and Annis survive their feuding families? Only time will tell.
What I Loved: This is the Anne Mateer that I love and miss! I thoroughly enjoyed the historical detail about a conflict that I knew nothing about. The creator in me geeks out at the thought process behind developing a story based on a microscopic moment in history. The characters were endearing and well-crafted. I especially adored the relationship between the sisters and the “Whoa, Philly” remarks. I wasn’t sure if the romance would keep my attention as well since it was about an established couple trying to navigate the difficulties surrounding them versus falling in love for the first time, but I found myself really enjoying it. And Mateer weaves all of this together with a solid message on repentance and trusting Christ to care for even the details of your life.
Rating and Recommendations: I give it 5 stars and recommend it to those looking for a Christian historical novella or those interested in Michigan/Ohio history.