I know… I know, I just posted a book review last week! I have two more book reviews to share so I am caught up before Christmas, so bear with me. 🙂 Today I’m going to talk about Jody Hedlund’s Rebellious Heart. I read this book as part of the awesome book review program offered by Bethany House Publishers.
Massachusetts, 1763. When Susanna Smith and Benjamin Ross act to save the life of a runaway indentured servant, they’ll risk everything for love and justice in a nation on the brink of revolution.
And as usual… my five point review.
- I NEVER WANTED THIS BOOK TO END. Never never never. It was SO good. So engaging, so funny, so frightful, so wonderful. The story is based on the true story of John and Abigail Adams, which is really interesting. Makes me want to read more about them! Reading about the Colonial era is something I haven’t done very much of since I was into Felicity and the other American Girl dolls back in the day, but now I want to explore Goodreads and see what else is out there!
- Knowing that Benjamin [or Ben, as he goes by in the book] is really John Adams puts a bit more perspective and context into this character. Nevertheless, watching Ben develop from a “nobody” as initially stated into a man of purpose throughout the story was amazing. Really, Susanna developed a lot too, but that’s typical of female leads in Christian romance novels. I love seeing strong men in these books because that’s who men should emulate nowadays, not weak men that [can] be common because of societal pressures and gender equality. [BTW this isn’t a political stance on gender, just a statement that Ben the character is strong and I like that.]
- It was really interesting–and really heartbreaking–to consider one of the key themes of this story. Justice is a huge part of this book, and this era of history–who deserves justice, what is justice, who has justice, etc. The runaway indentured servant that Ben and Susanna are fighting to save is named Dotty, and she has suffered terrible abuses. It was just SO sad what she had been through, and I had to keep reminding myself that Dotty was not a real person. However, her story unfortunately was all too common, and often [in real life] the perpetrators were never punished because of societal views on the practice of indenturing people and the role/importance of women in society. Dotty’s story also provides a nice backdrop for considering the colonies and British rule… however Ben my husband tells me [from the Assassin’s Creed video game] that perhaps some the outcomes of British rule like taxes that the Colonists fought against may have been a bit more justified than our history texts lead us to believe. That is a whole ‘nother issue though, but I just wanted to acknowledge that perspective. This doesn’t change the fact that indentured servitude often resulted in mistreatment of people–women AND men, so Dotty’s story is still very important.
- Faith definitely plays an element in this story but not in a preachy, over the top way. The work of Susanna and Ben in caring for Dotty, and the work of Susanna and her mother in caring for poor widows and orphans in their community is certainly a response to God… but the faith journey is not part of this story at all. I’m not sure that would have added much to the story anyway, as it was very powerful already.
- Lastly, I’ve read nearly all of Jody Hedlund’s wonderful historical fiction books. They are all well researched. She does a great job at developing both characters and plot, and this tale is no different. I heartily encourage you to pick it up for your next plane ride or reading day on the couch. I think it’s my favorite Jody Hedlund book by far!
What are you reading lately?
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!