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About the Author

Includes the name: Kay Cornelius


Works by Kay Cornelius


Common Knowledge




I read several of these Serenade romances during my teen years and believe that Love’s Gentle Journey may have been among them, but I didn’t recall anything about the story. It follows seventeen-year-old Ann, a Scottish young woman who’s been living in Ireland with her family. When her father decides to take the family to the American colonies in search of a better life, they undertake the arduous sea voyage. On the way, Ann’s ailing mother dies, but Ann receives some comfort from Caleb, a young Scottish schoolmaster who feels a calling to be a minister in the new world. Upon reaching the end of their journey, Ann and Caleb part ways, with him seeking a way to pay for his passage without becoming an indentured servant and Ann heading into western Pennsylvania with her father and younger brother, Jonathan. As the way gets harder, Ann’s father makes the decision to leave her and Jonathan with a merchant and his ailing wife who is in need of a companion. They remain there for a few months, and Ann meets the couple’s son, John, who is just a few years older than she is when he comes for a visit. John is a bit sweet on Ann, but she still has feelings for Caleb who comes to visit her there as well. But he leaves again in search of a community that needs a minister. Eventually Ann becomes worried about her father and grows tired of waiting for word from him, so she and John, who’s gotten into a bit of trouble, hatch a plan to travel west in search of him.

The entire story is told from Ann’s third-person POV. She’s a nice young woman who is a bit worried about her family making the journey to the Colonies, and after losing her mother at sea, she begins to feel adrift, both emotionally and spiritually. Caleb offers her what comfort he can, along with his copy of the book, Pilgrim’s Progress. That and her mother’s Bible are the only reading materials she owns, but it takes her a little while to get past her disillusionment with God to really want to read them. Eventually she begins using the Bible to teach Jonathan to read and rediscovers these stories as well as taking the time to pray with her brother. During her stay with the Andrews family, she’s the ideal companion, in spite of Mrs. Andrews being a bit dour in the beginning, and although Ann comes to like John, she feels her heart is with Caleb even though she has no idea where he is or if she’ll ever see him again. Ann is pretty much the perfect young lady, who always does what she’s told. Her only real fault is engaging in a bit of deception in order to travel with John in search of her father, but even that I felt was for a pretty good reason and turned out well in the end. She also doesn’t have a really close relationship with God in the beginning, but neither is she a heathen.:-) She just gradually comes to a place of understanding God better through her interactions with others and through her own thought processes. For all these reasons, Ann is a somewhat bland character, but at the same time, I liked her for her sweetness and light.

Caleb is ostensibly the hero of this story, but we never really learn much about him other than that he was trained as a schoolmaster and has a desire to be a minister. As the only pastoral-type person on the ship, he acts in that capacity throughout the voyage, as well as a teacher to the children on board, including Jonathan. He’s very kind to Ann’s family, especially after the death of her mother, but he doesn’t really interact with Ann directly very much. When he disembarks from the ship, he has a few days to raise the cost of his passage or become an indentured servant, an endeavor at which he’s successful. After that, he heads into the Pennsylvania wilderness and we don’t see him again until he comes to Lancaster and visits Ann and Jonathan at their temporary home, but if I recall correctly, he’s only there for a day. Then we don’t see him again until the very end. I came away from reading this book feeling like Caleb got seriously short-changed. Not only does the reader not get anything from his perspective, but we also see very little of him even through Ann’s eyes. I read romance, in part, expecting to fall in love with the hero, but given that he’s absent for the majority of the book, that didn’t really happen for me here. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but I just didn’t feel like I got to know him at all.

Love’s Gentle Journey was originally marketed as an inspirational romance, but as a romance, I felt that it left a lot to be desired. Largely because Caleb isn’t seen for most of the story, there just isn’t much actual romance to speak of. Given how anemic Ann and Caleb’s interactions are, I also couldn’t put my finger on how, when, or why they fell in love and why she was so attached to him, aside from the fact that he was the person who was there when her mother died. I felt like Ann shared more romantic interactions with John Andrews, who she at least kissed a couple of times. She doesn’t kiss Caleb a single time, not even at the very end when they’re reunited and he asks her to marry him, which was a pretty big let-down. So with all this being the case, you might be wondering why I gave the book four stars. In all honesty, I thought that Love’s Gentle Journey would have been better served if categorized as historical fiction. In that capacity, I thought that it was a decent story. Even though it’s a pretty placid, easy read, I wasn’t ever truly bored with it. The spiritual message, while pretty heavy, didn’t quite reach the place of feeling preachy too me either, which was a plus. Caleb and others simply say thought-provoking things to Ann that she eventually takes to heart, so I didn’t feel like anyone was browbeating her about her lack of faith. She just figures it all out herself. I also enjoyed the Colonial setting which isn’t often seen in romance, and additionally, perhaps I felt a bit of nostalgia for a story that I’m fairly certain I read in my youth. For whatever reason, though, I did like the story for what it was, even if the romance was far too subdued for my taste, so I could honestly recommend it to fans of inspirational historical fiction as long as they go into reading it not expecting any deep, swoon-worthy romantic interludes.
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mom2lnb | 1 other review | Jul 25, 2021 |
I enjoyed it but nothing really captured my attention.
book_lady15 | 1 other review | Apr 3, 2020 |
the last story had a SUPRISE ending!
CAFinNY | Apr 26, 2019 |
These four stories all take place in a small town nestled in the northeastern mountains of Alabama called Rockdale. It is here that 4 different women will find love. I enjoyed the stories, they were short and sweet.

April Kincaid is a woman with a past she would rather not remember. Jeremy Winter has moved back into town and is looking to move up fast in the political arena. His one goal is to find a wife quickly to help his image. Although April isn't the ideal candidate for the job, when love is in the air, it is hard sometimes to stick to your goal plans.

Toni Schmidt left the town of Rockdale for many reasons, one being college and two getting away from her attitude towards a town that labeled her a trouble maker. Ten years later she is returning to take over the job of Department of Human Resources, with a vow to never marry (she had no good memories of marriages from her childhood). But David Trent, who has also moved back into town with his daughter, is someone who is hard to say no to and she finds herself being slowly drawn to forget that vow she made long ago.

Anita Sanchez is an outsider who arrives in town with her young daughter, running from danger. The deputy who rescues her from an ice storm car accident, Hawk, takes an instant like to these two and wants to help them out while their car is being repaired. Anita will have to learn to trust this man when danger finds its way to her in Rockdale.

Finally, Mary Oliver is still single at thirty years old and has accepted the fact that she will continue to teach school and live with her father, the judge there in Rockdale. But life will quickly change for Mary when she all of a sudden finds not one, but 3 men who are showing her an interest. Mary will have to make a choice.

I enjoyed all three stories and the dilemma each lady had to overcome in their life. Each story built upon the other in that you kept meeting folks from previous stories and catching up with them which was nice. It was a town that made you wish it were real so you could go there and meet the folks, but I also liked the area and as the author said, Rockdale is fictional, but the other places described in the book are real. It would be a great place to visit.
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judyg54 | Feb 8, 2016 |

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