About the Book (from Publisher, Bethany House):
A Love That Would Shape History Forever
Because she’s a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she’s determined to marry well, so she’ll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he’s taken by Susanna’s intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.
When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.
My Thoughts on the Book:
What a great read! This book explores the kinds of difficult decisions arising in situations where legality and morality may be at odds. It resonates with themes of bravery and self-sacrifice. And the romance is delightfully swoon-worthy.
Set in the time leading up to the American Revolution, the book takes John and Abigail Adams as the inspiration for its lead characters Benjamin Ross and Susanna Smith. I appreciated the way the author’s note separated out which bits of character and plot were borrowed directly from the history books and which parts were fabricated or adjusted to suit the needs of this fictional story.
I liked the lead characters a lot. Susanna and Ben are both smart, opinionated people driven to make a difference, and even though they don’t see completely eye to eye on a number of issues at first, they respect and appreciate each other’s insights. I’ve got to say, I loved their quick-witted banter and thought they were such a great match for each other. As a librarian and bibliophile, I rather enjoyed their literary flirtations and general love for reading. Just to illustrate, here are a couple of quotes within a quote (page 150):
He grinned. “I agree with Erasmus: ‘When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.’”
She laughed softly. “And I agree with Cicero: ‘A room without books is like a body without a soul.’”
As an aside, I asked my husband how he thought I should quote a quote within a quote when the original quote has already used both single and double quotation marks. His response (and I quote): “My brain hurts.” I opted just to indent the passage, because unlike in math where you can nest parentheses indefinitely, in literature too many layers of quotation marks just seem to get ugly. Anybody have an opinion on this? No? Okay then. I guess I’ll have to lay off the grammatical nerdiness and move along with the review…. 😉
I think my favorite character, aside from the romantic leads, would have to be Grandmother Eve. She’s a very perceptive and persuasive woman. I love the way she encourages Susanna to value love over status and to find the bravery to do the right thing. Plus she practices what she preaches, doing her part to stand up for what’s right. In her own words (Page 275):
“Sometimes doing the right thing is perilous, darling.” Grandmother Eve was already lowering the trapdoor. “But you are brave, Susanna. Braver than you know.”
Have you read this book yet? Because it happens to be the subject of discussion in this month’s #HedlundChallenge2015 discussion, which is happening TODAY (2/24/15) at the Books and Beverages blog, so hop on over there to share your opinion. Or tell me here. That’d be cool too. For more about the Jody Hedlund Challenge and to find out what’s up for discussion next month, check out these posts.