In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town’s wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.
In trying to discover true love’s path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?
As usual, Siri Mitchell writes a beautiful story, filled with detailed historical facts and potent theological arguements, all woven nicely into a compelling novel. Topics such as God’s revelation to man, grace & faith vs. works righteousness, and what a relationship with Christ looks like, are all braided into this story of a young woman trying to know God and herself.
I would make only one reservation to this story – not all Puritans were as rigid or self-righteous as many of those in this novel. The reputation Puritans have is sad in many ways and based upon some who were set on ‘earning’ salvation instead of revelling in God’s grace. Susannah Phillips, the protagonist in this novel, is struggling with this exact question. “What does God require of me?” I think down deep, we all struggle with these questions at some time or other. How can we get to God? What does God want me to do? How can I know him?
Susannah is confronted with a truth that shakes the foundation of her childhood faith and sends her thoughts spiraling into the frightening unknown. Even though her heart wonders about the spiritual ‘freedom’ of Captain Daniel Holcombe, his believes battle against everything she’s been brought up to understand…but his personality, tenderness, wit, and logic begin to weedle away at the certainty she attempts to project.
When Susannah begins to fall in love with this captain who is an outsider to her faith (or so she believes), and when she is betrothed to a man with uncertain character, what will she do? Will God’s love come from an unexpected place to rescue her or will she conform to the rules of her world?
This story entranced me…fantastic read.