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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 13 September 2011
This is the story of a young Puritan woman Elizabeth Whitbread, she lives in the small town of Elstow Bedfordshire it is May 1659. Elizabeth has promised to marry Samuel a cooper, now he has finished his apprenticeship he has his own cottage and he is keen to set the date for their marriage. John Costin's wife has died of childbed fever leaving their four children motherless. It is decided amongst the elders of the village that Elizabeth act as his housekeeper. John is a tinker but, he also preaches the gospel this takes him away from home each day travelling, plying his trade and preaching the word of God. When Samuel gets tired of waiting for his marriage to Elizabeth to take place, he gives her an ultimatum marry him and give up being John's housekeeper. Or he will back out of their arrangement. During her time as John's housekeeper Elizabeth has faced threats and violence from a royalist who wishes to gather evidence against John as he is somewhat of a controversial figure. Elizabeth cannot in good conscience leave John Costin's children with no one to look after them as she has come to care for them very much. Elizabeth has also developed an attachment for John, now with the marriage to Samuel cancelled, she has to face the fact that as the plainest of her sisters she may never get another offer. The elders convince John he needs to marry. But who will he choose?
I did not initially realise that this book is loosely based of the second marriage of John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim's Progress (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature). This story is set in the period nearing the end of the commonwealths rule of England. When parliament negotiated with Charles II to return to England. John Bunyan was arrested and spent many years in Bedford Prison for unlicensed preaching. He was periodically released, but not for long as he refused to stop preaching the word of God. This is not the sort of love story that I usually read, nevertheless I really liked it. The puritan way of life is well detailed, the author has obviously done her research. The characters are very believable, and the story is well told, even though it is not hearts and flowers all the time. To sum up a book well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2011
El libro es sin duda muy bueno. Tiene una buena trama y se nota que la escritora investigo la epoca. Los personajes de la trama son apasionados en sus convicciones. El mensaje de Dios es claro y relevante para esta epoca. Recomendaria este libro 100%. Vale comprarlo.

The book is certainly very good. It has a good plot and it shows that the writer did her research. The characters in the plot are passionate in their conviction. God's message is clear and relevant to this era. I 100% recommend this book. Worth buying it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2014
I would have liked to have given this five stars since I enjoyed the story very much. I felt as though I was in Puritan England in the seventeenth century and I loved the use of the language. I did feel sad that John didn't get dressed up for his wedding to Elizabeth and almost forgot that it was happening in the first place. However, some of the terminology threw me a bit. I wondered if folk had 'issues' in those times, plus the word 'okay' was used and that pulled me out of the story somewhat. But even so, I would recommend this wonderful story as a 'must read'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2014
It certainly brought to life how difficult life was in those days, and how religion could cause problems. Not until I had read this book did I read the reviews and discover that it was loosely based on Bunyan's life. It made me respect him even more, knowing what he had had to endure.
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on 6 September 2015
I was totally caught up in this book from the first page. Jody Hedlund is very adept at crafting a great story, hero's and heroine's lives interwoven with romance, historical fact, danger,and so many "nearly but not quite" moments of misunderstanding and thwarted hopes. I struggled to put it down to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I didn't realise until I reached the end that she had based her work of ficton on some of the main historical facts of the lives of John and Elizabeth Bunyan- this was a fascinating post script to the story, and I ended up googling more about John Bunyan. I couldn't find much more about Elizabeth than the facts the author had included in her story, but found some really inspiring articles about John Bunyan that I never knew.-a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2014
This was a fantastic read. once stated I could not put it down. I liked the fact that although based on Pilgrims Progress it kept the historic facts but a good story around it. It would make a good tv film/mini series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2014
I found this book interesting without realising whose story it was based on and found the historical context fascinating . It was moving at the end to realise who John was
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on 15 March 2014
The theme of God's calling and the historical setting were fantastic. I really enjoyed getting into Elizabeth's life and understanding more about that time. It is the only way I can take history in and the sacrificial nature of following God's call is a lesson for us today.
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on 21 March 2014
A really enjoyable book to read. The book highlighted the difficulties and prejudices ordinary people faced from royalists after the death of Oliver Cromwell. It was a heart warming story written in a way which was easy to read. I could not put it down.
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on 22 October 2015
I enjoy Christian fiction on the whole, but this actually could have been MORE Christian. It is a fairly short, easy read, which is why I gave it only three stars. It could have been much further developed into a truly good, long novel.
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