The Preacher’s Bride is set in 1650’s England against the religious persecution that the Puritan’s of that time faced. This is the debut novel by Jody Hedlund and was written in such compelling way, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are realistic and likeable and the emotion that flows through this story is palpable.
When John’s wife dies, leaving behind an infant son and some other children, a teenage Puritan girl, dedicated to serving however God would lead, steps into the breach to provide for this infant. The child, not expected to live, begins to thrive under Elizabeth’s care as do the other remaining children who are grieving their mother. John, however, blinded by grief and obsessed with preaching to the masses, regardless of the cost, initially opposes Elizabeth’s interference in his household but soon becomes to depend on her completely for the care of his children and home.
As religious persecution increases, Elizabeth becomes a target to try to undermine and stop John’s ministry. Elizabeth suffers severely but does not give up the task she feels God has clearly given her to care for this little family. Her sacrifice costs her the possibility of her own marriage that had been planned. Eventually John wakes up to the woman who has sustained him and who has loved him for years while she served and supported his preaching. Eventually marrying, the challenges the couple faces are not less severe and crippling.
John’s passion for the work of God and Elizabeth’s zeal for service against tremendous odds paints a compelling image of the sacrifices that many in that time period would have encountered.
This was a book I could not put down. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. When I finished I had to go back and re-read parts because they were so compelling. I found myself swept up into the story and empathetic to the characters as they struggled with obedience and faith in the midst of circumstances most of us will never be challenged with.
I strongly recommend this book. It is worth the time to read and let the characters resonate within your soul and call you to a deeper walk and faith in Christ. The courage they exemplify is something we lack so much of in our own culture. Thank you, Jody for pouring your heart and the talent God has obviously gifted you with, into this story. To Him be the glory!