Do you want strong characters? An interesting story line? Seventeenth century history? Burning buildings? Love? A bit of action and intrigue? The Preacher's Bride supplies all of this and more. Immediately the reader is introduced and immersed into the world and challenges of Miss Elizabeth Whitbread. This young Puritan woman's convictions are strong, stronger than most of her peers in Bedford, England.
May 1659 brings the sad news of Mary Costin's passing, leaving her husband John and their children behind. Mary's infant son Thomas is not expected to survive, but Elizabeth is determined to intervene on his behalf. Elizabeth is soon hired as John's nanny and housekeeper and does her best to comfort the grieving children. John, nearly oblivious to his family in his grief, throws himself into his preaching and work to drown his pain.
A series of misunderstandings between Elizabeth and John prevent them from getting off on the right foot. They come to an agreement, and Elizabeth will aid the Costin family till she weds Samuel Muddle, the local cooper. To further complicate matters, John experiences pressure from some government officials to cease the "unlawful" teaching of God's word. This persecution extends to vicious rumors about Elizabeth and John's relationship and the threat of physical harm to...well, I won't give it away.
Elizabeth's marriage arrangement with Samuel is a practical one, for she has had no other suitors and desires to marry and have a family as is expected of all good Puritan girls. The arrangement with the Costin children is a matter of conviction; she feels called to help the grieving family. She doesn't expect to fall in love. With John.
What happens when Samuel forces Elizabeth's hand, making her choose between him and her call to help the Costins? Can she separate herself from John and the children? Is John even remotely aware of how Elizabeth feels? Will John's enemies succeed in silencing him?
I wanted to read this book for a number of reasons. When I saw that this story was inspired by John Bunyan's life, I was intrigued. Jody is a blogging friend, and I shared in her journey to publication through her posts. It was exciting to see her dream made a reality. And I love Christian historical fiction, so it was a given that this would make my wish list. Imagine my delight when I was able to become an influencer.
The Preacher's Bride was excellent. Jody shares a compelling tale that captured and held my attention from beginning to end. Her ability to draw the reader into Elizabeth's world is truly a gift. This poignant story, based on real events, is one I will remember for a long time.
This book was provided as an influencer's copy by Bethany House. No compensation was received.
Interview on Thursday
Thursday's post will feature an interview with Jody Hedlund. Won't you join us? I'm excited also to share that Jody is offering a copy of The Preacher's Bride to one of my readers. Info is below; please note the details to ensure your entry.
- Leave a comment to this post, include your email address like so: karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without email address are not eligible.
- Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.
- Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, on Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and comment telling me so.
- This is open to US residents only. For those of you who follow outside the US, I apologize.
- Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday October 2, 2010. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced in Monday's post.