In Undaunted Hope, Tessa must face many challenges as a new teacher in Eagle Harbor, a mining town in northern Michigan, in 1871. Classified as historical fiction, there's a wonderful author's note at the end of the book speaking to what parts were historical. Tessa and the school house she works at are modeled off a school teacher's diary from the time period.
The antagonist, Percival Updegraff, is the chief mine clerk who takes advantage of his position of power to rule the town, limiting supplies, punishing protesters with longer work hours, and even raping the miners' wives. He is also unfortunately based off a real person.
Though most people in the town are afraid to speak against Updegraff, Tessa and the two lighthouse keepers are employed by the state, not the mine, and therefore find themselves locked in a constant battle trying to end Updegraff's tyrannical reign.
The lighthouse keepers, brothers Michael and Alex Bjorklund, have their own little battle going on as well, as they've both taken a fancy to Tessa. But with Updegraff's strict rules that married women can't teach, Tessa struggles with how to maintain a pure reputation and keep her distance from the two men.
Haunted by her past growing up in a lighthouse, Tessa's also convinced that she'll have nothing to do with one ever again - not after she saw the dangers firsthand.
Undaunted Hope is, as the title suggests, a story of hope and personal growth. Tessa's character is determined to live a Godly life and be a blessing to those in her new community. She goes out of her way to hold after school spelling classes to prepare for a spelling bee, and even an evening class for adults, all without extra compensation. The story definitely has a dark side with death, rape, and hints of murder, but through it all the characters place their faith in God and trust in him. This novel is the third book in the Beacons of Hope series, but the first one I've read, which didn't hurt my enjoyment of the book.
It was a very fast and captivating read, and the historical detail was exceptionally well-done. As I said, the author's note at the end did a fabulous job of putting the entire story in perspective.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.