Last summer I discovered Jody Hedlund's blog. She’s a new author whose debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, came out last fall. I was very impressed with her blog, so when her book was released I bought it. But with the holidays and signings I was very busy. I put her book in a safe place expecting that when all the chaos settled down I could read it between Christmas and New Year’s.
Well, that safe place was so safe that I couldn’t find the novel. I searched everywhere to no avail. Luckily, I received a Kindle for Christmas. Determined to read this book, I bought the novel as an ebook. I’m glad I did. The book was everything I’d hoped for and more.
The Preacher’s Bride is a historical romance published through Bethany House. You need to know that the hero in this novel, John Costin, was inspired by the life of John Bunyon, who wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678. His Christian masterpiece has been translated into more than 200 languages and has never been out of print. He is quite well-known in Christian circles, but what about his wife? What kind of woman would stand by her man while he was persecuted, slandered, and imprisoned for years at a time? Hedlund wondered the same thing for in the Author’s Notes she writes: “While history gives due laud to John, it fails to recognize the woman who stood by his side and helped shape him into the hero we all know and love. It is my sincerest hope that in telling this story, I have brought to life Elizabeth Bunyan and have given her the recognition she deserves.”
Hedlund has done a splendid job of creating a very memorable woman who fought for what she believed in and faced life’s challenges with courage and determination. Elizabeth is a heroine you would love to know, someone you would admire and be friends with and have full confidence that she would always tell you the truth and be loyal.
John is a man of conviction driven by a deep love of God. At the beginning of the book he is suffering the loss of this first wife and has no idea how he will care for his children, one of which is an infant. So tormented by his grief, he gives up on the infant living. This is where Elizabeth enters his life. Headstrong and filled with compassion and the need to protect the innocent baby, she volunteers to care for all of Costin’s children.
The heroine and hero of this novel are riveting. I was enthralled reading about their world, getting into their minds, and understanding why they made the decisions they made. They lived good lives, served their God and their fellow men, and along the way despite incredible odds they found love.
Here is the back cover blurb.
No matter the sacrifice, Elizabeth Whitbread would serve a wounded family.
No matter the danger, John Costin was determined to speak God’s word.
Neither expected to fall in love.
As enemies threaten to silence Costin—and those close to him—will following their hearts cost John and Elizabeth everything?
I think you’ll enjoy this beautiful story based on the lives of these spiritual giants of the 1600s.
By the way, I finally found the hard copy of this book that I’d put away in a safe place. It now has found a permanent home on my living room book shelf along with other classics.
(I purchased my own copy of this book and reviewed it because I liked it.)
Kathi Oram Peterson is the mother of three, grandmother of two, and wife of one. She has always loved books, whether she's reading or writing them. Her novel include: The Forgotten Warrior (2009), An Angel on Main Street (2009) and The Stone Traveler (2010). Her next novel, River Whispers will be released in May 2011. Blog: www.kathiswritingnook.com. Website: www.KathiOramPeterson.com.
Photo by Marc Reynolds