Searching for You (Orphan Train Book 3)

Reviewed by:

Linda Taylor, assistant professor of Professional Writing at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

Book Title:

Searching for You (Orphan Train Book 3)


Jody Hedlund


Bethany House

Publication Date:



Print book


338 pages


This third and final installment to Hedlund’s Orphan Train series follows With You Always (book 1) and Together Forever (book 2). Readers of the series will enjoy learning more about Sophie and Reinhold, along with the children Sophie takes care of, Olivia and Nicholas. Though this reviewer has not read the previous installments, this story read on its own was enjoyable and complete (although at the end, it does feel like more backstory would help make the ending even more satisfying—which just means it would be a good idea for libraries to also have books 1 and 2).

In this book, Sophie realizes the danger she and her young charges (Olivia and Nicholas) are in by staying in New York City. She and her friend Anna make the decision to find a way to join the Children’s Aid Society, which takes orphans out of the cities and into rural areas. They are taken to rural Illinois, where they are chosen to go into various families. The book chronicles their adventures as they try to assimilate into their new situations.

Hedlund explains in an author’s note at the end the research that went into this story. Modern readers may bristle at the thought of orphans being sent out from cities to rural communities where local families come and “choose” them—often based on their needs (strong young men to help in the fields; young children for a family with no kids; young teen girls to help with housework). Hedlund explains, “While their practices and philosophies might not necessarily align with how we choose to do things today, for the most part their efforts stemmed from the desire to improve conditions for the thousands of orphans living in both orphanages and on the streets.”

The research in this book and the strong and likeable characters make the book a satisfying and fast read, on its own or as the finale to the three-book series.


Rating (1 to 5):

5 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Readers who enjoy historical fiction. Due to some of the more sensual scenes in a love story and ultimate marriage between Sophie and Reinhold (very tastefully written), the book might be better for those 16 and older.

Christian Impact:

Hedlund does a great job with Christian characters who express their faith but are not heavy handed. The struggles the characters have (anger, guilt) feel very real, as does their eventual willingness to find a way to let go and give to God.

Other Notes (Optional):

As mentioned above, younger readers may not understand the concept of children basically being given to a variety of families that were not always well vetted. In addition, the love story that develops between Reinhold and Sophie crackles with attraction. While the more sensual scenes are set once they are married, and while Hedlund does a beautiful job of being tasteful yet very real, the intensity of those scenes might also be too much for young readers. In addition, one of the children (Olivia) is treated very poorly by the family she goes into, and Anna faces attempted rape (we do not get the scene, just the aftermath when she comes for help). These themes are quite mature.

Searching for You (Orphan Train, #3)

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