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Hearts of Faith

The Preacher's Bride

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In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher—whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.

Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child—and man—she's come to love.

384 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2010

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About the author

Jody Hedlund

62 books3,879 followers
Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over forty books and is the winner of numerous awards. She writes sweet historical romances with plenty of sizzle. Find out more at jodyhedlund.com.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

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5 stars
2,323 (38%)
4 stars
2,068 (34%)
3 stars
1,203 (20%)
2 stars
268 (4%)
1 star
117 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 607 reviews
Profile Image for Serena Chase.
Author 5 books170 followers
September 24, 2011
I'll be honest. I did not enter this book with a positive attitude. For one thing, it looked like a typical, Christian bonnet-book, to which I hold a bit of, ahem, prejudice against. And secondly: I hated the title.

When I see the word "bride" in a novel's title, I tend to expect a way-too-sweet, formula romance -- the kind that makes you want to go suck on a jalapeno just to temper the aftergag. But...that's not what I got with Jody Hedlund's new novel. I got a thoughtfully written, emotionally straining, and sensually written story. In all honesty, I enjoyed this book on so many levels that I actually felt some mild pangs of guilt about my preconceived ideas about brides and bonnets from the cover. It was a good book. It was a well-written book. It was a sensual book.

Hedlund translates the restraint of the Puritan culture so beautifully that even the most seemingly innocuous touches between John and Elizabeth seem almost scandalous; yet within the framework of that culture of innocence and restraint, those moments are written in alluringly passionate prose. It's been a long time since I've read such an innocently sensual book.

Until I read the author's notes at the end, I didn't realize that The Preacher's Bride was based on true story. It was gratifying to see a piece of history and a hero of the faith (and of Story) fictionalized with such finesse, and I greatly enjoyed the tension-riddled, but beautiful love story within The Preacher's Bride. I found this novel to be engrossing, sensual, and beautifully written.
Profile Image for Natalie Vellacott.
Author 20 books866 followers
March 12, 2017
Somehow, I skipped the fact that this book was historical fiction. Had I realised, I would have assumed that as with most books in this genre, the setting was historical rather than the characters. There is no mention anywhere obvious that this book actually tells the true story of John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim's Progress and his wife, the preacher's bride. The author's note at the end of the book reveals this not so minor detail and explains which parts are true and which have been creatively adapted. I think the publisher has missed a trick here as I'm sure readers would have been more interested in this book if they had known the historical significance. I did a double take on finding this out as coincidentally, I am actually also reading Bunyan's classic book at this time!

Regardless, the book was a good read. John is called to be a preacher in England, but on losing his young wife, finds himself with the sole care of their four young children, the oldest is blind. The local Christian community rallies round to enable him to continue his calling and Elizabeth becomes his housekeeper and nanny to the children. However, John's calling to be an independent, unqualified preacher, with no state licence, results in serious persecution from those in power. He is faced with an impossible choice--give up his calling or be imprisoned and possible killed and what of his young children and the housekeeper that he has come to rely on?

The characters are well developed and the emotional struggles realistic. I thought the priorities for a man with a family and a calling to the ministry were also depicted well--the author argues from different perspectives and shows how difficult the issues can be. Ultimately, she concludes through an Elder in the story,

God would not have us use our gifts to the detriment of our families. I have heard it said 'Father's first reform your families, and then you will be fitter to reform the family of God.'

There is no bad language in this book, there are some violent scenes with some graphic detail which is border-line for me, there are romantic scenes that get a little heavy but no sexual detail is described.

I recommend this book for Christians. I would have preferred a Gospel presentation at some point, this maybe could have been done using Bunyan's writings which are referred to in the story. I'm sure the man himself would not have wanted the Gospel to be missed from any book written about his life, even one that is largely fictional. However, it is an easy and enjoyable read and you can learn some details about the Bunyan family in the process.

Profile Image for Beth.
783 reviews318 followers
September 25, 2015
This was my first read of a Hedlund novel, but it definitely won't be my last!

I was a little worried about how I would enjoy the Puritan setting, but once I got into it, the story flowed really well. The beginning was so dramatic, but in a good way! I was immediately sucked into the story. Thanks to this novel, I know that I can enjoy the Puritan setting now. I came to love Elizabeth, and although I never care for John the way I wanted to, his turn-around at the end was really sweet. Their romance progressed in a natural way that felt very believable.

The character motivations seemed a little off to me at times. I felt that they came to their conclusions a little too late. It wasn't quire realistic to me that a man dedicated to preaching would not understand how to treat his wife in a Biblical way. The villain of the story was perfectly horrible, but I really wanted more reasons behind why he was like that. This is just my opinion because it seems that most of my goodreads friends didn't have these same issues.

My favorite part was definitely the chapters leading up to the end. Elizabeth's bravery was so genuine, and I was really rooting for her. I didn't want to put the book down for the last half at all until I read through to the end, which I thought was perfect!

I already have The Doctor's Lady on my Kindle and Unending Devotion on my shelf at home, and I'm looking forward to both of them!
Profile Image for Madisyn Carlin.
Author 13 books226 followers
July 11, 2022
This book could easily be a four star if not for the overt sexual themes. Hedlund is amazingly capable of weaving words in such a way that draws the reader into the characters' world, and Hedlund never shies from including faith, which I always appreciate. What I didn't appreciate was the overt sexual tension and the scenes the book really could have done without. I'm honestly shocked the publisher allowed them. We don't need what's basically a bedroom scene--a few of them, in fact.

Like I said, Hedlund is a master of the craft when it comes to writing. I just wish that ability wasn't spent on such improper scenes.
Profile Image for Pauline Ross.
Author 10 books305 followers
September 25, 2011
I'm not exactly in the target audience for this book. It's described as an 'inspirational historical romance', and I don't do romance, I don't do historical and I certainly don't do inspirational. So what on earth am I doing reading it? Well, the author, Jody Hedlund, writes a blog about her authorial and family life that I rather enjoy. She sounds like a nice lady, who writes in her spare time, while also home-schooling five young children. Presumably she doesn't chain them up in the cellar while she writes, so I daresay there's a tame husband in the picture too. I have nothing but admiration for those who manage to create something for themselves, as well as baking cookies, bandaging grazed knees and all the myriad other duties of motherhood.

That in itself isn't enough to make me rush out and buy her book, but I was fascinated to read the reviews, because they were almost uniformly glowing, and far too many to all be written by friends of the author. That was intriguing. So when I discovered that the Kindle version was a free download, I decided to find out for myself what it was like. It took me a while to get into it (did I mention it's not my usual type of thing?) but I was determined to give it a fair shot, so I kept going.

In historical terms, I have no idea how accurate it is. The Kindle version employs an irritating pseudo-archaic font with curly bits, and the text is sprinkled with 'twas' and 'besure' and 'mine own' and 'oft' and suchlike, which don't always sound totally convincing. I got very little sense of place - there are few descriptions of buildings or scenery or clothes, so I had to use my imagination a lot. I wasn't even sure if it was set in England for a while. But occasionally the author uses a term or describes an event (like the bread-making) which sounds completely authentic, so she's obviously done her research.

The romance is - well, the usual thing. Two people who absolutely positively don't even like each other, but after a series of trials find that they do, actually, quite a lot. The hero and heroine are a bit irritating to start with. Elizabeth is a curious mixture of determined assertiveness and maidenly helplessness. She's quite priggish with her sister, too, constantly nagging her virtuously to be more of a good person. John is quite gruff and snappy, but then he has just lost his wife, so perhaps that's only to be expected. He's supposed to be quite a charismatic character, but that never quite came across to me.

The inspirational part is not a problem. There's a lot of talk about doing God's work and submitting to the will of God, but that's very much in keeping with the setting. Maybe I'm cynical, but it surprised me just how often God's will turned out to coincide with exactly what a character wanted to do anyway.

I had some issues with the logistics of the plot. The initial premise that the local matrons would allow a baby to die rather than permit an unsuitable (read: not a virtuous person like us) wet-nurse seemed a bit of a stretch to me, and I couldn't totally buy into Elizabeth's excessive zeal to remedy the situation. And when she found the unsuitable Lucy, the matrons apparently do nothing about it. Then there is the evil Mr Foster. I know times were different then, but they were not quite lawless, and I find it difficult to believe that anyone, however rich or powerful, could get away with murder in broad daylight without any fear of retribution. In fact, the bad guys were far too bad altogether, and the good guys were a little too virtuous. Shades of grey are much more interesting and believable than outright black and white. But then, it's a book about Christians and persecution, so perhaps that's inevitable.

The other issue is that much of the tension in the romance part of the story hinges on the fact that the protagonists either misunderstand each other or deliberately refuse to talk to each other. Given that both of them are supposedly eloquent and persuasive speakers, it seems odd that they become so inarticulate with each other. The author makes a good attempt at explaining this away, but it remains a hindrance to credibility.

But despite these minor niggles, the story rattles along quite nicely and becomes a real page-turner. None of the minor characters have much real depth to them, although the shallow Catherine was more interesting than most. Elizabeth's suitor, Samual Muddle, is made into a cartoonishly ridiculous figure, but it seems to me that her dilemma would be given more pathos if he were less silly - a worthy but dull man, perhaps. However, the hero and heroine were quite well done, considering how difficult it can be to make such pious characters sympathetic (the villain is always easier to write, and to read about too!). There were some philosophical points in there, too, about who has the greatest right to interpret the word of God, and the effect on a highly structured society of working class people taking control of their own beliefs. Since the story is based (rather loosely) on the life of John Bunyan and his second wife Elizabeth, his ideas are bound to infuse the book. Some of the dialogue is apparently taken directly from his writings.

On the whole, the book was enjoyable enough and surprisingly readable - well, it surprised me. As a debut effort, it has some structural flaws, and the writing is sometimes a bit clunky, but the romance was nicely done, if a little overwrought at times, and the historical aspects were interesting. Three stars.
Profile Image for Sydney Betts.
Author 9 books238 followers
February 15, 2016
I enjoyed this well-written, well-researched work of fiction based on John Bunyan's life.
Profile Image for Loraine.
3,024 reviews
January 1, 2016
SUMMARY: In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child and manshe's come to love.

REVIEW: This story is a retelling of the life of John Bunyan and his second wife, Elizabeth. Not knowing much about John Bunyan other than his writing of The Pilgrim's Progress during the time he spent in jail. I found this retelling very informative and interesting. It is obvious Hedlund did a lot of research in order to be accurate while at the same time weaving a fictional tale that captures her readers' attention. It left me with a great appreciation for what the Puritans had to face in order to follow Christ as they believed the Bible told them. It showed that persecution of Christians has gone on from time immemorial, and we see it still today. Elizabeth was such a compassionate, perceptive, and faithful woman even when it seemed that she had no strength to continue. John's strength of conviction and call were evident in everything he said and did no matter how difficult it became. Both were models for how all Christians should face difficult times as well as persecution. I especially liked the oldest daughter Mary who through her blindness still modeled strength and caring. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the great Christian men and women of the past.

FAVORITE QUOTES: "God gives abilities to everyone, even to women. And he does not bestow those abilities without expecting us to use them for Him."

"Moreover, I would rather starve in this short, temporary life and do what pleases Him, than starve for eternity in that place of judgment away from Him."

"Pray often,..for prayer is a shield for the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan."
Profile Image for Karen Jones.
Author 10 books5 followers
September 3, 2011
I've read, and enjoyed, historical romance before. But, this is the first one I've encountered based on the Puritan way of life. I normally go for a good mystery or a crime drama with offbeat humor. Lately I've been indulging in young-adult paranormal. I'm also a big sic-fi fan and I throw in the occasional classic now and then. So, it would stand to reason that I might hold a small fear of this book turning out to be dull. I mean, come on... Puritans. How can that be engaging and romantic?

But, engaging and romantic it is. The book opens with a heart-wrenching scene that grabs the reader and the plot never lets go. You're immediately thrust into the lives of the main characters, John and Elizabeth, with a special peek into their hearts. Fear, worry, doubt and second-guessing. These topics of romance are always in season, Puritan or not. But, the Puritan part of the story is essential. It's the love of God that causes the steadfastness of conviction that leads to much of the story. It's an imbedded part of who the characters are and what makes them tick. But, you don't have to be religious or a believer to fully fall in love with the Puritan's of The Preacher's Bride and be wringing your hands or cheering with fulfilled hope depending on the page.

This novel is based on the real lives of John and Elizabeth Bunyan. Writer's license is taken with the romance of the couple, as well as creating personalities of the townspeople, while keeping most historical moments intact. John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim's Progress. A book I've never read, but I'm going to now.

So grab this one. Don't let it pass you by because you think it's all about religion. It's about people. Their hopes, dreams, fears and struggles. It's an awesome, intriguing page-turner for anyone regardless of your usual reading genre.
Profile Image for Carrie Pagels.
Author 35 books674 followers
November 8, 2011
A very good book.
Why I listened to this: Another writer friend, a preacher’s wife, highly recommended this book and gave it a glowing review. It is also set during a time period that I enjoy.

Formats: I listened to this as an audiobook that I downloaded through www.audible.com and it was a fairly long book. Also available as a softcover, a hardcover large print book, and in CDs!

Caution: Violence, including a whipping scene with so many lashes that most people would have died from the injuries. Unfortunately, on audio one cannot just skip over the scene. Some may object to some of the sensuality, but it is appropriate to the story line.

Genre: Historical Inspirational Fiction, (debut novel), with romantic elements.

Bibliotherapy aspects: Feelings of unworthiness, persecution, trauma, and grief.
The hero’s daughter is blind.
Other themes: Stepparenting, being obedient to God’s will in one’s life.

This book is set in the late 1600’s during the transitional time after Cromwell’s “reign” in England. Puritans’ lives are disrupted by the change in political power. This is a dark story but with hope shining through. It is based loosely on the story of John Bunyan’s second marriage. There are few stories set during this time as inspirational fiction and for that reason alone was worth listening to. One senses that this author’s voice will continue to grow even stronger in her subsequent works. Quite an accomplishment in this debut novel!

Profile Image for Gretchen.
263 reviews36 followers
July 1, 2020

I’m a HUGE Jody Hedlund fan & have managed to read almost all of her books except I have never read her published debut. I listened to this book & loved the narrator!

This is a very stirring fictional account of the love story& life of John Bunyan. The romance was built up very well. Elizabeth the heroine is such a strong & sweet character. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel when the heroine’s faith & obedience inspired me so.

John was a meanie head for most of the book. Beware. He turned out fine but he was kind of a jerk to her for a lot of the book & it made me frustrated.

Special kudos to sweet Mary, their oldest child who is blind. That sweetie truly saw all 😇
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 20 books861 followers
December 29, 2017
Even based on a true story knowing that things worked out, I was on the edge of my seat wondering how they'd do so. The threat of death so real, the question of whether or not they could make a go of it nail-biting.
Profile Image for Michelle Griep.
Author 34 books2,102 followers
November 4, 2010
Heart wrenching at times, anger provoking at others, this is one read that connects with readers on many different levels.

I especially liked how Hedlund portrayed the harsh realities of seventeenth century life in rural England. She didn’t glam over but met head on tough topics such as infant mortality, death in childbearing and the very real threat of starvation.

Furthermore, she didn’t squirm from tackling difficult theological questions. Does suffering mean God’s not blessing you? What should take priority: ministry or family? There are no easy answers in real life nor in this story.

The complexity of the hero and heroine’s relationship was great. Not just a simple boy meets girl and instantly falls in love, winning said girl. In fact, sometimes I wondered if they’d actually get together.

All in all, this book is a thumbs up, especially for historical lovers.
Profile Image for Christy.
686 reviews
March 2, 2016
What a tremendous read this was. It has been on my shelf for some time waiting for me to dive in. Alas I have greatly enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and John. What a woman Elizabeth was; real grit and outspoken but also soft and vulnerable at the same time. I wondered what became of Mary; she is probably the most memorable child I've ever read about. The trials they faced were true testament to not only believing in Christ but willing to follow Him no matter the cost. My only slight tilt of my head was wanting something a little more nourishing at the end. Something that felt more satisfying; instead I felt something kin to a sadness because I new their time together was short. I would certainly partake in another Jody Hedlund book.
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,694 reviews63 followers
August 31, 2015
The Good: Part of the fun of historical fiction is that it takes you back to days gone by; that's just what this book does. I've hardly heard much about Puritans outside of American history class, but, I knew enough about them to follow the story. This book covers a different period of history than I'm used to, but, I enjoyed it just the same.

The Bad: As good as this is, I found it to be a bit brutal in parts; the antagonist was rather disturbing, and not in the way I'm used to seeing. Sensitive readers may want to take note.

Conclusion: It's good for what it is; I think that's all I need to say.

Score: 3/5
Profile Image for Katie Hamstead.
Author 21 books216 followers
November 22, 2017
I didn't expect this to be perfectly timed for Thanksgiving, but I'm glad it was! Learning about the puritans before they became pilgrims couldn't have been more perfect for the season.
Elizabeth's story begins when a mother dies soon after delivering her baby. Elizabeth, headstrong and bright, puts her talents and loving heart to the task of keeping the infant alive. Her faith gets her through, which is something I greatly admired, especially in the darkest times she faced. She's outspoken, but she's a quiet and powerful force, a person whose influence isn't really noticed, but needed and present. I think that's what I enjoyed about her love with John; it's so honest and built on him noticing her character and her quiet strength.
Clean read, and well worth the time, this book charmed me and transported me to a time of struggle and reform well worth understanding.
11 reviews1 follower
March 14, 2023
The book title, and the cover art do not do this book justice. I saw couple of other reviews that said some thing similar. It seems to give the indication of a cheesy Christian romance, but it is not. While it is a romance, it’s also a historical fiction account of an important true story. Give it a shot!
8 reviews
July 1, 2023
More “romantic” details than what I prefer in a book but the story line was engaging and even convicting - especially knowing beforehand that it was loosely based on the lives of John and Elizabeth Bunyan..
Profile Image for English .
736 reviews
March 27, 2018
I must say first off, I really, really wish American authors would take the trouble to familiarize themselves with the governmental and political system of Great Britain and its history before writing anything that involves it in their works. I could say the same thing about social structures and hierarchy as well. I'm serious. This is meant to be a slightly modified version of the story of John Bunyan set a shortly after the end of the English Civil War.
Yet, throughout the two different sides are often defined in religious terms as the Anglicans/Royalists' versus the 'Puritans'. The first problem is that the English Civil War and the divisions on each side were not as clear-cut as that. It was as much about politics as religion.
Not all of those who fought on the side of Parliament were Puritans, and nor was everyone in the nobility and gentry was on the side of the King. Most were, yes, but many of the poorest in society were also on the side of the King as well.

It annoys me intensely when groups of people or individuals are defined as 'good' or 'evil' on the basis of their class, religious or political affiliation.
This was very much the case here- all Anglicans and royalists were pretty much represented as evil, and most of the Puritans were really good and Saccharine sweet. I just think such depictions are naive and unrealistic, especially for Christians.
Now I will admit that Oliver Cromwell did a lot of good things, and the Puritans had a lot of things right, but they were not perfect- and they were not right about everything. Some historians argue that Cromwell ended up being as much of a tyrant as the King he deposed, the legacy of the witch-hunts looms large over puritanism.

It also annoys me intensely when Britain in the seventeenth century (and even later) is described as if it were still some kind of backward, Feudal state, in which there were Nobles, and peasants, and no social mobility. That is nonsense.
Feudalism died out by the end of the fifteenth century, and there were plenty of wealthy Middle-Class people who were not of noble birth or background. Some of them were better off than the gentry, and it was possible to rise through the ranks......and seriously, I am beginning to wonder if some people have even heard of House of Commons.
Parliament does not consist just of the King and the House of Lords. Not all judges were nobles, nor were all lawyers. In fact, most of them weren't.

Getting over that rant, this was a fair story and interesting- but incredibly frustrating in a lot of places. The historical background and the use of court transcripts and quotes from the figures the characters were based on gave some authenticity- but the setting did not always feel 'real'. Another reviewer mentioned that it dealt with real issues that were faced by people of the time, such as child mortality and starvation. This is true, yet there was also a lot of reliance on unnecessary violence, or the threat of violence physical, and usually against the female characters, sexual violence.
The villain is almost ridiculously exaggerated in his badness, always leering, groping, or looking lecherously at Elizabeth. Can't authors think of anything else? What with that and all the beatings, domestic violence, assaults, attacks, or mentions of attacks, a flogging, two incidents of arson, and one brutal murder. It all comes over a rather OTT, and not especially realistic.
To say that is to make out that all past societies except America were quagmires of unbridled violence, abuse, corruption, and lawlessness. There was law in seventeenth-century Britain, there was a judicial system and a criminal justice system, and as others have again pointed out I very much doubt that the villain would have been able to get away with the things he did-especially since he was so obvious about it.

There was a positive Christian message, and the development of the relationship between the main characters was well-written (although there was a little too much fluffy Romance type stuff for my liking. Kissing, touching, thinking about the former......) but I really did not enjoy this as much as I could have done.
It could be that it did not always ring true felt too forced, or that it was just wrapped up in too much melodrama. I've had similar concerns about other works by this author, and so it may just be that her style does not appeal to me.

So in a way, I'm glad I listened to the audiobook. One can barely help but admire the courage and commitment of Bunyan and wife, but this was not a story I cared for all that much. I wonder if there are others or a non-fiction work that would appeal to me more.
Profile Image for Annie Hogle.
60 reviews1 follower
March 1, 2019
This book will hold your attention and keep you captivated until the final page!
Profile Image for Becky Fleming.
114 reviews20 followers
February 7, 2018
This book, for me, started out in a dismal , dreary way but that was indeed the life of Elizabeth and for many of the unfortunate peasantry in England during this time period. But as the story went on I grew to love Elizabeth’s strength and fortitude and humility. My arms ached to scoop up those pitiful children and soothe their tears. This book made me cry when John rejected Elizabeth’s full love for fear of what the future held. And thanks to this author, Jody Hedlund, I now have as good an understanding of the life of the real John Bunyan as I could have without stepping into a time portal. Highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Holly Weiss.
Author 3 books120 followers
September 20, 2010
The Preacher’s Bride is a lovely read. The intriguing cover drew me in and as I read I was immediately transported and immersed in the day to day lives of the Puritans of 17th century England. Set in the framework of the rancor between English Royalist and the Puritans, the book’s message is that enduring faith, children and family trump persecution. I was unable to put the book down until I learned the fates of John Costin, a tinker “called to mend souls not just kettles” and his housekeeper.

Elizabeth Whitbread, the heroine of this refreshing Christian historical romance, is a compassionate, persistent and perceptive young woman bent on protecting and nurturing the children of the recent widower. “My conscience before God will not allow me to stand idly by,” says Elizabeth.

Author, Hedlund, particularly adept with dialogue, has the gift of swiftly moving her plot along. Her personal experience as a mother of five has evidently enabled her to delve easily into the fanciful, innocent world of children. Her young characters literally jumped off the page into my heart. Particularly impressive is the characterization of Mary, the blind eight-year-old, whose sixth sense is clairvoyant and prophetic.

The Preacher’s Bride will keep you engaged. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,253 reviews211 followers
August 16, 2013
This was an interesting look at this time period in History. I have always wanted to learn a little more about it. It amazes me that only preachers got to read and interpret the bible and I am very thankful to those men who gave up so much to fight for it being given to all men. I never thought about there wives. I was a little worried when I started this and found out they were Puritan's. I knew there would be a lot of preaching and repressed woman. The preaching is added nicely to the content of the book, you don't get pages of preaching on a topic and then the characters move on, I like that this author includes it into everything and doesn't drag it out. The characters are good but not as likable as I was hoping for. She is strong, then weak then just silly. He was mean, callous, sweet and an idiot. The story line was good and the bad guy really bad and there was a little more violence then I expected. This books was an ok read. Not one of my favorites by this author. But it was a background I was interested in and a way of life I was curious to read about.
Profile Image for Jeannette Garcia.
80 reviews11 followers
June 15, 2012
What a fantastic read! I have a habit of reading books blindly... meaning I don't like to read the description prior to reading the novel. I didn't realize that this story was modeled after John and Elizabeth Bunyan. However, that didn't change the fact that it was an incredible and somewhat true story. I just loved the premise of this story... the perseverance during tribulation shows the true character of a godly person. I rarely highlight when I read on my kindle, but I couldn't resist highlighting two quotes in particular.

"The Lord surely uses His flail of tribulation to separate the chaff from the wheat."


"Hardships are the Lord's greatest blessing to the believer. Without them we would love the Lord only for what He does for us. Our troubles teach us to love Him for who He is."

Profile Image for Karen.
43 reviews9 followers
September 21, 2010
I've been looking for a book that would touch me and I found it in "The Preacher's Bride." It immediately grabbed me and I couldn't put it down. The story begins in Bedford, England, May 1659. It follows the struggles of a puritan woman, Elizabeth Whitbread, as you are sucked into her faith filled and guided life.

This book truly touched me and I will be recommending it to all.
Profile Image for JoJo Sutis.
Author 1 book43 followers
October 30, 2013
Stayed up late last night finishing "The Preacher's Bride" for a book club my library is hosting & WOW! I was not expecting the feelings this story caused in me. Elizabeth is such a wonderful heroine and the love between her and John is one of those classic romance stories I'll never forget. God has gifted this author with an amazing talent.
Profile Image for Sarah Sundin.
Author 18 books2,851 followers
August 8, 2011
Not only was I pleased to see a unique historical setting (Puritan England) and a not-pretty heroine (thank you!!), but the story and characters were top-notch. I'm looking forward to Jody's next book.
Profile Image for Kayla.
383 reviews9 followers
July 14, 2019
I had a lot of skepticism going into this book- I find too many romance-themed books too cheesy with weak characters. It took a few chapters to convince me, but I enjoyed it overall. It’s a fictionalized version of John Bunyan’s story, and it has realistic twists because it’s based on history. Although there’s no real explanation for Elizabeth’s sudden interest in caring for John’s kids, I liked the relationship she had with them. John and Elizabeth were interesting characters- many others were a little flat.
Note: a few violent descriptions and a few suggestive parts, but nothing explicit. It is clean and quite sweet.
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427 reviews20 followers
May 10, 2018
This book was so much better than I expected it to be. I looked at the cover and the title and thought it would be a silly romance novel. As it turned out, it was actually a well written story based on John Bunyan who wrote The Pilgrim's Progress but also focusing on Elisabeth, his second wife. I was surprised to find out that many of the details and characters were based on fact and transcripts. This book was an amazing view into the past world of the Puritans and their persecution.
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