5 Stars Out Of 5
Exciting adventure, lovely romance, historical fiction
August 31, 2014
The old Greek mythological story of a sculptor, Pygmalion, and his beautiful statue is classical reading, with variations and modernizations in today's literature everywhere you look. An update on the story was made into the movie, My Fair Lady, years ago. Threads of Faith could be another adaptation, written from a Christian point of view. The young object of transformation is Julianna Wayland, a waif from the streets of London of the late nineteenth century. She wasn't exactly the guttersnipe portrayed in the movie, but her Cockney accent placed her at least among the lowly maids of a grand Lord's household.
The instrument of transformation is a young American Captain, Daniel Sundberg, aboard his ship the Allegiance. Originally from a Wisconsin farm, Daniel ran away from home when he was 15 to fight in the War Between the States, although by the time he arrived in New York it was too late. He was found in the streets, bedraggled and hungry, by George Ramsey and taken into his household. Because George and Eliza had no children of their own, they adopted Daniel, educated him, and made him heir of the considerable Ramsey fortune. Daniel worked hard developing leadership skills and eventually became known among crews of sailing ships from New York to London as The Prince of Sea Captains because he always treated his crew well.
Captain Sundberg was an honorable man, the first Julianna had ever met. She first encountered him aboard his ship where she was discovered in a packing crate in the hold. Unfortunately, stowaways were looked upon as criminals even though we discover in the first few exciting chapters that she was there by accident. Her presence was discovered by a surly man known as the Grisly Devil. Refusing his advances earned her a severe beating that put her in the ship's infirmary. The captain didn't know what to do with her; for her protection, the remainder of the voyage was spent recovering in the jail cell adjoining the Captain's office. They became well acquainted, learned each other's secrets. Julianna fell in love with him. He liked her sass and chatter, her thoughtfulness of others and she liked his honesty and sense of responsibility. Captain Sundberg decided to take Miss Wayland to Wisconsin since he was journeying there to visit his dying father. He provided for her passage costs and new clothing and a chance to begin a new life.
There are many aspects of this book I really enjoyed. It takes off at a sprint right from the beginning when Julianna attempts to escape a pursuer in the opening scenes. It continues at a rapid pace from that point on. We learn important things about Julianna's character that we find admirable. For example she had always been determined to live a better life than what her sister had chosen for herself. Even though she grew up in the streets, she learned to read without schooling, found employment and saved money so that she could attempt to rescue her sister and move away from the city. She probably would have been successful in improving her life on her own if she hadn't been forced to find refuge from a scoundrel. As it was, being sponsored by the Captain was an opportunity she would be ungrateful to turn down. Living with Daniel's family was an important step for her personal development. She literally blossomed in her new environment, and it is then that she took the most important steps in her life, trusting God with her heart and finding joy living in faith in Christ from day to day. The author creates such a lovable character that we want her to find her happily ever after in this story.
Not only is Julianna likable, we see a lot to admire in Daniel's life as well. The author has created two main characters we grow close to very quickly in this book, even in spite of some less than admirable struggles on Daniel's part. In a series of twists and turns and complications involving Daniel's Wisconsin family and his adopted family, his eyes were opening to mis-perceptions of his youth and the manipulation he experienced in unexpected places. He was stubborn, even as a young man, and the author uses this stubbornness to delay resolution for Daniel until the very last moment possible, creating expectation and tension for the reader.
The one thing I was a little bit unhappy about was the development of a sudden turnabout in George Ramsey, Daniel's mentor. It seemed out of character for him to change directions and even attitudes after a lifetime of one type of lifestyle, even if it resulted from Daniel's prompts. I felt that that part of the resolution was too abrupt and too unrealistic without more understanding of the motive behind the action, considering the type of person George showed himself to be.
I loved the historical detail the author added to the basic plot. She created a rich tapestry of background that fit so well with the direction of the story line. I appreciate her attention to such detail. The romance was heartwarming and eventually satisfying. This is a combination I love to read. So much that I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy this combination as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Booketeria on behalf of Charisma Media/Realms. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.