Author: Lynne Basham Tagawa
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Russells #1
John Russell's heart aches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter's sake. At first he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn't quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her?
Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her?
Reviewer: June McCrary Jacobs
A moving and educational historical read penned by Lynne Basham Tagawa.
This unique novel begins in May, 1744, in the dual locations of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Widower John Russell, father of four-year-old Susanna, is setting out on a journey to find a wife. Russell's sister, Sarah, will care for Susanna while John is away.
After a brief courtship, John and Abigail Williams, daughter of John's father's boss, are married. The emotional bond that forms between John and Abigail as the story unfolds was one of my favorite elements of this book. They share many tender moments as they discuss their lives, beliefs, and values. Though he has different religious views than Abigail, she finds John to be patient, caring, and kind. John encourages and nurtures Abigail's interest in botany and her curiosity about how various plants and herbs can be used to heal and offer first aid at a time when medicine was archaic.
The author's descriptions of their travels from Philadelphia to his home in the Shenandoah Valley are detailed and interesting. Because of Abigail's interest in botany, a lot of information is given about the trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs growing along the trails and roadways. Since I am a nature-lover myself, this fine descriptive writing enriched my enjoyment of the story.
The couple encounters many challenges, traumas, and crises on the journey home. I found the scenes describing the varied and colorful members of the Shenandoah Valley community to be interesting and at times amusing. The mention of local customs and traditions piqued my interest as a history buff, and enhanced the story for me on many occasions.
One of my favorite elements of the story was the extremely strong faith thread throughout the book. I feel this book is a theology lesson in the Great Awakening and the progression of Christianity in the New World. The author has done a massive amount of research into this subject area, and it contributes to making this one of the most unique novels I have read in the past five years.
I enjoyed the Epilogue included by the author as it brought closure to the Russell family's story, for the time being. The Afterword provided details about the author's research, characters in the book that are based on real individuals alive at the time, the author's family history, and a glossary of terms used in the story.
I look forward to reading more work by this talented author. I highly-recommend this book for fans of Christian fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian romance.
I received a paperback copy of this book from the author through Interviews and Reviews.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
I have never read a book by Lynne Basham Tagawa before, and I know it won't be the last time I will buy one of her books. I thoroughly enjoyed this faith-filled Historical Romance.
John Russell has lost his wife to an Indian attack, and now after grieving her loss, he realizes that he needs a wife to care for his young daughter. He has only one requirement - that she shares his faith in Christ. So he sets out to Philadelphia, where his father introduces him to Abigail Williams. Abigail knows her catechism, and John actually quizzes her on it to determine if they would be a good fit. She passes the test and marries John. But John soon realizes Abigail knows about God, but does not know Him - a big difference. As the journey to his home becomes filled with perils, Abigail begins a faith journey that she never expected.
I loved watching Abigail grow in her faith. The author has brilliantly presented the Gospel so that anyone reading this story will have no doubt if they have a heart relationship with God or just head knowledge. John is a patient teacher, and yet, he knows how flawed and sinful a man he truly is, when Abigail's life is threatened.
While the romance part of this book was somewhat lacking, the author did show that Abigail and John grew to love each other. It also has a vast cast of characters which, at times, I found difficult to follow.
That said, this book was a delight to read. It is well-researched and very descriptive. I had no trouble picturing everything as the events unfolded. I highly recommend it.
Reviewer: Abigail Harris
It has been a while since I have stumbled on a book that I thoroughly enjoyed by an author I've never read before. The Shenandoah Road turned out to be a perfect read.
With a nice and sweet romance that didn't get kissy at all even after marriage, which I appreciated, John kindly led a life with Christ at the center showing Abigail God's love. The message of faith comes across in a way that is not too preachy nor too unenthusiastic!
I highly recommend and look forward to more from Lynne Basham Tagawa!
I received this book courtesy of the author, through Interviews & Reviews.
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