Thursday, June 17, 2010

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell has once again written a moving and poignant historical novel. Here's the summary for Love's Pursuit (a June, 2009 release):

In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems. In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?

And now, my review:

Siri is a versatile writer, capturing readers as surely with her historicals as she once did with her chicklit. Her description of 17th century Puritanical life was so vivid in Love’s Pursuit. She took us into the minds and hearts of two New England heroines, a rare experience in a novel. She wrote first-person for each (without tags) and though I love that point of view, I do admit the characters were difficult to follow at first, until I “knew” them better. Story wise, I appreciated her ability to use both of them to show that feeling shame or trapped are common ailments of those seeking piety but finding condemnation.

Small-Hope is her secondary heroine, someone who can become “invisible” in a crowd, whose rescue from an abusive father mirrors God’s redemption of people. Her husband came on the scene and purchased her freedom, but exacted no payment from her. She battles to get free from the shame and violence of her past and embrace her new life. Her husband just wants her healed, which only God can do.

Redemption is also enacted in the main heroine’s life. We see her long for freedom from the laws and stifling rules and work of her family’s faith. I learned a lot about Puritans, how far they were from biblical principles with their controlling rules. How far from God’s love. How far from His grace. Made me thankful for His grace in my life. I don’t have to earn His favor. I just have to believe in His goodness and grace.

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