Monday, November 01, 2010

The Preacher's Bride

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Preacher's Bride
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Jody Hedlund


Jody has written novels for the last 16 years (with a hiatus when her children were young. In May of 2009 she double-finaled in the Genesis contest, a national fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.Shortly after the final, Jody acquired an agent, Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary. Her agent spent the summer of 2009 working on selling her books. In September of that year, Jody signed a three-book deal with Bethany House Publishers. Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, releases in Oct. 2010. Her next book will release in 2011 and a third in 2012.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Preacher's Bride, go HERE.

The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund is a retelling of the epic romance between John (writer of Pilgrim's Progress) and Elizabeth Bunyan and her vital role in his ministry. Elizabeth Whitbread has resigned herself as being unattractive and lucky to have the attention of town cooper, Samuel Muddle, when she is asked to take on the job of housekeeper for tinker John Costin and his four children. John often travels the countryside preaching, so he needs someone to care for the children, especially Mary, who is blind, and Thomas, who is only a few weeks old and slowly starving to death after the death of his mother from childbed fever. John is unconvinced as to his need of a housekeeper, especially when the town elders immediately begin encouraging him to marry. Elizabeth fights to save Thomas' life by finding him a wet nurse and soon falls in love with all of the children and they her, but John's distrust of her, then his courtship of another woman keep the couple apart, despite their growing feelings. Hedlund's writing captures the paranoid era at the end of Cromwell rule in England, with the cracking down of Anglicans on local preachers without education, which soon threatens John's life. Elizabeth, like her sister Catherine says often, is a little too perfect, but she's a woman who constantly keeps her eyes on God at all times, with enormous strength and courage. The story is compelling and filled with suspense, a thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more from Hedlund in the future.