Welcome to the LAST month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on YOUR favorite time period, and my choice of story was Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.

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Stealing Jake by [Pam Hillman]

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman


I picked up this book on clearance because it hit some of my favorite story elements for a fun read: a lawman, crime rings, a reformed criminal, and orphans. I wasn’t familiar with Pam Hillman, but after reading this, I will definitely look into some of her other books and novellas. While I wouldn’t say there were any unexpected plot twists, it was a fun and engaging story that I will likely reread in the future.

I loved the premise behind the criminal ring of street children being bought for use in sweatshops. I hadn’t read a story that touched on that dark side of our history (and let’s be honest, it is still going on today in a different format), and I really enjoyed seeing the town’s opinion of those kids change over the course of the story. As a former street kid and current sweatshop escapee, Livy’s and Luke’s perspectives really added to the understanding of these kids’ plight that garners compassion for a group that is easily written off. The tension between the romance was on the lighter side, but it was fun watching Livy and Jake fall in love and overcome the obstacles of prejudice and fear that stand between them. 

Overall, I’d recommend this story for those looking for a light read, and those who enjoy criminal plots, lawmen heroes, sweet romances, and stories where communities learn to accept a previously rejected group of kids.

Genre: Historical Romance, 1874 Illinois

Plot Overview:

When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-Fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

What I loved: I loved the plot with the street children and how the town’s view of the kids changed throughout the book. 

Favorite Character and Why: I really enjoyed all the street kids and orphan kids as a whole. Luke in particular was one who will live on in my memory for a while. He really struggled to help those still stuck in the sweatshop while trying to save his brother. Learning to trust was hard for him, but I loved how resourceful and determined he was. He’ll make a great hero one day. 

Who would like this? I’d recommend this story for those looking for a light read, and those who enjoy criminal plots, lawmen heroes, sweet romances, and stories where communities learn to accept a previously rejected group of kids.

Rating and Why: Four Stars. I enjoyed the storyline and characters and the character arcs were satisfactory. It was a good read that kept my attention but was easy to set down and pick back up when family interruptions occurred–even if those interruptions still annoyed me.


*This is an older book that if you choose to purchase will probably be used, on clearance, or an ebook.

Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Christianbook.com

Monthly Giveaway

For your chance to win a print copy, comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on January 7th at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn sometime that week and notified by email. The winner will be announced don’t the Rafflecopter widget. *Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 End of the Year Giveaway

Each time you commented on what book you read, I added your entry to my database. After all entries are added after December 7th, I will draw the winner for the 12 books and announce it in a post after contacting the winner. So don’t forget to get your last entry in before January 7th.

What did YOU read in December? Will you be participating in the 2022 Challenge? (Details here.)

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