This is the second book I've read by Jody Hedlund and I'm fast becoming a big fan. She researches the time period she writes about very throughly and I'm learning a lot about real history by reading her fictional accounts. This book is written about the 1880s and focuses on the German immigration into the northern area of Michigan. There was an epidemic of typhoid fever during this time and she had several of her book characters develop this disease. Annalisa's life mirrors those of the real life people from that time period. After her husband dies, she struggles to run her farm and earn enough money to make the deadline for payment on her property or she could lose it. Her father dictates who she will marry to help save the farm but Annalisa, not typical of the women of that time, stands up,to her father. Carl is sent from Germany to help and a friendship is formed. There are secrets to be learned, struggles to be had and a shocking surprise close to the end that throws a kink into what we had thought all along.....
I have now officially discovered a new historical fiction author (new to me, that is), and I cannot recommend her highly enough! I was enthralled with this book from the very beginning, and it just seems that I read this book so fast. So much happened, and I connected with this story in the way I like to connect with historical fiction. Indeed Jody Hedlund is the kind of author that truly makes me love historical fiction. The story is well-researched, and even though liberties are taken, she can back up her story with evidence.
But let's get past all that. Carl and Annaslisa are delightful characters that just jump off the page from the moment you are introduced to them. I never found the story sappy. I had a vague idea of how the story would end, and the author added enough realism in the story to keep it true to form. I think if a guy like Carl came into my life, I would react similarly to Annaslisa. The strength of both characters comes through, and there are some delightfully funny portions of the story as well.
The best thing is that this is a Christian book, but it is never preachy. The characters all doubt God's existence and love, but in the end, they place their simple trust in Him. You will find nothing inappropriate, and I hope that the author writes a sequel. She certainly left the book concluded but still open to another story. I would highly recommend this book to those who love historical romances. But if you don't like romance, I think you still might like this book since the romance is quite minimal (but awfully sweet!).
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
I have read each of Jody Hedlund's books, but I have to say that "A Noble Groom" is by far her best work. The story so vividly describes the struggles of immigrants. The author, as always, builds believable, relatable and endearing characters. I loved the gentle romance that budded between Annalisa and Carl. Both characters had very different views on love. There is a strong Biblical thread throughout this story, but I think the scene that won my admiration was found in Chapter 15 starting on page 253. Annalisa and Carl share their first kiss and due to dire circumstances Annalisa considers seducing Carl which under the law of the day would force Carl to marry her. Every urge in Annalisa was to succumb to fleshly desires, but because she loves God and Carl she flees the temptation. Her solution to her problems would have been easy, one sin, to seemingly "fix" everything. This situation is so relatable to our lives today. How many times do we believe that by doing one wrong, we can make good and order of our lives? When we do, the consequences are heavy, and we have taken control of our lives out of God's hands and into our own. This was the theme I detected throughout this book. Both characters struggle between doing what is right in God's eyes and doing what is easy and safe in their fleshly eyes. Thank you Jody Hedlund for writing this story, dealing with some very difficult issues (domestic abuse, emotional abuse, sexual desires) and dealing with them tastefully and most importantly, Biblically. This book has taken its place in my personal Top 10 books. It met all my expectations for a great book. So many times, Christian authors "water-down" the presence of Christianity in their books, so that the book is basically "moral" but does not challenge or convict the reader. In my opinion, the mark of a great author is to leave no doubt that the Gospel was presented and the reader takes away a new perspective in their Christian walk. Jody Hedlund nailed it all in this book. "A Noble Groom" has Bible based views on romance and the difficulties faced in this world. It also had an intriguing, unpredictable plot, filled with suspense. I strongly recommend this book and I look forward to future books by this author!
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is kind of like the mail order bride books, except with a twist. Make that a couple of twists. After Annalisa's husband suddenly dies her father decides she needs a new husband and quickly. He takes matters into his own hands and writes a letter to a cousin to send an available male. The cousin receives the letter but sends someone else instead. The mystery man arrives just in the nick of time, but he's got some secrets that he's not telling.
I loved the new take on this age old tradition. Carl is such a breath of fresh air for this community. The men are very dominant and angry but Carl slowly begins to change things. It was a nice reminder that one person can make a difference.
I was struck by just how stark living conditions could be for people trying to eke out a living from the soil. No wonder tempers were short. Poverty was constantly knocking at the door. Men were designed to be providers and in this situation it is easy to see how they would feel like failures and become hardened.
The budding trust and affection between Carl and Annalisa was beautifully written. My heart broke when Carl's secrets began to come to light. Jody Hedlund has once again put together a novel that touches on all your emotions. I think you will laugh and cry with the characters but most importantly when you close the cover for the last time you will sigh with contentment.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
"A Noble Groom" is a new twist on the 'mail order bride' story type. Set in 1880 in Forestville, Michigan our heroine is a new widow who isn't very eager to enter into what would be her second arranged marriage. Her first husband was abusive and a gambler. Annalisa is expecting their second child, and will likely lose her farm if she doesn't get a new husband.
Annalisa's farm is part of a community consisting entirely of immigrants from Germany that are working together to make it through homesteading newly broken American ground together. As a community they decide to write to their families back in Germany to get her a husband. Annalisa is fearful that a new husband may be even worse than her last _ but has long ago given up on her girlhood dreams of marrying for love.
While she waits for her prospective cousin/groom to arrive from the Old Country a young man named Carl arrives offering to help. He claims to have been a school teacher, and he knows very little about farming - but his charming and gentle ways give Annalisa new hope that all men aren't like her former husband. But do her feelings lie deeper than that for this man? And is he really a former teacher? The story is worth the read to find out!
*This book was sent to me by the publisher for review with no guarantee of a positive review.