Book review: The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund

Book blurb (from Good Reads, with some edits by me)

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 Whitbread ignores John Costin’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 theΒ  family she’s come to love.

My thoughts

It’s been ages since I’ve read a book with romance as one of its central themes. It’s been even longer since I’ve read historical fiction. And Christian fiction? I’ve read one book that fits that description in my entire life, before this one. But I’ve been reading Jody Hedlund‘s blog for a while now and was interested to see what her writing was like. So when my blogging buddy Susanna Leonard Hill said she had a copy that she wanted to send on a ‘book journey’, it seemed meant to be… πŸ˜‰

I must admit, it took me a little while to get into The Preacher’s Bride. This wasn’t because the beginning was dull, far from it. I just wasn’t used to reading fiction with such strong religious content. But the religious aspect made complete sense in the context of the book, so I soon settled into it. And when I did, boy did the plot grab me. As Elizabeth became more and more attached to the Costin family, so did I. Jody’s descriptions of the struggling family were 100% realistic and my heart broke for them on more than one occasion.

I particularly enjoyed the book’s narration, which shifted effortlessly between Elizabeth and John’s perspectives and gave me wonderful insight into the situation from both points of view.Β  The development of their relationship came across as organic and believable, and I could see clearly why they were suited to each other but also what obstacles lay in their path to happiness.

In my last book review, I said that Katniss Everdeen was an awesome heroine. Even though Katniss and Elizabeth have almost nothing in common, the same praise applies to Elizabeth. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realise that despite their surface differences they actually have a lot in common – they’re both courageous, strong-willed, self-sacrificing and resourceful. Who would have thought!

Another of my favourite characters from The Preacher’s Bride was Mary, John’s blind daughter who is more perceptive than most of us who can see. She was portrayed with great empathy and realism, and I loved reading every scene that she played a role in.

My only criticism of The Preacher’s Bride is that I found some of the descriptions and figurative language a little over done. This could be because I read a lot of young adult fiction, which is typically more sparse, but I did find the narrative just a little too verbose for my taste at times. But this had very little impact on my overall enjoyable of the book, and I can’t wait to read Jody’s second offering, The Doctor’s Lady.

My rating: 4 stars

My rating: 4 stars

Your turn

Have you read The Preacher’s Bride? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you will?

My 1-5 scale
1: Terrible. I couldn’t finish it.
2: Dissatisfying.
3: Good but not great.
3.5: A solid, enjoyable read but still some elements not working for me.
4: Really enjoyable with very few flaws OR flawed, but I loved it anyway.
4.5: Unputdownable. Close to perfect. I’ll rave about it to anyone who listens.
5: Perfection (i.e. pretty much unattainable.).



Filed under Book review, Writing

17 responses to “Book review: The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund

  1. Amy

    Great review! I haven’t read this one yet, but it is definitely being added to my TBR list – thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  2. I haven’t read it, but it looks interesting. Thanks for the review!

  3. I’ve read quite a bit of Christian fiction, and romance, and historical fiction, so this sounds like it could be great for me!

  4. I have a copy of this book in my to-be-read-in-the-future stack. It may be a while but I’ll get to it eventually and offer my thoughts in my blog review.

    Tossing It Out

  5. I’ve got this book in my to-read pile too. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it, it makes me more confident I will too πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Cally! Thank you for the lovely review with your honest thoughts! I appreciate that you took a chance on it even though it’s not your usual genre! And thanks for not being too rough on me! You’re a dear! πŸ™‚

    • You’re very welcome, Jody. It was my pleasure. Thanks for introducing me to a new genre and for writing such an enjoyable book. Of course I wouldn’t be rough on you – you’re a wonderful writer! πŸ™‚

  7. Vicki Tremper

    What an even-toned review. I’ve heard great things about The Doctor’s Lady and would consider adding that one to my TBR list, but honestly, I read mostly YA and have little time for anything else.

  8. Thanks for the review!

    This isn’t really the kind of book I usually read, but it sounds like an interesting story.

  9. Jen

    This does sound like an interesting book, but my TBR pile is already threatening to undermine the foundations of my house.

    Also, I’ve left you an award on my blog!

  10. Robyn Martin

    I’ve just finished reading The Preacher’s Bride and on the whole I agree with your review Cally. This is the first ever Christian book I have read as I was raised an atheist, which one would think would put me off this book completely, but it didn’t. The characters believed so sincerely in their religion that they convinced me that their beliefs were believeable. My one quibble (and it is a nit pick) but it bothered me the entire way through was the dialogue would flip between being old world style which was in keeping with the era the novel was set in, and what I felt was a much too modern style.
    For example, I randomly opened the book at a page and here are two dialogue quotes which appear one after the other:
    “Methinks it will not be revenge. It will be the discipline he needs for his evil deeds.”
    “You’re a hard worker Elizabeth”
    The first piece of dialogue is appropriate but the second could have been from any book set in this century. This happened all the way through the book and for me, marred my enjoyment which is why I give it a rating of 4, not 5. I think that this writer was let down badly by the editor who should have picked this up but didn’t or in the correct language for this book, did not.

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