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To Have and to Hold: A Tale of Providence and Perseverance in Colonial Jamestown
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To Have and to Hold: A Tale of Providence and Perseverance in Colonial Jamestown

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  486 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
A fledgling colony on the shores of the James River struggles desperately to survive and earn the good will of the King of England as Spanish dons, ruthless pirates, and lurking Indians plot to destroy Jamestown and its handful of colonists. Within this world, a simple, godly soldier braves all odds to defend his honor and his duty to uphold God’s sacred laws, all the whil ...more
Hardcover, 429 pages
Published October 13th 2006 by The Vision Forum, Inc. (first published 1899)
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Feb 19, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most captivating novels I’ve read in a long time. Originally published in 1907 for the Jamestown tercentennial, it was republished last year for the four hundredth birthday of the Jamestown settlement. Appropriately, the setting is colonial Jamestown. Several history characters are introduced and become a part of the story. James Rolfe is the best friend of the story’s hero. A good writer can bring readers to laughter and tears, and Mary Johnston does both. The story has been ...more
This is one of my favorite books, and I have an excellent first edition copy. I notice that some people did not like the Vision Forum edition (while I like Vision Forum, I despise edited books), so I would recommend that someone either order an unedited copy from a used book store or read the free Project Gutenburg copy. The history in this is so accurate that I got every related question on my college history entrance exam correct, since I had just finished reading it! I would highly recommend ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, a first edition published in 1900, was a gift to me by my son Carson. It is the basis of the first movie he was cast in which was filmed in November 2011. This book was the favorite novel of the producer's deceased wife. It was billed as a love story. There is a love story that develops throughout the book; however, I thought the book was more a commentary on early life in the Jamestown colony, the relationships among the men in a primarily male community, as well as the ever shifting ...more
Jenny Q
I selected this title for the collection, and it's my favorite of our inaugural line-up. But then, I am a sucker for anything Colonial American! To Have and to Hold was originally published as a serial, so you can expect lots of dramatic twists and turns. It's rich in real history with gorgeous language and beautiful descriptions, and Captain Ralph Percy is To. Die. For. The author led a pretty interesting life, too. Check out the story behind the story on The Vintage Reader.
Apr 15, 2010 Linore rated it really liked it
This book was an unexpected delight. Besides the fascinating historicity of 17th century life in the early Virginia settlement (Jamestown), there is a love story, a good meaty villain, and a winsome, well developed cast of characters. The place sketches (land, water, geography, topography) is so well drawn by the author that you can feel the wilderness about you while reading.
The heroine is perhaps the "weak" spot in the book. She is a stereotypical frail beauty, retiring, shy, and breathtaking
Mar 14, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing
I learned a bit of Jamestown history that I wasn't aware of. I am not big on fiction or love stories. I never read them. I highly recommend this book inspite of that. The relationship between the "couple" was handled very responsibly and respectfully raising this book to a whole new level. Far above typical christian romance.
Sep 23, 2007 Grace rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I love this book. So very romantic, and exciting, in a Victorian sort of way but minus the dripping sentimentality. Rather like the Scarlet Pimpernel, actually!
Laura Verret
Jul 11, 2009 Laura Verret rated it really liked it
A tale of adventure and Providence set in early Jamestown.

The Story.

I, Ralph Percy had no intention to marry. I am a landholder, but more importantly, a soldier in the new world. As such, I have neither the leisure nor inclination to establish a family. Nevertheless, I was delighted to be visited by my good friend, John Rolfe – husband of the beautiful Indian princess, Pocahontas. He brought news, interesting news – 'twould seem that a shipload of young women, fresh from England, was to be unloa
Genevieve Graham
May 28, 2012 Genevieve Graham rated it liked it
In Which I Summarize My Thoughts
I had no idea what to expect with this. I didn't realize “To Have And To Hold” was the #1 bestselling book of 1900, and perhaps I should have researched before committing to do a review; however, the whole idea of immersing myself in Jamestown 1621 was fairly intoxicating. I'm a big John Smith / Pocahontas fan, and it was an added treat for the author to include Rolfe, Pocahontas' husband. He is only a slight character, occasionally peeking out from the curtains t
Lisa Rathbun
I really like this adventure story. The hero is not exactly politically correct, but his courage and chivalry are exciting. In history class, it's almost like "Jamestown, Pilgrims, Revolutionary War", but there are 150 years of American history there that often get overlooked. This book lets you see how tenuous a hold those first settlers had in this New World.
Natalie Wickham
Oct 29, 2009 Natalie Wickham rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A heartwarming account of a man and his sacrificial love for his wife as he fights for her safety in the face of a multitude of trials and dangerous situations. The story is captivating and kept me up late into the night for several nights in a row!
Oct 06, 2007 Bekah rated it liked it
Fun adventure love story, I just prefer those type of stories with a stronger female role usually (yes I'm a feminist at heart- though a homemaker feminist)- though it wasn't written when that would have been in demand- and I didn't like how the Indians were always portrayed-
Mar 28, 2015 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was required reading for me my senior year in high school. My teacher loved it. I wasn't as thrilled.

The story is okay. I definitely wasn't one for any romance at that time in my life. The Jamestown setting was interesting.

'Od's blood! It was not my cup of tea.
Jan 27, 2010 Caitlin rated it it was amazing
I like Vision Forums version. I think it's cool how the guy sticks with her even though she is using him.
Feb 13, 2015 Gaile rated it did not like it
Shelves: 17th-century
Boring, boring, boring --- never finished.
Jul 18, 2011 Vivian rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
This panoramic adventure story reads like a fortunately / unfortunately tale of unrequited love, political intrigue, and survival--all painted on the historic canvas of the Jamestown colony of 1619-1620.

Our story begins with the most welcome arrival of a "ship of maidens" and a confirmed batchelor's decision to watch the spectacle with detached interest. Predicatably, he bargains for a bride and gets much more (and much less) than anticipated.

Penned by Mary Johnston (born 1870) and first publish
Adventurous historical romance. Written a century ago. Set in 1620, Colonial Jamestown, Virginia, and on the high seas, aboard a pirate ship, deep in the woods, etc. Dialogue is written in an older English, so it may be challenging, but narration is in modern English. I'm aware that an edited, "christianized" version is out there, but I want the original. It's FREE at Feedbooks:

I plan to read this, since it became such a bestseller a century ago. Apparen
Jo Notary
Jan 19, 2016 Jo Notary marked it as to-read
301p A dauntless hero will do whatever it takes to win the heart of his bride in Mary Johnston 19s bestselling historical adventure set in colonial Jamestown
Captain Percy is the embodiment of bravery. At the suggestion of a friend, he boards a ship to America to stake his claim in the New World 14and perhaps even meet the woman of his dreams. Meanwhile, eligible women are setting sail to the very same place on 1Cbride ships 1D in order to find husbands and forge new lives. Jocelyn Leigh is one
Apr 22, 2012 Meredith rated it liked it
I first taught this book 20 years ago with the original author Mary Johnstone. It went out of print, though I still had my old worn out copy. I was so thrilled to see it was republished. However, I am disturbed by the liberties the new editors took to overly Christianize this to their own slanted view of Christianity. They changed Jeremy Sparrow into a Separatist minister, which historically would not be correct for Jamestown. The scene with Carnal and Percy on the ship in which Jocelyn eloquent ...more
Steve Hemmeke
Mar 24, 2013 Steve Hemmeke rated it liked it
Written 100 years ago as a work of historical fiction, Mary Johnston's book has been "enhanced and edited to reflect the providential hand of God in history and to honor His name."

That kind of thing doesn't usually float my boat, as a literary and historical purist. But I gave it a shot, and it was worth the time.

There were plenty plot twists and surprises to achieve decent "grip," keeping me turning pages. The window into Indian life, and the politics of Jamestown after its survival was more as
Thom Swennes
Oct 23, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Necessity is the mother of invention and sometimes the product of desperation. Set in the Puritan colony of Jamestown, Virginia a woman of noble birth and ward of the king flees to the American Continent to escape an undesirable arranged marriage. To Have and to Hold, published in 1900 and written by Mary Johnston (1870-1936) is well worth the reading. Jocelyn Leigh was verbally given to the King’s favorite, Lord Carnal but preferred the uncertainties of colonial life to marriage by another’s de ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Paula rated it it was ok
I read this book, because I wanted to get a feel for life in colonial Jamestown, and thought that an historical novel would be a painless way to accomplish that. Since the author was a woman, I thought that it would avoid much of the violence of the time. However, this author didn't flinch. The book reads like a slow paced action movie. It has many "out of the frying pan into the fire" types of situations, but they are drawn out for page after page, chapter after chapter. I was hoping for more c ...more
May 17, 2016 Kevin rated it liked it
History, adventure, pirates, indians, unrequited love, devotion, passion - this book has it all. That may be why it is so hard to take, but also why it is so captivating. It is a story told a million times with a colonial Virginia backdrop. That is not intended to diminish the tale. It is a very enjoyable story. Captain Percy is gallant and brave. He would be a hero in any generation. The Lady Joclyn might have shocked the readers of the late 19th century with her daring and determination. Toget ...more
Eli King
Sep 20, 2012 Eli King rated it it was amazing
Okay, call me a sap, a hopeless romantic...whatever. This is one of my all time favorite books that I devoured in about a week after borrowing it from a friend. The story is incredible, suspenseful and interesting from beginning to end. While it might be a "romance" by category, I've read mystery thrillers with more mush in them than this, and I'm not sure they were even half as long. This book is old, but the edition I read is actually the one published by Vision Forum Ministries, which I belie ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
What a delightful book! A friend loaned me this beautiful copy, and I had a great few days filled with reading it. :)

The story line follows a lady in great distress and her champion- her husband. It is a beautiful love story that shows true love in every step. Love isn't always the mushy holding hands and kissing, it is really the self-sacrifice and devotion which is shown in this story.

I also appreciated the men in this book. Though there are some awful rouges, there are more men who are of g
Peter Pactor
Aug 29, 2016 Peter Pactor rated it it was amazing
I decided to read all the best sellers from the twentieth century. To Have And To Hold was the best seller of 1900. When I read it, it was clear why it was so popular. This is a story of a man seeking a wife from a shipment of women who were seeking a husband. There weren't many women in Virginia at that time.
He found one and married her that day, but he didn't know that she was the king's ward. She fled because the king said she had to marry one of his lords (the villain). The story's plot is h
Jul 10, 2015 Elaine rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book written around 1900 by Mary Johnston. It is a love story and heroic tale set in the early English settlement of Jamestown, VA. A English ship loaded with young women arrives in the town to purchased as brides for the men. Ralph Percy pays the price in tobacco for a beautiful young woman posing as a former ladies maid. But in truth she turns out to be a lady of the court and ward of the King of England. A Lord Carnal arrives and says she was promised to him and does every ...more
Anna Mcfarland
Feb 03, 2011 Anna Mcfarland rated it it was amazing
Set in Colonial Jamestown, this book is anything but dry. When a ship arrives with women, men hurry to wed them because of the lack of women in the colony. The story follows Captain Ralph Percy. The brave soldier protects a woman from a fool who was forcing his attentions on her. Percy ends up proposing to the woman and she accepts only for a roof over her head. The woman’s identity is a mystery. This man protects her through many dangers (Indians, swashbuckling pirates) and at last, he secures ...more
Feb 25, 2013 Damson rated it it was ok
I have a mixed response to this book. I liked the descriptive prose and the story but then I started to find the words were getting in the way of the story. I skipped several chunks of the book by reading just the first line of some paragraphs. The relationship didn't develop or grow and the interaction between the couple needed something more. I liked the setting and the history but at times it felt like swimming through treacle. I didn't find it particularly 'christian'. Lots to like and lots ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read-imho
An excellent historical adventure novel! Well-written, with fast-paced action, humor, and virtuous storyline. Don't be afraid of the original 1899/1900 edition; in fact, you may prefer it. It reads smoothly and easily with just enough period language to keep you on your toes. This book definitely qualifies for that hard-to-put-down category. Also recommended for a family read-aloud or tween/teen history living book. I found TO HAVE AND TO HOLD a fun and satisfying read. Highly recommended.
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The daughter of an American Civil War soldier who became a successful lawyer, Mary Johnston was born in the small town of Buchanan, Virginia. A small and frail girl, she was educated at home by family and tutors. She grew up with a love of books and was financially independent enough to devote herself to writing.

Johnston wrote historical books and novels that often combined romance with history. H
More about Mary Johnston...

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