ABOUT THE BOOK
After facing desperate heartache and loss, Mercy agrees to escape a bleak future in London and join a bride ship. Wealthy and titled, Joseph leaves home and takes to the sea as the ships surgeon to escape the pain of losing his family. He has no intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, they must fight against a forbidden love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over a dozen novels, including Luther and Katharina, winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.
You can find Jody at these locations:
A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are so many reasons that I love this book. The history fan in me loved learning, for the first time, about the bride ships that transported young women to become the brides of strangers. These journeys from England to Vancouver Island and British Columbia in the 1860s were often filled with dangerous storms, overwhelming hunger, devastating illness, and they always held the uncertainty of what was waiting at the end of the trip.
The romantic part of me swooned at the overwhelming attraction between Mercy Wilkins and Joseph Colville. I was touched by Mercy's sweet nature and her nurturing abilities and no one deserved to be named Mercy more than her. Joseph Colville answered to both Dr. Colville and Lord Colville and I admired his dedication to helping everyone regardless of their social status. I also appreciated that he wasn't a lady's man and actually valued and respected women. And as he came to know Mercy, he realized "From the first time he'd met her until now, he'd known she was special, the kind of woman a man meets but once in a lifetime."
But most of all, I loved this story of a young, poverty-stricken young woman who felt that she would never escape the slums of London. As I read of the living conditions during this time, I was appalled but I also couldn't help thinking that these same situations still exist and there are young women today who never have hopes of a better way of life. As a very young girl Mercy received kindness and support from a doctor who chose to treat the people in her London slum and it was through him that she first learned about a Higher Power. "Whenever Dr. Bates talked about God, she didn't know how to respond. He spoke as if God truly cared about her. Yet, if God cared, she hadn't felt it, hadn't felt His nearness, hadn't felt His directing her. If anything, she'd always felt as though her life hadn't mattered."
As Mercy endures this long journey from England she begins to experience romantic feelings for Dr. Joseph Colville. She starts to understand that she is worthy of respect and love and she realizes that she herself has also been judgemental about people. She finally understands that she "was as guilty of making assumptions about the wealthy as they were of forming their views about the poor. She'd do well to stop rushing to judge and instead see beyond the surface to the real person."
A Reluctant Bride allows us to witness Mercy and Joseph's ability to work through their painful pasts and to make plans for their futures. It also shows their Christian growth and reaffirms the ultimate fact that we are all equal in God's eyes. Yes, I am a fan of both this book and of author Jody Hedlund and I highly recommend A Reluctant Bride. I look forward the next book of The Bride Ships series!
I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher and I was not required to write a positive review.
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