Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

So I took on the "Just for Fun" challenge this year where I'm challenging myself to read at least one book per month that I pick out . . . just for fun! No review necessary, no obligation to a publisher or author, just a book I've been wanting to read. So I may not review every book I choose for this challenge, but I probably will because I plan on choosing some great books!

About the Book
In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.

Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.

My Thoughts
Anyway. My choice for January was The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund. The book is Jody's debut release from 2010, which I somehow missed. The story was inspired by the life of John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress, anyone?), but Jody chose to focus primarily on his second wife, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is a fairly "plain" Puritan woman whose greatest desire is to serve the Lord. When John Costin's wife dies shortly after childbirth, Elizabeth volunteers to step into the role of housekeeper and take care of his four children, including his oldest daughter Mary who is blind. The children quickly come to love Elizabeth, but it takes John quite a bit longer to realize the depth of his feelings for her.

As far as debut novels go, this is one of the best I've read. The story is gripping from the very start and Jody does a fantastic job introducing characters (there are quite a few), explaining the political and religious affairs of the day, and describing the town of Bedford in such a way that you feel like you're walking through the community with a personal tour guide. The dialog was incredibly well-done as well . . . with a few "methinks" and "mayhaps" and "perchances" thrown so you don't forget that you're in England in the mid-1600s.

The relationship between John and Elizabeth certainly didn't come easily. As I read their story I was both frustrated with John and hoping that he would come around (and quickly!). At the same time, I wanted Elizabeth to find something in herself that was worthy of love and for others to see that in her as well. The romantic relationship between John and Elizabeth was unlike anything I've ever read before. While completely innocent and chaste (as was proper for Puritan men and women), it was simultaneously steamy. I'm not sure how she pulled it off but it was perfect!

The story itself is incredibly inspiring. To get a glimpse of what it might have been like to be the wife of one of the heroes of the faith at a time when Christians were regularly persecuted. It made me think more about what it was like to be a Christian in England during that time and also what it's like to be a Christian in many parts of the world . . . even today.

I can't wait to read more from Jody Hedlund. The Doctor's Lady (2011) is definitely on my TBR list! I can't wait to see what she publishes this year.

This book was loaned to me by a friend. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author
Jody Hedlund is an author of inspirational historical romances. Her first book, The Preacher’s Bride (Bethany House Publishers), released in Oct. 2010. She currently makes her home in central Michigan with her husband of eighteen years along with her five young children and their rambunctious pets.

As a busy mother, she’s living testimony that amidst the crazy chaos of running a large family, it’s still possible to squeeze in time for writing and fulfill the dream of publication. She chronicles both the joys and difficulties of her journey toward publication on her blog.

Connect with Jody Hedlund
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly agree! I also finished The Preacher's Bride this weekend and loved it. It was clean, yet sensual. It was Puritan, but full of action. She added just enough of the past to nicely put it in it's proper place in time, but not so overwhelming that I had to keep interpreting what the people were saying. Excellent read!


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