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.
The historical Puritan context fascinated me, as it was a period of time I hadn't studied very much previously. I will now be doing some research on it, as the book covered the religious and political struggles of the time period very well. I remained interested throughout the novel and cared about the characters, as they seemed very realistic and likable.
This was an excellent book by a talented new author, and I look forward to seeing more of her work, especially historical fiction!
Elizabeth Whitbread feels it is her calling to help out John Costin who has just lost his wife shortly after delivering their 4th child into the world. Although John doesn't want her help, she refuses to back down and takes over the running of the household for him. John is a tinker by trade, but a preacher by God's calling. His preaching though during this time in history makes him a target of political and religious leaders. Elizabeth gets caught up in this intrigue and finds herself in alot of danger by helping out John. She is willing to stand by John and his family, but at what cost? And can John ever truly love her as she finds herself loving him? She faces alot of hardship throughout this story and the best part of the book was the quote a good friend of hers gives to her, "hardships are the Lord's greatest blessing to the believer. Without them we would love the Lord only for what He does for us. Our troubles teach us to love Him for who He is." I recommend this book, especially if you are interested in history and the Puritans. And be sure to read the Author's Notes after you read the story, as it will tell you what great hero of the faith she was writing about!
A special thanks to LibraryThings Early Reviewers for sending me this copy for review.
Elizabeth Whitbread, the heroine of this refreshing Christian historical romance, is a compassionate, persistent and perceptive young woman bent on protecting and nurturing the children of the recent widower. “My conscience before God will not allow me to stand idly by,” says Elizabeth.
Author, Hedlund, particularly adept with dialogue, has the gift of swiftly moving her plot along. Her personal experience as a mother of five has evidently enabled her to delve easily into the fanciful, innocent world of children. Her young characters literally jumped off the page into my heart. Particularly impressive is the characterization of Mary, the blind eight-year-old, whose sixth sense is clairvoyant and prophetic.
The Preacher’s Bride will keep you engaged. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
In many ways The Preacher's Bride is a straightforward, well-written romance: when tinker and lay preacher John Costin's wife dies, strong-willed Elizabeth Whitbread becomes his housekeeper and cares for his children. Will romance blossom? You bet it will. Like all good romances, the spark between the characters is obvious from the beginning, and the interest lies in seeing how they both work through their own feelings to their inevitable destination. In romances sexual attraction is not enough, and the situation is never fully resolved until there is also an emotional bond based on trust and shared experiences. The Preacher's Bride plays by all of these rules.
What I found interesting was the background of a society in transition: I got a good sense of the radical split between the Puritan and Royalist factions, and the way a lay preacher fitted--or didn't fit--into a religious structure (in an era where the church ruled the country) which was just about to change. Those were violent times, and this is well represented; I had never really thought about just how vulnerable women were then, and I think that this was rather well brought out.
I liked Elizabeth Whitbread's ordinariness: she's plain, she can't read, and she has a practical turn of mind. Despite her strong will she can be pretty submissive; that and her overwhelming desire to get married and have babies are a bit irritating to this modern woman, but I did try to bear in mind that anything else would have been anachronistic, given the historical era and Elizabeth's social position.
I would have loved to have seen more description of what this part of England was like; John Costin spends a lot of time striding over a landscape that you never really see. I also had some issues with the way the characters spoke, which was possibly too uniform in tone given all the social and educational differences that could be found in the novel.
But my overall impression was of an enjoyable read with a good strong ending and plenty of appeal to a reader looking for a satisfying story.
characters where enjoyable except for the ones that i was routing against. I found myself crying for part of the book. would read more of jody hedlund books.
it was a clean good book.
John Costin will die before he stops doing Gods will. John Costin is a lowly tinker but his life is preaching the word of God to the people and he's very good at it. But, at what cost?
Elizabeth came to help John and his family of 4. Johns wife died from childbirth and left 4 children, 1 of which is blind and another a newborn. Elizabeth finds herself in danger and she has no way out unless she gives in to her assailant but she is strong and will not let him deter her but is she strong enough?
An awesome read, I highly recommend!
The book starts with the death of John Costin's (the character's name in this book) first wife. His newborn son is wailing with hunger and young Elizabeth Whitbread feels SOMETHING should be done. She defies the town's matriarchs to find a wetnurse for the baby. She feels called by God to help the family. She is soon appointed housekeeper to Brother Costin's four young children.
Brother Costin is an unlicensed preacher at a time of religious upheaval in England. Cromwell had died leaving his son to rule. We all know how this worked out. Charles II is soon back on the throne and the Puritans are being persecuted right and left.
The romance between Brother Costin and Elizabeth grows slowly and convincingly through much hardship and complication. The characters are believable and I really enjoyed the book and the story. I now want to find a copy of Pilgrim's Promise which, I am sad to say, I have never read. The author admits to a fair bit of license in her telling of the story.
I have not read anything from this author Jody Hedlund nor about the Puritans and it was an interesting read.
I want to thank Bethany House for the book to review.
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.
This particular novel is both informative and historical. I haven't really read any novels that centered around the Puritans and this one was very intriguing! I love the historical era of the 1600's in England. I could just see the towns and the townspeople of that era come to life! It was also an era of town gossip and oh what gossip there was when Elizabeth stood her ground and didn't succumb to the gossip. She was very strong for that part.
Jody Hedlund definitely has a new fan in me. She took a historical person's (John Bunyan) life, researched it, and created a fantastic novel that is sure to win the hearts of many a reader! This 5 star novel is worth the slow start, because once you get past that ( and you may find it's not so slow for you!) this book will have you feeling the happiness, the sadness and the struggles that this sweet woman, Elizabeth, and the amazing characters beyond her, all felt. Definitely a book that I recommend to many readers! Well done, Jody.
This story, a fictionalized account of the relationship between John and Elizabeth Bunyan, stands out from others in the genre by exploring a relatively untouched period of Protestant history. The plot is slow at times, but the setting is well-researched and the characters are believable.
Pious Elizabeth Whitbread looked only to serve God and those in need, accepting what she thought was her lot in life. When God called upon her through the cry of a baby, Elizabeth put her life and marriage on hold and answered. Little did she realize that her path had now diverged.
Jon Costin, tinkerer by trade preacher by calling, never suspected God's ulterior motives.
The Preacher's Bride was a true example of God working through mysterious ways. Strong willed, quick to wit, and God serving characters perfectly matched from the beginning. Both struggled through the persecution of the Royalists and their own personal struggles with God. Their relationship between each other and with God grew throughout the entire book.
Jody Hedlund captured my heart in her first book with her perfectly executed writing. She took the true story of John Bunyan and wove her own of "the woman behind John Bunyan". It was not preachy, it was not mushy. But it sure was moving! The reader got into the head of Elizabeth from the very first moment and felt the pull of emotions throughout.
I cannot wait to read her next book, The Doctor's Lady.
Regardless, the book was a good read. John is called to be a preacher in England, but on losing his young wife, finds himself with the sole care of their four young children, the oldest is blind. The local Christian community rallies round to enable him to continue his calling and Elizabeth becomes his housekeeper and nanny to the children. However, John's calling to be an independent, unqualified preacher, with no state licence, results in serious persecution from those in power. He is faced with an impossible choice--give up his calling or be imprisoned and possible killed and what of his young children and the housekeeper that he has come to rely on?
The characters are well developed and the emotional struggles realistic. I thought the priorities for a man with a family and a calling to the ministry were also depicted well--the author argues from different perspectives and shows how difficult the issues can be. Ultimately, she concludes through an Elder in the story,
God would not have us use our gifts to the detriment of our families. I have heard it said 'Father's first reform your families, and then you will be fitter to reform the family of God.'
There is no bad language in this book, there are some violent scenes with some graphic detail which is border-line for me, there are romantic scenes that get a little heavy but no sexual detail is described.
I recommend this book for Christians. I would have preferred a Gospel presentation at some point, this maybe could have been done using Bunyan's writings which are referred to in the story. I'm sure the man himself would not have wanted the Gospel to be missed from any book written about his life, even one that is largely fictional. However, it is an easy and enjoyable read and you can learn some details about the Bunyan family in the process.
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
"The Preacher Bride" by Jody Hedlund....
"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."
"The Preacher's Bride" was one beautiful told stories that will keep your interest right till the end. This read was truly a Historical Christian novel with some suspense that was simply a amazing read. This author presented to us a beautiful romance between the main characters that was truly a example of 'God working in mysterious ways.' I loved how the hero and the heroine were brought together even though their would be a struggle through persecution but in the end it all came out so well presented to the reader. This author did a wonderful job in taking the true story of John Bunyan and then presenting 'the woman behind John Bunyan' ... Elizabeth. I found this story well written and one that will keep you on the edge of your seat turning the pages to see what was going to happen next in the emotional captivating read. I found it quite interesting seeing how this author got the characters into a role that shaped them as they went through it all...trials and temptations showing strength that they could only receive from above. The characters simply seem to literally jump off the pages due to this authors awesome script and yes its about religion, with their 'hopes, dreams, fears and struggles.'
What I really loved about "The Preacher's Bride" was that most of the history of the read was true as we know John Bunyan wrote 'Pilgrim's Progress' which is a wonderful read that I have also read. If you are looking for a amazing read you have come to the right place for an excellent novel.
The characters of John Costin and Elizabeth Whitbread were inspired by the life of John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Quite a bit is known about John, but only a glimpse of Elizabeth’s life can be gleaned from the historical record. Hedlund does a great job of creating a Puritan maiden who dedicates her life to serving God and man. Elizabeth views herself as plain and inconsequential. Young and illiterate, she nevertheless has a strong faith and character. John is newly widowed following his wife Mary’s death from childbed fever. Lost in grief and fearing to love again, he immerses himself in God’s calling — to preach the Gospel to the poor and lowly. An unlicensed preacher, he is the target of royalist supporters. As she takes on the role of housekeeper for John, Elizabeth becomes a target as well. Their relationship deepens, but is hindered by the desires of others in the congregation, rumors, threats and betrayal.
The Preacher’s Bride has interesting characters in John, Elizabeth, John’s blind daughter Mary, the wet nurse, Lucy and other assorted members of Elizabeth’s family and the Puritan congregation. It is a large cast, but not overwhelming. All play a integral part in the development of the story. Hedlund does a great job of making mid-1600s England vivid in the reader’s mind — the hardness of life, the intolerance of the political system and the harshness of the justice system. As to themes, a couple of things stood out for me — the tension/balance between God’s call and family life and the idea that love of man and God is somehow earned by doing right. Elizabeth is faithful and believes in God’s provision and plan, yet still thinks that her works should somehow weigh in her favor with God. Both Elizabeth and John have to evaluate their part in God’s work and its role in their marriage.
The Preacher’s Bride is one of Hedlund’s older novels, but it is well-written and researched. More history with a good dose of romance, it is a book I can recommend.
Audience: older teens to adults.
“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)