What Once Was Lost
Christina Willems is out of a job when the poor farm she supervises catches fire in 1890 small-town Kansas. She has trouble finding enough charitable townspeople willing to house her charges, especially little blind Tommy. With difficulty, she persuades reclusive mill owner Levi Jonnson to take Tommy in. Christina’s problems continue–she must earn her keep as kitchen help for a cantankerous boarding house owner while the mission board dithers over rebuilding the poor farm, and she tussles with Levi over his notions on caring for Tommy. A crisis comes after Christina is accused of stealing from the mercantile at the same time Tommy disappears.
This is a gentle inspirational romance, with a generous dollop of religious content. Christina and Levi are interesting characters. She thinks she has failed the memory of her father, who supervised the poor farm before his death; and Levi wrestles with memories of his own father suffering depression over being wronged in business. The pace is on the slow side, however, and the ending involves a bit of deus ex machina in the form of a rich patron. Christian fiction fans will likely forgive these small faults and still enjoy it.