Christina Willems has been running the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor on a small farm outside of Brambleville, Kansas since her father passed on. This is the only life she has known, helping others who are less fortunate without a place to live. When the kitchen mysteriously catches fire Miss Willems finds herself taking all of the residents to town in search of temporary homes, too bad they aren't all staying in nice happy homes. She notifies the mission board that funds the home, of the fire and their needs, in hopes that they'll order the repairs done so everyone can return home.
It seems like anything that can go wrong after the fire does go wrong, and more! Tommy, the blind boy staying with Levi Johnson, gets lost. Tommy also knows a secret so not only does he feel like people don't like him because of his blindness, he's also getting bullied and is very afraid. Miss Willems and Cora live in a single room in a boarding house in exchange for cooking and serving meals for mean Mrs Beasley. Wes is sleeping in the stable, others are sleeping in close quarters too, some in good homes and others in not so good homes.
When the two representatives come to investigate the property they inform Miss Willems that they will be closing the doors and she no longer has a job. This doesn't stop her from trying to get the house repaired and the residents back home. It is taking so long that some of the residents are finding places on their own, the mission group takes some of the children to Topeka to an orphanage, it seems like she may no longer be needed if this continues, but it still doesn't stop her. Even going to jail doesn't affect her caring heart.
I had trouble with this story at first because I read the prequel and the story isn't what, rather who, I expected it to be about but I soon gained interest and by the end of the book I didn't want to put it down. Yes, I did stay up late, until I was falling asleep and had to put it down, then picked it up first thing in the morning to find out what I was wanting to know. Then there was even more that kept me interested, I had to find out what was going to happen next!
I will be watching for "Just As I Am" to come out later this month, the next book in this series which sets the stage for Kim's next novel, "Echoes of Mercy" due out in January, 2014.