The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
Publication Date: October 2010
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Format: Paperback, 379 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
(Received for review LibraryThing Early Reviewers)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
In 1650's 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.
This was a really interesting book. When I first glanced at the cover and the title, I wrongly assumed that this was another "Amish" story. But when I got ready to read the book I discovered it was not what I had thought. This is the debut effort of author Jody Hedlund, and after reading this one, I'm sure we will be seeing more from this gifted author.
England at the turn of the 17th century was home to many religious movements. The Puritans had known religious freedom for some time, but at this point in history the Royalist's are becoming more prominent. The Royalist's and the Puritan's became more and more embattled in a political and religious "war" of sorts. The Preacher's Bride is set during this tumultuous time period.
Elizabeth Whitbread is a young woman with a deep love for children. When her preacher, John Costin loses his wife and is left with four children, one blind and one newborn, Elizabeth takes it upon herself to help him, somewhat against his wishes. Elizabeth is risking a lot to be a help to John. Her one marriage prospect is angry and John's boldness from the pulpit puts Elizabeth and the children in danger.
This book is loosely based on the life of Elizabeth Bunyon, wife of John Bunyon writer of The Pilgrim's Progress. The author has an excellent gift for dialogue. She
uses the language of the period with authenticity. Her characters seem to jump off the page, especially the children. Jody Hedlund uses her experience as a mother of five to make Elizabeth's interactions with the children very believable. I liked her character a lot, because she was stouthearted and willing to stand up to persecution to do what she felt was right. John's character was somewhat stubborn, but I can't say much about that since that tends to be my own turn of mind.
I would recommend this one to anyone who loves Christian Fiction, The Pilgrim's Progress or anyone who just enjoys a good historical romance. I liked it a lot.
The Preacher's Bride is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Jody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest in Historical Romance. She received a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.