Bethany House / 2009 / Paperback
I would first like to thank Jim at Bethany House for sending me my copy of Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell. This is the first novel I've read by this author. I'd heard wonderful things about her writing and was very excited to read this book.
Let me start off by stating that this book is NOT an easy read by any stretch of the imagination. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to read the entire thing. Love's Pursuit is an intensely emotional story. The oppresiveness that the people live in as Puritans is beyond my understanding. I thought Amish society was rigid. Their lives are a day in the park after reading this novel.
We meet Susannah Phillips, a young Puritan woman who is waiting for John Prescotte to ask her father for her hand in marriage. She is also perceived as the good daughter in the Phillips family. Her sister Mary seems to live in Susannah's shadow her whole life and is somewhat of a mischief maker.
As we're reading the first chapter, Siri switches over to someone else describing their experience and we learn it is Small-hope. Siri goes back and forth between Susannah's story and Small-hope's. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, and there were no problems going back and forth between the two.
I'd have to say that I was 1/2 way through the book before I was able to get past all the depressing undertones of the story. There seems to be little laughter at all. No one seems to enjoy anything that God has put around them. Everything seems to be a chore and nothing is enjoyable about daily living. Men and women live their lives doing, doing, doing and hope that it's all enough.
The women seem to have little care about what is going on with anyone else, unless it's gossip. As long as their homes are running properly and with exact precision then all is well with the world. It's a weight I could never have lived under.
Let's discuss the men in this story!! First of all there's John Prescotte, Susannah's hopeful beau. He seems to like her, but we aren't quite sure if he'll take the next step. As for the villian in this story, he is so easy to dislike. Simeon Wright, what a horrible and dispicable character. Siri did a great job in his role! And last, but not at all the least, is our hero, Captain Daniel Holcombe. He has been sent by the Governor, his cousin, to protect the people from savages.
Daniel sees how these people live their lives and tries to share with the Phillips about God's grace. They in turn want to show him that living their way is the only way to salvation. Daniel has made himself Susannah's protector and as she begins to see into his heart she starts to question the life that is being set before her.
There are so many twists and turns to this story that make it all a whole, I don't want to give a single piece away. If you are able to get past the heaviness of heart in the first several chapters you will come away with a sense of rightness to the story. I am so glad I finished Siri's novel and I will seek out her other ones.
If you'd like to learn more about Love's Pursuit you can find it at the Bethany House website. There you'd be able to find an excerpt, reading guide, and Q&A. Click on the title to learn more. You can also find Siri at her website http://www.sirimitchell.com/ . If you'd like to purchase her book, type the name into the Chrisianbook.com box on the right side of my blog.
To win Siri's book, leave me a comment along with your email address and I will choose a winner August 7. Without an email address I won't be able to put you in the drawing. Contest open to US residents. As long as I have 10 entrants I will draw a name. So, if we get closer to the 7th and there aren't enough people get the word out. :)