I'm always amused by the Christian romance genre; a kiss is the utmost pinnacle of physical aspiration. In "Rebellious Heart" by Jody Hedlund, it was no different. As always, they long for each other's lips, miscommunicate their feelings, and of course the heroine in the book is not like other girls because she loves books. The one thing I wish the author had done was let us, the readers, know that she had based the book loosely on the lives of John and Abigail Adams. It's written in the back of the book but it would have given the story a whole other level to have had that information before starting. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes fluffy romance novels that follow the expected format. Nothing was reinvented here.
I must admit that as I read Rebellious Heart this past week, my husband had to listen to me say numerous times, "Oh, I am sooo enjoying this book!" Another phrase he heard me repeatedly say was, "This is so good!" Finally, as I finished this story that is set amid the first grumblings of the American Revolution, I uttered, "Oh, that was wonderful! I wish it never had to end!"
With a well written plot and admirable characters, Rebellious Heart caught me up in its grasp right from the start and pulled me into the developing relationship of Susanna Smith and Benjamin Ross. These two characters have so much to recommend them. They care for others, love God and are deep thinkers. But can either of them give up on the idea that they must marry primarily to improve their positions in society? The attraction between Susanna and Ben sizzles. Throw in some heinous murders, Red Coats and a runaway indentured servant and you have a beautiful blend of romance and excitement.
I would recommend Rebellious Heart to all readers who love historical fiction and romance.
I received a complimentary copy of Rebellious Heart from the author and Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Jody Hedlund has the gift of bringing history to life in stories inspired by real events. "Rebellious Heart" is loosely based on the love between John and Abigail Adams. The connection to the famous historical figures is not directly tangible, but their fictional counterparts show courage, faith, mercy, and love that the Adamses likely possessed. Hedlund weaves a story of love and mystery that keeps the plot interesting. Susanna's connection to a runaway indentured servant and Ben's loyalty to the Patriot cause create tense moments. The central mystery revolves around a murder case that impacts the entire town. It lends a sense of darkness in the details, somewhat reminiscent of Dickens. There are elements of the murder mystery threaded throughout the plot, so I expected a significant climax leading to its resolution. The novel ties up neatly and completely, but almost too easily.
Susanna and Ben find themselves on opposing sides of the mounting rebellion and living in different social spheres. Circumstances repeatedly throw them together, creating the perfect recipe for romantic tensions. Ben allows statements that Susanna made when she was just 5 years old to act as a barrier to his growing feelings for her as an adult. This strikes me as a bit unrealistic, but it is a small detail in the overall story.
"Rebellious Heart" is the second novel I have read in as many weeks that is set around America's fight for independence. Although both books focus on the same topic, they are executed differently to give readers unique views of a pivotal time in history. Hedlund depicts the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, when loyalties were fractured. Reading about the Revolution has renewed my appreciation for the brave individuals who stand up for justice and freedom. Hedlund reminds her readers that a "rebellious" heart can be an asset to the world when its motives are pure and just.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Rebellious Heart takes us back to 1760s, pre-revolution, Massachusetts. The colonies were just beginning to turn against the Crown. The timing in which I read this book is ironic. My family and I recently made a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, where we got a good sense of the era and what life was like during that time period. That being said, Hedlund did a great job bringing the era to life and staying true to the facts.
I loved Susanna and Ben. Susanna made such excellent progress from where she started. Even when she made, in my opinion, a stupid decision, I could see where she was coming from and I understood her motives. Hedlund did a fantastic job crafting both Susanna and Ben. They responded to situations not as I wanted them to, but as real people would.
This is definitely my favorite so far from Hedlund, and it will be keeping a permanent place on my shelf. There was a great balance of drama and romance, and I especially loved the author's note at the end, do not skip over it!! Those who love historical novels set in the pre-revolution/revolution era will enjoy this one. I recommend to ages 15 and up for readability and content.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!
Set in 1763, their story is one of sacrifice and love. Jody has done an excellent job of showing God's unfailing love through the character of Ben Ross. He is a man who has been humiliated and rejected, yet he continues to open to his heart and the one woman he loves. Just as God continues to love us even when we are undeserving. Susanna Smith is a confused young woman who through the grace of God is offered a chance at redemption. She is afraid, but finds that God is her true source of strength, as she learns that just because it's the law, that doesn't mean that is morally right. I loved watching how her character changes and grows as the story progressed. It was like watching my sister fall in love and bring privy to all her secrets. I loved it!
At the end of the book, Jody leaves an author's note, telling the reader this story was based on the life of John and Abigail Adams. She gave detailed information about how the story runs parallel to their lives. I believe knowing this serves to make this book even more special.