Stealing Jake

Stealing Jake

4.2 90
by Pam Hillman
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781414366616
Publisher:
Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
06/28/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
324,552
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Stealing Jake

A Novel


By PAM HILLMAN, Erin E. Smith

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Pam Hillman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0126-7


CHAPTER 1

CHESTNUT, ILLINOIS

NOVEMBER 1874

The ill-dressed, grimy child jostled a broad-shouldered cowboy, palming the man's pocket watch. Gold flashed as the thief discreetly handed his prize to another youngster shuffling along the boardwalk toward Livy O'Brien.

Livy didn't miss a thing—not the slick movements, not the tag-team approach. None of it.

Neither boy paid her any attention. And why should they? To them she was no more than a farmer's wife on her way home from the mercantile or maybe one of the workers over at the new glove factory.

If they only knew.

Her gaze cut to the man's back. When he patted down his pockets and his stride faltered, she made a split-second decision. As the thin boy with the timepiece passed, she knocked him into a pile of snow shoveled to the side of the wooden walkway. She reached out, pulled the child to his feet, and dusted him off so fast he didn't have time to move, let alone squirm away. She straightened his threadbare coat, two sizes too big and much too thin for an icebound Illinois winter. "Oh, I'm so sorry. Did I hurt you?"

Fathomless dark eyes stared at her from a hollow face. Eyes that reminded her of her own in the not-so-distant past. She wanted to hug him, take him home with her.

"No, ma'am." The words came out high-pitched and breathless.

"Hey, you!" The man hurried toward them.

Fear shuddered across the boy's face, and he jerked free of her grasp and darted down a nearby alley.

Livy let him go and stepped into the man's path, bracing herself as he slammed into her. The impact sent both of them hurtling toward the snowbank. The stranger wrapped his arms around her and took the brunt of the fall, expelling a soft grunt as Livy landed on top of him. Her gaze tripped off the end of her gloved fingers and collided with a pair of intense jade-green eyes. She stared, mesmerized by long, dark lashes and tiny lines that fanned out from the corners of his eyes. A hint of a smile lifted one corner of his mouth.

A slamming door jerked Livy back to reality.

Heat rushed to her face, and she rolled sideways, scrambling to untangle herself. What would Mrs. Brooks think of such an unladylike display?

"Ma'am?" Large, gloved hands grabbed her shoulders and pulled her to her feet. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine."

"Those kids stole my watch." A muscle jumped in his jaw.

"Are you sure?" Remorse smote her with the same force as that of the stranger's body knocking her into the snow. She'd reacted, making a split-second decision that could have resulted in catastrophe.

"Yes, ma'am." He patted his sheepskin coat again. Suddenly he stilled and removed the watch from his pocket. "Well, I'll be. I could've sworn ..." He gave her a sheepish look. "Sorry for running into you like that, ma'am."

Livy breathed a sigh and pulled her cloak tight against the cold. Disaster averted. Forgive me, Lord. I hope I did the right thing. "That's all right. No harm done."

The stranger pushed his hat back, releasing a tuft of dark, wavy hair over his forehead. "I don't believe we've met. Jake Russell."

Her gaze flickered toward the alley that had swallowed up the boy. She didn't make a habit of introducing herself to strangers, but revealing her name might keep Mr. Russell's mind off the boys who'd waylaid him. "Livy O'Brien."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. O'Brien."

"Miss O'Brien," she said. At least the gathering twilight masked the flush she could feel stealing across her cheeks.

Was it her imagination, or did the grin on Jake Russell's face grow wider?

"Pleased to meet you, Miss O'Brien. May I escort you to wherever you're going?" His eyes twinkled. "It'll be dark soon, and a lady shouldn't be out alone after dark."

Livy sobered. She'd never claimed to be a lady. The tiny glow inside her faded with the setting sun. Mr. Russell would never be interested in Light-Fingered Livy O'Brien. "No thank you, Mr. Russell. I'm not going far. I'll be fine."

"I'd feel better, ma'am." He gestured toward the alley. "Especially after what happened."

He held out his arm, one eyebrow cocked in invitation. Her emotions warred with her head. She shouldn't allow such liberties, but what harm would it do to let him escort her home?

Just once.

She placed her hand in the crook of his arm. "Very well. Thank you, Mr. Russell."

"Call me Jake."

Livy's heart gave a nervous flutter. Did Mr. Russell mask his intentions behind a gentlemanly face and kindly words? A common enough practice where she came from. "I'm afraid using your given name would be a little too familiar. I don't know anything about you."

"Well, I can remedy that. What do you want to know?"

Livy shook her head, softening her refusal with a smile. It wouldn't do to ask the man questions about himself. If she did, then he'd feel at liberty to ask questions of his own. Questions she didn't want to answer.

He chuckled. "You sure are a shy little thing, Miss O'Brien."

Better to let him think her bashful than know the truth. A couple of years ago, she might have spun a yarn or two to keep him entertained, but no longer. If she couldn't speak the truth, she'd say nothing at all.

Her silence didn't stop him. "You must be new around here. I don't remember seeing you before."

"I arrived in Chestnut about two months ago."

"That explains it. I've only been back in town a few weeks myself."

Livy darted a glance from the corner of her eye to study him. Discreetly, of course—she'd at least learned something from Mrs. Brooks. The top of her head barely reached his chin, and broad shoulders filled out his coat. A late-afternoon shadow dusted his firm jawline.

He stepped off the boardwalk and helped her across a patch of ice. Her stomach flopped when his green eyes connected with hers, and she blurted out the first thing that popped into her mind. "Oh? Where've you been?"

She could've bitten her tongue. She shouldn't have asked, but curiosity had gotten the best of her. What made her want to know more about Jake Russell? Mercy, why should she even wonder about the man? He wasn't anyone she should worry with.

If only her foolish girl's heart would listen to reason.

"Taking care of some business in Missouri. It's good to be home, though."

They ambled in silence past the Misses Huff Millinery Shop and the recently opened Chinese laundry. The scent of green lumber tickled Livy's nose, bringing forth the image of the fresh sprig of mistletoe hung over the door of the orphanage.

The boardwalk ended just past the laundry. Livy gestured into the gathering darkness. "It's a little farther down this way."

"I don't mind."

The snow-covered ground lay frozen, Livy's footprints from when she'd trekked into town the only evidence of anyone being out and about on this frigid day.

They rounded the bend, and Livy eased her hand from the warmth of Jake's arm when they came within sight of the rambling two-story house nestled under a grove of cottonwoods. "Thank you, Mr. Russell. This is where I live."

* * *

Jake studied the building before returning his attention to the petite lady at his side. He'd known the moment he laid eyes on her that they hadn't met. He would have remembered. "This is the new orphanage, isn't it?"

"Yes. That's right."

"I heard someone opened one up. 'Bout time. Lots of young'uns needing a place to stay these days."

"We already have five children in our care."

They stepped onto the porch, and she pushed the hood of her cape back. Light from inside the house shot fire through reddish-brown curls and revealed a smattering of freckles across a pert nose.

She'd knocked the wind out of him earlier, and the feeling came back full force now.

Whoa.

Jake stepped back, putting some distance between them. He didn't have the time or the energy to be thinking about a girl, no matter how pretty she might be. His days and nights were chock-full as it was. He tipped his hat. "Good night, Miss O'Brien."

Her smile lit up the dreary winter landscape. "Thank you for escorting me home, Mr. Russell. Good night."

He headed back toward town, rehashing the brief conversation he'd had with Livy O'Brien. She'd sure seemed reluctant to talk about herself. Come to think of it, she hadn't told him much of anything.

Did he make her nervous? He should have told her who he was, but the thought hadn't crossed his mind. Knowing he was a sheriff's deputy would have put her at ease, but she hadn't seemed the least bit interested in who he was or what he did for a living.

He continued his rounds, confident he'd find out more about Miss Livy O'Brien soon enough. It was part of his job, plain and simple. He chuckled. He didn't remember anything in his job description that said he needed to investigate every beautiful lady he ran across. Still, it was his job to protect the town, and the more he knew about its inhabitants, the better.

Not that Chestnut needed protection from Livy O'Brien. A pretty little filly like her wouldn't hurt a fly.

His steps faltered when he stuffed his hands in his pockets and his fingers slid over the cool, polished surface of his father's gold watch. Not prone to jump to conclusions or get easily flustered, he'd been certain those kids had lifted his timepiece. How could he have been so mistaken?

Good thing he'd bumped into Miss O'Brien, or he would have had a hard time explaining why he'd chased an innocent kid down the street.

Still, he had reason to be suspicious. There'd been reports of scruffy young boys like the two tonight roaming the streets of Chestnut. Urchins from back East, Sheriff Carter said. Run out of Chicago, they rode the train to the nearest town large enough to provide easy pickings.

He settled his hat more firmly on his head. Those ragamuffins didn't know it yet, but they shouldn't have stopped in Chestnut. The town wasn't big enough for thieves and robbers to hide out for long.

Jake clomped along the boardwalk, part of his thoughts on the youngsters, part on the girl he'd left at the orphanage, and part registering the sights and sounds of merchants shutting down for the night.

He hesitated as he spied Paul Stillman locking up the bank. An urge to turn down the nearest alley assaulted him, but he doggedly stayed his course.

The banker lifted a hand. "Jake. Wait up a minute."

A knot twisted in Jake's gut. Would Stillman call in his loan today?

The portly man hurried toward him, his hand outstretched, a wide smile on his florid face. "Jake. How're things going?"

"Fine." Jake shook the banker's hand, the knot intensifying. Mr. Stillman's continued grace made him feel worse than if the banker had demanded payment on the spot.

"And your mother?" His concern poured salt on Jake's unease.

"She's doing well."

"That's good. I should be going, then. I just wanted to check on the family."

Jake rubbed his jaw. "Look, Mr. Stillman, I appreciate all you've done for my family, but I'm going to pay off that loan. Every penny of it."

The banker sobered. "I know you will, Jake. I never doubted it for a minute. The last couple of years have been tough for you and Mrs. Russell."

"Pa wouldn't have borrowed money against the farm if he'd known...." Jake's throat closed. "If the crops hadn't failed the last two summers, I could've made the payments."

The banker took off his glasses and rubbed them with a white handkerchief. His eyes pinned Jake, razor sharp in intensity. "That investor is still interested in buying your father's share of the Black Gold mine, you know."

"The answer is no. I'm not selling." Jake clenched his jaw. He wouldn't be party to more death and destruction.

"That's what I thought you'd say." Stillman sighed. "I admire your determination to protect miners by not selling, but as much as I'd like to, I can't carry that loan forever."

Jake shifted his weight, forcing his muscles to relax. It wasn't the banker's fault that life had dealt him a losing hand. "I know. This summer will be better."

"We'll see." Mr. Stillman stuffed the cloth in his pocket, settled his glasses on his nose, and tugged his coat close against the biting wind. "I'd better get on home. This weather is going to be the death of me. Say hello to your mother for me, will you?"

"I'll do that. Good night."

The banker waved a hand over his shoulder and hurried away. Jake stared after him. Would this summer be any different from last year? It would take a miracle to bring in enough from the farm to pay off the loan against the defunct mine.

A sharp blast rent the air, signaling the evening shift change at the mines. Jake turned northward. The low hills sat shrouded in a blanket of pure, white snow. Peaceful.

An illusion. The mines beneath the ground held anything but purity. Coal dust, death, and destruction existed there.

Along with enough coal to pay off the loan.

Jake turned his back on the mine and walked away.

* * *

Mrs. Brooks glanced up from the coal-burning stove when Livy entered the kitchen. "How'd it go?"

Livy took off her cloak and hung it on a nail along with several threadbare coats in varying sizes before moving to warm her hands over the stovetop. She closed her eyes and breathed deep. The aroma of vegetable soup simmering on the stove and baking bread welcomed her home. "Nobody's hiring. Not even the glove factory."

Mrs. Brooks sank into an old rocker. The runners creaked as she set the chair in motion. "What are we going to do?"

Worry lines knit the older woman's brow, and Livy turned away. She rubbed the tips of her fingers together. How easy it would be to obtain the money needed to keep them afloat. Livy had visited half a dozen shops today, all of them easy pickings.

She slammed a lid on the shameful images. Those thoughts should be long gone, but they snuck up on her when she was most vulnerable. When Mrs. Brooks's faith wavered, Livy's hit rock bottom.

She balled her hands into fists and squeezed her eyes shut. Lord, I don't want to go back to that life. Ever.

Livy forced herself to relax and turned to face Mrs. Brooks. "Maybe the citizens of Chestnut will help."

"I've tried, Livy. A few have helped us out, mostly by donating clothes their own children have outgrown. And I'm more than thankful. But money to keep up with the payments on this old place? And food?" Her gaze strayed toward the bucket of coal. "Except for our guardian angel who keeps the coal bin full, most everybody is in about as bad a shape as we are. They don't have much of anything to give."

"Don't worry, ma'am." Livy patted the older woman's shoulder, desperate to hear the ironclad faith ring in her voice. "You keep telling me the Lord will provide."

Mrs. Brooks smiled. "You're right, dear. He will. I've told you time and again that we should pray for what we need, and here I am, doubting the goodness of God. Let's pray, child. The Lord hasn't let me down yet, and I'm confident He never will."

The rocker stopped, and Mrs. Brooks took Livy's hand in hers and closed her eyes. "Lord, You know the situation here. We've got a lot of mouths to feed and not much in the pantry. Livy is doing all she can, and I thank You for her every day. We're asking You to look down on us and see our need. These children are Yours, Lord, and we need help in providing food for them and keeping a roof over their heads. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen." She heaved herself out of the rocker and headed to the stove, a new resolve in her step. "Call the children, Livy. It's almost time for supper."

Livy trudged down the hall to the parlor. The short prayer had cheered Mrs. Brooks but hadn't done much to ease Livy's worry. She'd have to find some way to bring in a few extra dollars if they were to make it to spring. Otherwise, she and Mrs. Brooks and the small brood of children they'd taken in would be on the streets of Chestnut before winter's end. The elderly woman would never survive if that happened.

A wave of panic washed over her like fire sweeping through the slums of Chicago. Livy couldn't have another life on her conscience. She took a deep breath. They weren't on the streets yet. And as long as they had a roof over their heads and food on the table, there was hope.

She stepped into the parlor. Mary, the eldest child at twelve, kept the younger ones occupied on a quilt set up in the corner. The two boys, Seth and Georgie, stacked small wooden blocks, then howled with laughter when they knocked the tower down, only to start the process again.

"Libby! Libby!" a sweet voice trilled.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Stealing Jake by PAM HILLMAN, Erin E. Smith. Copyright © 2011 Pam Hillman. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Stealing Jake 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
MaryConnealy More than 1 year ago
This book has it all. Romance, danger, action, humor, heart. All wrapped up in a historical romance set in with such an interesting backdrop. Sweat shops, coal mines, orphans and gunfights. Such a fast read, there was so much going on that you'd have though the main characters wouldn't have time to fall in love. Ah but they did. I'm smiling as I type because I loved it and love thinking about sweet, vulnerable, valient Livy and heroic, protective Jake. Pam Hillman has written a gem of a book with Stealing Jake.
JoanneTroppello More than 1 year ago
Livy O'Brien used to be known as LightFingered Livy, but that was back in the days when pickpocketing was a way of life for her-a survival mechanism. Now she is a Christian and living in a small, but burgeoning town outside of Chicago. She lives with Mrs. Brooks at the local orphanage. Her experiences from the harsh childhood of living on the streets and stealing to survive have become a catalyst to her heart for saving children stuck in similar circumstances. All she wants to do is save the children and show them God's love. Livy is not looking for love or marriage. Although, life has a way of sneaking up on us and she finds that out first hand. She never expected she'd literally run into the man of her dreams. Jake Russell is the Sheriff's Deputy and he has his own problems to deal with-an outstanding loan on his family's farm, investigating the culprits behind a surge of robberies in town and dealing with grief over the loss of close family and friends, in a mining accident. He wasn't looking for love either. God has different plans for their lives and He shows up in the little town of Chestnut, Illinois.in a big way. I'm more of a contemporary romance kind of girl, so when I agreed to review this book, I wasn't sure how I would like it. Stealing Jake stole my own reader's heart from the get-go. Ms. Hillman's writing style easily swept me into the story and I wanted to devour each chapter and actually went to bed late several nights all because I wanted to read just one more chapter. One of the most appealing factors was the character development. I really got to know Livy and Jake and all of the other fascinating people of Chestnut. Ms. Hillman's attention to detail was just the right amount to give me enough information about the historical setting and to see the scene without boring me to tears with endless, useless minutiae. After I finished reading Stealing Jake and I visited Ms. Hillman's website, I was surprised to learn that this was her debut novel. It read nothing like a debut. I thought I was reading the work of a seasoned multi-published author. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of Ms. Hillman's future novels. Stealing Jake is one book that I highly recommend.
mustlovetoread More than 1 year ago
Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman I received Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman from Vicky Lynch at Tyndale publishing in exchange for a book review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The characters are very believable and the situations they encounter make for an enjoyable and interesting story. There are many different plot lines running throughout the book. Livy used to be on the streets, until she learned to trust Mrs. Brooks. Jake is the deputy; he feels everything has to be in order before he can love and live his own life. Mrs. Brooks runs the orphanage. There are also kids being kidnapped and kids loose on the streets. Livy catches two kids stealing a watch from the deputy. She recognizes what they are doing because that is what she used to do as well. Her heart goes out to them and she tries her best to help them. Then, she runs into Jake Russell-literally. She can't trust him and runs from the law and love. Livy has to learn to accept her salvation and increase her faith in what God has done and will do for her. Jake has to learn to love, but then he has to convince Livy to trust him-even though he is the law. If you are looking for a great romance, a good mystery, and following Livy and Jake's walk in faith, this book is for you! You will be hooked from page one, and won't want to put the book down. Pam Hillman has a knack for telling an awesome story. She will draw you in, and won't let you go until it's all wrapped up!
JanetRuth More than 1 year ago
Moving to Chestnut, Illinois in the 1870's, Livy knows first-hand what it's like to live on the street. Her heart goes out to any children struggling for their very survival. Together with elderly Mrs. Brooks, Livy has started an orphanage to help the children. They don't have much to offer but somehow are able to provide a place to stay, nourishing food and unconditional love. A cycle of robberies occur in the small frontier town, and of course the street kids are blamed. Livy knows the kids are innocent, and just struggling to survive. She works tirelessly trying to convince the kids to trust her and move into the orphanage. Jake Russell is working as a sheriff's deputy, desperate to earn enough to keep the family farm. His day to day run-ins with the street kids and Livy soon change his mind about the true victims in the small town. For a really different kind of historical fiction story, check out Stealing Jake. It was very interesting to get a glimpse into the plight of homeless children so many years ago. And who doesn't love a great story of romance?
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
An incredible read!This book has so much within it. Excitement, love, redemption, trust, suspense for starters. Jake Russell is working as a deputy in the town of Chestnut, Illinois. His father and 28 others were killed in a mine explosion some years earlier and he was trapped in the mine. He was not about to go back. Livy O'Brien grew up on the streets of Chicago, literally. She only had her sister Katie but she died. When the town of Chestnut started having robberies they were blaming street kids. Livy knew they would not draw attention to themselves and tried to convince Jake of it. It is heart wrenching to think of kids being on the streets and having to survive. This was fiction but that is a also a fact. This book definitely pulls on the heart strings. They were taking these street kids from Chicago to work in a factory in Chestnut. You see some of the kids being separated from their siblings. A side story is Luke who was able to escape but he is still searching for his brother Mark. There are many unique characters as well. Gus and his donkey Little bit, Emma who owns a cafe, Mary and Gracie. This is just an excellent story.
Crazyfool82 More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters in this story and the faith they had in their higher power,looking forward for more awesome stories to come!!!
Bookworm29JT More than 1 year ago
I love this wonderful heartfelt story! I just finished reading Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman. It is the story of Livy O'Brien, A pick-pocketing street kid from Chicago who was taken in by Mrs Brooks, a few years before. All she wants is to leave her past behind her and to help out with the orphanage that her and Mrs Brooks opened in Chestnut, Illinois. When she spies a boy bump into Deputy Jake Russell and discreetly steal his pocket watch. She intervenes by "bumping" into the boy and discreetly removing the pocket watch from his pocket. As she turns around to return it to the Deputy, she is nearly run over as he had started to run after the boy. While seeing if Livy is all right after he nearly ran her over , Jake reaches in his pocket and removes the pocket watch that he had thought was stolen. Glad that he did not chase a kid down and accuse him falsely, he focuses on the curly haired lady in from of him. Jake takes her home and is surprised that she lives and works at the Orphanage. He tries to stop thinking about her but he still cannot seem to get her out of his mind, He wants to get to know her better but she does not seem willing to trust any man. Livy senses the growing attraction between herself and Deputy Jake but will not let her guard down, Not after what happened to her sister, besides a Lawman would never be attracted to her if he knew that she used to be called "Light-fingered Livy". After a string of robberies start occurring in their small town, everyone blames the street kids that have taken residence in "shantytown" a small section of town filled with buildings that should have been condemned and empty crates that serve as shelter for the street kids . As the town tries to get rid of the street kids, Livy is determined to get them to trust her so that she can take care of them at the Orphanage. She is convinced that it is not the street kids that are stealing items from the local businesses, but can she convince everyone else that they are innocent? After someone attempts to murder both Livy and Jake, They have to race against the clock to save the lives of several street kids. Will they be able to rescue the kids and clear there names or will the events of Livy's past cloud the towns judgment? I thought that the book was very well written. This is the first book that I have read from Mrs Hillman and I love her writing style. The story was very easy to follow and the plot was so engaging that I finished the book in a matter of hours, I just did not want to put it down! I love the character Livy and her compassion and determination to help the street kids and I like that we also get a glimpse into a street kid's point of view. The ending was definitely the best part, with so much going on in the last 100 pages it is impossible to put the book down. Overall I would give it 5 Stars. I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was not asked to write a favorable review, Just a honest one.
DeliaLatham More than 1 year ago
Beautiful. Heartwarming. Soul-stirring. I could go on, but why? STEALING JAKE is wonderful. I laughed. I cried. I squirmed with conviction for not doing enough for others, not caring enough about the less fortunate. I ached with sorrow for little ones without a place to lay their heads. If touching the reader’s emotions is what makes a book memorable, then STEALING JAKE is destined to be absolutely unforgettable. I won’t rehash the plotline—the back cover text does that quite well. But I will say that this storyline includes a little bit of everything, from down home, Old West derring-do to streetwise city kids. From orphans who capture the heart without half trying to rebellious teens who don’t appreciate the comfort of a loving home. Suspense. Humor. Romance. All there. All perfectly delivered. A debut novel this good is bound to present the author a challenge. Can she do it again? I think so. STEALING JAKE is a showcase of solid writing skills, vivid imagination, and excellent plotting devices. Pam Hillman will have no problem creating another stellar tale…and this reader will definitely be in line to see what it’s about.
AdkMtn More than 1 year ago
What a great story. I'll be looking forward to more books by this author.
LoveMonterey More than 1 year ago
Though Christian fiction is not my normal cup of tea, this was a very sweet story about redemption, forgiveness, and learning to look past one's prejudices. The religious aspect was heavy-handed, to say the least, but easily forgiven if you consider the genre. Overall, it was an enjoyable read that made me wish the world was as good as Livy and Mrs. Brooks.
HSMomof4 More than 1 year ago
Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman is a wonderful historical fiction novel that shows the forgiving love and amazing grace our our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. "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." This story has it all... romance, suspense, danger, humor, and more! The characters are well-developed and have you cheering them on! I especially enjoyed Gus, a quiet man who helped out his neighbors in the dark of night, not wishing to be known for his acts of kindness. Throughout the story, God's grace and mercy and forgiveness shine through. How many of us can say we have never sinned or have nothing hiding in our past that we don't wish people to know? Yet, Livy, who lived on the streets of Chicago as a child, comes forward to share her past to help the street children of Chestnut. Her desire to help others trumped her need to keep her past in the past. How many of us would put our lives "out there" to help others? My rating: 5 stars I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for my review.
JennJenn81 More than 1 year ago
I read this over the course of a week while spending my daily 30 on the treadmill. It was cute, kinda predictable, but still a nice read. I liked the spin on Livy's character--it's not often that thieves make good heroines. Nice piece of Christian fiction.
Cindy-J 6 months ago
Pam Hillman begins Stealing Jake with some desperate choices by street kids trying to survive impossible situations. Livy O’Brien has recently moved to Chestnut, Illinois and is helping care for kids at the orphanage, but donations are few and money is scarce. Known in Chicago as Light-Fingered Livy, she has the skills to obtain what the kids need, but she left Chicago and her old lifestyle behind and doesn’t ever plan to return. As a relatively new Christian, sometimes it’s hard to trust God to provide what is needed though. Can she truly leave her past behind and trust God to supply those needs? Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Russell is trying to catch the thieves who have been breaking into local stores. The number of thefts is on the rise, and the townspeople are complaining about the increasing number of street kids around town. The townspeople believe that if he would only arrest those kids, the thefts would stop. Livy knows the street kids aren’t to blame, but can she convince Jake without revealing her past? Will Jake give the street kids the benefit of “innocent until proven guilty”? Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked how Livy related to the street kids; she knew what to do, but especially what not to do, in her efforts to get them to come to the orphanage instead of staying on the streets. She also wanted more for them than just a warm bed and three meals a day; she wanted to introduce them to Jesus. The reminder that everyone has something to share with those less fortunate was subtle but very real. Jake’s love and care for his family and friends was obvious. He also cared about his town and its residents. He wanted to find the truth about the thefts around town, not settle for the “obvious” answer that everyone else seemed to believe. Some things I didn’t care for about the story were that Livy and Jake’s romantic relationship developed too quickly, in my opinion. The book only covered two months, and Livy and Jake met at the beginning and were engaged at the end. Also, within about four hours after Jake was injured in an altercation and broke some ribs, he walked Livy home before returning to the jail then being called to the bank. That part was very unrealistic to me because a friend of mine broke some ribs and was confined to the hospital for several days. Again, I really liked the book overall, in spite of those few down sides. This book will go on my keeper shelf, and I’ll be looking for additional books by Ms. Hillman to enjoy. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
PatGMoore 7 months ago
Debut novel by Pam Hillman and a fabulous book to read. It wasn't what I expected. Livy is working for an orphanage and while she is running errands she spots a young lad snitching a wallet. Without the boys knowledge Livy steals it back and returns it to the owner without anyone being the wiser. Enters Jake Russell, deputy sheriff. He wants to get all the street urchins off the streets and in jail. He literally runs into Livy. She just added to his problems, especially the personal ones. With Livy trying to rescue the street children and Jake trying to arrest them they keep bumping into one another. Livy was a street child herself and she learned all the tricks of the trade. Her desire is to bring all of them to the orphanage so they can be cared for. Children are being brought in from Chicago to Chestnut, IL to work in sweat shops. The street children are the ones that managed to escape. Jake and Livy keep crossing paths. Livy finds that God show his love in ways she never expected. You will find mystery, fun, humor and heart break. There is suspense, fast paced adventure and a book you won't want to put down. I came to love the characters of Livy, Jake & Luke. Stealing Jake is a Christian Historical Romance with action/suspense and intrigue. Luke will steal your heart. This book is a keeper.
dhiggins4 8 months ago
“Stealing Jake” is a historical romance novel. If you like novels set in the 1800s with romance mixed in, you will love this one! Pam Hillman writes in a very easy to read format. Livy O’Brien used to be known as “Light-Fingered Livy”, but now she has made a change in her life and that life is behind her. Or so she thought. Until she spots some “street kids” doing what she used to do. She is helping to run an orphanage in town, and she is going to do all she can to help get these kids off the streets. Jake Russell is the sheriff. He is trying to stop these robberies that are happening in town. In the meantime, there is definitely an attraction between Livy and Jake. Livy has to deal with trust issues, and Jake isn’t sure he is ready to settle down. I received this book from bookfun for my honest opinion.
KMarkovich 10 months ago
Fabulous book! Set in the Wild West – well, Chestnut, Illinois – with the town quickly springing up, bringing a lot of riff-raff and thieves into town. Light-fingered Livy has moved there to get away from her past and to help Mrs. Brooks run an orphanage. But her heart breaks for the orphaned, abandoned children, who keep showing up in town, yet are too distrustful of adults to come to the orphanage. She was one of them. Unfortunately, the townspeople don’t want them around as they are convinced the children are behind the rash of burglaries. Even Jake, the kind deputy, who seems to care for Livy, just wants them gone. “Those ragamuffins didn’t know it yet, but they shouldn’t have stopped in Chestnut. The town wasn’t big enough for thieves and robbers to hide out for long.” How can Livy convince Jake to “…understand how children abandoned on the streets suffered…”? “She jabbed at his chest, unable to check the tears squeezing out the corners of her eyes. ‘Don’t talk to me about justifying my actions until you’ve walked barefoot through the snow or fought the dogs for bones to throw in a pot to have a little something to eat.’” I found this book really mesmerizing and couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it. I received this book from bookfun.org in return for my honest opinion.
Anonymous 11 months ago
What an entertaining and very enjoyable story! Pam Hillman knows how to capture your attention and keep it with humor, banter, danger and heart-capturing characters woven perfectly into it. A unique story-line about the children of the streets and the sweatshops of the past. Livy has turned her life around and is trying to help those just like her by taking in those kids to her orphanage. Deputy Jake is just trying to keep this coal mining town crime free and a string of robberies is making that awful hard to do! Livy crashes into his path and ends up entwined in the mess that unknown criminals are making of their city. Both fight the attraction and I think I love their reactions to each other the most. They are wonderful characters who are backed by well-written secondary characters – I loved the mini-stories of their lives sprinkled in. The whole cast of this story makes it a deeply moving and fast paced book. I felt like I was watching a movie. I highly recommend for a fantastic read – this is a bookshelf keeper! I received this book from bookfun.org for an honest review.
SonnySJ 12 months ago
I adore this story. It was such an enjoyable read. The story of the street children was convicting. Times have changed but the issue with children that have been abandoned or forgotten have not really changed. It was really sad to see the reactions of the towns people to the children that needed more than the donate of clothes and food. The hearts of some people are sadly still the same. The character of Livy really made me proud. She was willing to do what it takes to help these kids. She really understood their lives and have a genuine desire to love and protect them. It is interesting how her fears, doubts and dreams for God played out in this story. How hard must it have been to do these things in this time period? Jake Russell was a strong hero in this plot. He was not perfect by any means. He struggles with providing for his family, protecting his town and trying hard to forget Livy. These are two people who has not idea of how one accident will change the course of their lives. I received this book for free from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. I also posted this review on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Goodreads, Deepershopper, etc.)”
Cheri5 12 months ago
Stealing Jake was a cool story. There were sad parts and happy parts, but they all worked together to make it so I didn’t want to stop reading. I received this book from The Book Club Network.
Karen02KD More than 1 year ago
Livy O’Brien has a past which she doesn’t want to share with folks in her new hometown of Chestnut, Illinois. She is now a respectable member of the community, a born again believer, and a hard worker helping Mrs. Brooks care for the orphans at the orphanage. Her past comes to haunt her as she begins to discover street children, such as she once was, hiding out in town. To make matters worse, they are being blamed for robberies which are taking place in town. Livy desperately wants to help them, but they have been so abused for too many years that they no longer trust adults. The children are on a mission to both survive and save siblings from the wicked intentions of a cruel factory owner. Livy may need the help of the deputy sheriff, Jake Russell, who is taking an interest in her, but his interest will completely disappear if he learns the truth about her past. The setting for this book was outside Chicago, several years following the Civil War. There is no government welfare system to help and protect children who are abandoned and without parents. They must fend for themselves. There are also no laws concerning child labor. Children can work as many hours as adults and often did because they could be paid less and their smaller hands could work some parts of the machines better than adults. It was certainly an interesting story about a travesty that took a number of years to begin to change. I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my opinion.
TCramer More than 1 year ago
I've read slightly over 100 books this year and this is most certainly one of my favorites. It's so good that I actually woke up at 3 AM this morning and finished reading it through 5 AM. Fortunately, I'm off work today and was able to go back to sleep until 8 am. The setting is in the 1870s in Chestnut, IL, a growing community just train ride away from Chicago. Characters include Livy O’Brien, a young lady working in the new orphanage in town. Livy grew up on the streets of Chicago and survived by picking pockets in order to keep from starving. She has changed her ways and is spending her life helping Mrs. Brooks, the lady who rescued Livy from street life, take care of orphans. Livy has a heart to protect and help the street children in Chestnut, as she attempts to convince the community that the children are only trying to survive in the world with the cruel hand they have been dealt. Jake Russell is a farmer, shareholder in a coal mine, and sheriff’s deputy of Chestnut. He is working hard to make ends meet for his widowed mother and his younger siblings. He has a history of being one of the few survivors from a coal mine collapse and lives with survivor’s guilt. Of course, Jake finds himself very attracted to Livy and is unaware of her past life as a pick pocket living on the streets in Chicago. Both Jake and Livy are very likeable characters. The author also does a great job developing the supporting characters in the book. Ms. Hillman has a way of making the reader feel as though they are in the community of Chestnut, IL. The story includes gripping action and mystery as well as a touch of romance. As previously stated, this is one of my favorite reads of the year and I highly recommend it. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will love this book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
Pam Hillman is an amazing author. I was captivated from the very beginning of this book. Livy, Jake, and Luke stole my interest from the beginning and didn't let go until the very end. I loved the plot. The plight of the street kids tugged at my heart strings. From all I've read, "street kids" and orphans were not treated very well back in those times (and you can't really say they are now), and Pam Hillman perfectly captured that fact in this nail-biting story. Livy O'Brien is a sweet, kind-hearted, yet fiercely protective woman. I liked that about her instantly. Jake had me wavering back and forth in parts of the story. Just when I thought he understood where Livy was coming from, he would say or do something and I'd be smacking my head, thinking "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!" But in the end, it worked out just like I knew it would. Luke's story grabbed my heart. I cannot imagine what that fierce youngin had to go through. His story added depth to the overall story, where Livy and Jake's romance added the right amount of tension. The message of the story, in my opinion, is letting go of the past. Both Livy and Jake have things in their past that hold them from embracing their future. They both learn the lesson of letting go, to let God fully in. It's a sweet, sweet message. Overall, I loved this book and I can't wait to read more by this fantastic author. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Tyndale Blogging Program in exchange for my honest review.*
VicG More than 1 year ago
Pam Hillman in her new book, “Stealing Jake” published by Tyndale House Publishers introduces us to Livy O’Brien. From the Back Cover: I don’t want to go back to that life. EVER. Livy O’Brien is looking for a job in town when she 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. I have to admit that I have a heart for anybody that has to live on the streets but most especially the kids. Adults, at least, have some experience but the kids and there is no one there for them. Livy was once one of those kids but she was able to get out of that life but she knows what it is like. Jake doesn’t know and as a law officer all he wants to do is get rid of them. When these two come together there are going to be sparks. Child labor, street kids, people’s expectations are woven into the story quite expertly. And then there is the romance. Ms. Hillman has batted another one out of the park. I believe you will definitely enjoy this. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Stealing Jake is such a wonderful read. I loved the suspense, action, and setting. I also loved Jake and Livy, especially with the scenes with them together. I thought this book was great to learn the lesson of redemption, faith, and overcoming the past. 5 stars.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
There are so many things I like about this novel- the western setting, the steadily building friendship and romance between Livy and Jake, but what really touched my heart was the abuse of child labor and street orphans. Livy's compassion for the orphans and Jake's duty as sheriff's deputy to investigate them as robbery suspects have them crossing paths and butting heads over how the situation should be handled. A few parts are told from the perspective of Luke, one of the boys living on the street, as he seeks to rescue his brother from captivity in a hidden sweatshop. It is astounding how little the lives of the orphans are valued not only by their abusers but defensive members of the growing town. With part of the mystery known to the reader and part of it revealed towards the end, there is an element of tension and suspense. The story includes other facets of frontier life that are woven in seamlessly, including the dangers of coal mining, a judgmental school teacher, and the dynamics of neighbors and friendships in a tight-knit community. I recommend this book to fans of Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Regina Jennings. (Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)