As a recent fan of Jody Hedlund, I was excited to read her newest novella, Out of the Storm (Beacons of Hope). Although this novella’s plot was not quite as intense of some of her other historical novels, author Jody Hedlund still delivers a delightful tale of hope and loss, expectations and realities, and future possibilities.
The story begins in a storms and ends in a storm, but so much happens in between. Isabelle Thornton lives with her father who is light keeper of an isolated lighthouse on the Michigan coastline. As an only child, living with her widowed father, Isabelle has limited experience with strangers outside her tiny cottage. When her father rescues an injured man from a shipwreck, Isabelle finds herself confronting many new experiences, some terrifying and some exhilarating.
Hedlund does an incredible job of communicating Isabelle’s fear and insecurities to us in a raw, palpable way. As Isabelle struggles to deal with the fear that hovers over her future, she discovers much in the present that gives her hope for a different future than she planned for.
While the stranded Henry drastically changes life for Isabelle, I found his character less authentic than Isabelle’s character. Henry seems sincere in his behavior and promises to Isabelle, but I hoped for a more substantive evidence of his inner transformation to become a better person.
Regardless, I love how Hedlund transports us to the coast and into lives of keepers of lighthouses almost effortlessly with her inimitable talent for carefully choosing historical details that create such vivid and breathing plots.