Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

Title: The Preacher’s Bride
Author: Jody Hedlund
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Publisher: Bethany House
Category: Christian/Historical Romance/Fiction
Type: Paperback/Hardcover/Audio

Book Blurb:

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.

Book Excerpt:

The babe’s crying would rip her heart to shreds if she had to listen to it one more minute.
Elizabeth Whitbread shoved open the parlor door and barged inside.
“We need a wet nurse or the babe will die,” she said, meeting the startled gazes of the women surrounding the deathbed of Mary Costin.
“Exactly what do you think you are doing?” Mrs. Grew dropped the long winding sheet and started toward her. “Get out this instant. You are not permitted in here.”
“The babe’s been crying all morning. He needs help.” Elizabeth moved toward the low rocking cradle shoved into a corner of the small room. “I’ll hold him and attempt to comfort him.”
Mrs. Grew stepped in front of her, intersecting her path. She held her shoulders straight and her chin high. “No one is welcome in the parlor for the laying out. Only those of our congregation specified by Sister Costin herself before she died.”
“I won’t disturb your preparations, to besure.” Elizabeth nodded at Sister Norton and the others who had stopped washing the body to stare at her. She’d participated in laying-out rituals before—on her own mother. But the work of preparing the dead body didn’t interest her now.
“I only want to help with the babe.”
“We do not need any assistance.”
“The crying must be a distraction. I’ll take him into the other room of the cottage—”
“Sister Whitbread,” Mrs. Grew said louder, “we can do nothing more for the child. He will tire himself eventually.”
Elizabeth spotted a wooden flask on the floor next to the cradle. “I’ll try feeding him.”
“Each of these women, including myself, has already attempted to suckle him from the bottle. What makes you think you can succeed where no other has?”
“He won’t take it, the poor dear,” Sister Norton said. She clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth. “The poor, poor dear needs his mother’s milk, and it’s long gone.”
Elizabeth’s gaze trailed to the face of Sister Costin, the pale skin draped over sharp bones. She followed the length of the arm hanging over the edge of the bed, the whiteness of the skin broken by the long dark cut from the bloodletting.
The parish bells of nearby St. Cuthbert had ceased their tolling only a short time ago, but Mary Costin’s life had been counted as dead for more than a fortnight, ever since she’d birthed the babe and caught the fever. Few women survived childbed fever—even fewer newborns lived without their mothers.
Elizabeth faltered and tucked a stray wisp of hair back under her coif. Did she think she could calm the babe when none of these experienced Puritan matrons could?
His cries tore at her heart again. “The babe is in desperate need of a wet nurse.”
“We are quite aware of that,” Mrs. Grew replied. “Do you hold us in such low esteem to think we would not have begun the search by now?”
“Then why hasn’t one been found? In all of Bedford there must be many nursing mothers.”
“You do not know anything about these matters. Moreover, they are not your concern. You must leave the room immediately. Your presence is entirely inappropriate.”
She had overstepped the boundaries of propriety by entering, but she’d only thought to help. ’Twas not a punishable offense to offer one’s aid, was it?
Mrs. Grew regarded her with narrowed eyes and pinched lips, her body tight with
She supposed to a woman of Mrs. Grew’s high social standing and wealth, rules took precedence. But this time couldn’t she make an exception and let her stay? “I’m sorry, Mrs. Grew. ’Twasn’t my intent to disrupt you. I don’t have your great experience or your natural way with infants. But I thought perchance I could be of service in some small way.”
“Your service would be better spent outside with the others in fasting and prayer.” Mrs. Grew’s glare moved from her to the door.
Elizabeth glanced at the cradle. How could she go back outside and pray with the infant’s wails echoing through her head? She had failed to focus before. Over and over she had asked the Lord to provide someone to help the babe. Finally, she’d decided the Lord would have her be that someone.

Favorite Quote:

“Elizabeth.” Sister Norton’s eyes filled with compassion. “Do you think only the good things that happen are the blessings?” … “Our troubles themselves are blessings.”


I have to admit that I started reading this book with a bit of apprehension. When reading Christian Romance, one never knows what the book will entail. Will it end up being a sermon of sorts? Will the story be forgettable and nothing more than religious views condemning the reader for not believing? Not to sound negative, but you never know. However, I have been following Jody Hedlund’s blog tour for her newest release for The Doctor’s Lady for quite a while now. Never once did I come across any bad reviews for the book. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Eventually, I won the book, The Doctor’s Lady on a blog contest. Yay! But I wanted to start things off right and begin with The Preacher’s Bride, Hedlund’s debut novel. I am so glad I did! I generally read romance of the more risqué variety. However, I cut my teeth on Grace Livingston Hill, so I do occasionally return to my roots.

Right away we are introduced to Elizabeth, a strong-willed, young woman who is confident in her faith and conviction that the Lord has called her to help others in need no mater their station in life. John has just lost his wife to sickness, has 3 young children and a newborn, and is in denial that he needs assistance from anyone, most especially Elizabeth. Finally he consents, albeit unwillingly, to her position as his housekeeper. Eventually the two develop a love born of loss, hardship, and a deep love for the Lord. This is not to say that each does not question their role as God’s servants from time to time.

The Preacher’s Bride is not a romance that tied up all pretty and smelling rosy. The hardships that John and Elizabeth endure are heart-breaking at times. Stupid book made me teary on a few occasions; a difficult feat in itself. But the perseverance of John and Elizabeth, even in the midst of such terrifying circumstances, is nothing short of inspirational! I especially loved the Author’s notes at the end of the novel explaining that many of the events within this story are truth, based on the life of John and Elizabeth Bunyan. I was affected profoundly when I realized that much of this work of Historical Fiction was based on the life of real individuals! The bottom line is that this novel is a MUST read; especially for those questioning their faith. Life may not always be flowers and butterflies, but the Lord does see us through, even when we least expect it. I can’t wait to get started on The Doctor’s Lady next!

(downloaded from Amazon Kindle)

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