Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.
When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.
Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer will take you to a setting of chocolate factories and a time when children would commonly be toiling in factories. Caroline Lang goes undercover to discover the truth behind a mysterious death at a chocolate factory. While there, she is determined to further her own goals of seeing an end to child labor and helping those same children see an education. Oliver Dinsmore is determined to do his own investigation. As the heir to the chocolate company, he’s determined to see an unguarded view of the treatment of employees and operations so he can see firsthand where improvements can be made. Caroline and Oliver cross paths and sparks fly, but the truths they both learn could interfere with their own chances for a relationship.
Like other books by Kim Vogel Sawyer, her characters are such a strong aspect of her novels. This novel is no exception. I was sad to have to close the book at the end and no longer gain a glimpse into the lives of these characters. While Caroline is an overall good person, she feels authentic. The same is true for all the cast that makes up this book. Their problems and personalities feel real, and the characters have depth.
The storyline is intriguing. While parts are complex, the threads are seamlessly woven together in this novel. I was never bored with this book, and was anxious to see how everything would come together in the end. A trace of humor runs throughout, and I couldn’t help but smile or even laugh in a few of the moments.
Caroline has a strong faith, and it radiates from her person. Oliver’s questions of faith feel real and relatable to anyone who would question their faith and prayers at some point. The book has a powerful message about prayer. One that I felt blessed to be reading. I also found it encouraging to my own faith. Prayer is such an integral aspect to our relationships with God, and this book handled questions that many people have about prayer quite effectively and in a way that is relatable as well.
As a historical fiction novel, Sawyer gives the readers glimpses into the factories that employed children and their reasoning behind doing so. While this aspect was not a major focus of the novel, the thoughts of the time are seen throughout.
I really enjoyed this book. The setting was quite interesting and having just the right touch of mystery, it was a bit of a page-turner. I was sad to see it end. Not to mention, this book laces together a number of genres I really enjoy: historical fiction, romance, Christian fiction and mystery. Books like these seem to be hard to come by. At least ones that can pull it off as well as this one.
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