Today, I want to share a novel by debut author Jody Hedlund with you. I don't know Jody well, other than bumping into her at ACFW conferences, but after reading this book, I can tell you she is one talented author. It doesn't hurt that she's another homeschooling mom. I have a feeling we'd be good friends if we lived near each other -- alas, we don't. Be sure to read all the way to the end to learn how to participate in the giveaway. Enough about that, though. On to the book.
Some books are a joy to read, absorbing me from the first chapter. The kind of book that pulls me back again and again and sits in my thoughts between readings. The Preacher’s Bride is such a book.
Set in 1650s England, it tells the story of a young woman Elizabeth Whitbread, who is a Puritan determined to serve God and his people. She is blind to all that would detract from the needs of those in her path. At a time when even the Puritan religion required certain “standards” to be upheld, she served all.
Part of that service is caring for the children of the recently widowed John Costin. The story that weaves from those two points is a beautiful one that I know I will return to again. I was uncertain about whether I could be pulled into a story set during that time period. Those concerns quickly evaporated as the pages flipped faster and faster. The author hit a wonderful balance of providing enough details to make me feel like I was living during that harsh time, but not so many that I got bogged down in the minutia.
A lovely novel, and one I commend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. And if you’re not sure you do, give it a try anyway. You might surprise yourself. To read the first chapter of The Preacher's Bride, go HERE.
Jody, where did you get the idea for this book? I love historicals, but don’t see many set in England during this time.
As a homeschooling mom, I read my children a TON of books. In fact, over the past eight years of teaching my children, I’ve read more books than the combined total of the rest of my life! During our history lessons, I try to pull in real life stories to help bring the past alive.
One of those real life lessons included a biography about John Bunyan. While reading about him, I ran across a small excerpt about his wife, Elizabeth. I loved the brave way Elizabeth defended John during one of his trials when he was under arrest for his “unlicensed” preaching. Her strength to face a court of persecutors and her determination to faithfully support her husband touched me so deeply, that I decided her little-known story needed to be told to the world. The Preacher’s Bride is inspired by her.
What was the hardest part of writing a book set then?
One of the most challenging aspects was deciding how much of the dialect to include in the dialog and how much to modernize. If I’d gone with the accurate way the English spoke in the 1600’s, the story might have been cumbersome for modern readers. So, I had to pick and choose which phrases to include so that I could give a flavor of that time period, but not bog down the story with too much of the unfamiliar.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book? I’m dying to know what to look for next!
The Doctor’s Lady is scheduled to release in September of 2011 and is another “inspired-by” novel. It’s a fictionalized story based on the first white woman to travel overland West to Oregon as a missionary to the natives. It’s a marriage of convenience story, but also the tale of how a young woman overcame the odds, endured a dangerous journey, and found true love along the way. In the process, her strength and courage paved the way for all of the women who came after her.
Jody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest in Historical Romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.
Jody has graciously agreed to giveaway a copy of the Preacher's Bride. Leave a comment about the classic book that John Bunyun wrote to be entered.