Friday, May 22, 2009
Book Review: Love's Pursuit
On a rare occasion I read a book that provokes me to deal with issues in my life, to dig deeper in my faith, to be reminded of God's tremendous love. Siri Mitchell's Love's Pursuit is one of those books.
This story is set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1640's in a Puritan settlement. One young woman desires marriage and another desires to be unseen. The struggles of their desires collide in a powerful story that reveals God's love and grace.
Story: At first, I was put off by the first person point of view. I do not enjoy reading first person. However, it did not take long for me to be drawn into the story as Ms. Mitchell skillfully wove a hint of mystery among real characters dealing with real struggles. Held captive by the story, I could not set the book down until I had completed it.
Characterization: Complex characters with genuine emotions and realistic conflicts drove this story. I related to them, cried with them, feared with them, and urged them on in their pursuits. These characters became a part of my life as I read.
Factual Accuracy: I am a student of this era, and while I could not argue with her history, I found Ms. Mitchell drew upon aspects of this time and the complex society and faith from a different angle than I would have. This was a time and place of great religious conflict; people had possession of the Scriptures and began to draw their own conclusions of what it said, often contrary to the colony's leadership. A novel could not cover the vast differences this era bred in people's faith. This author focused on one important element and did an excellent job of portraying how individuals at that time could come to their conclusions.
Quality of Writing: When I closed the book, after reading the last page, I leaned back in my chair and prayed that one day I might be able to write as Siri Mitchell. She is truly gifted, someone I could learn much from, and someone whom I wish I had the courage to ask to mentor me. This book could easily become the second Redeeming Love.
Spiritual Aspect: The setting of this story breeds opportunity to weave a spiritual theme. The people of this time and place lived and breathed faith. The culture derived itself from their faith. It would be impossible to write about the Puritans without touching upon their spiritual life. Siri Mitchell did an excellent job of bringing the reader to the same conclusion as the main character. I will not tell you what that is because it is a major part of the storyline, and I would not like to give it away.
In my opinion, this is one of the best written books I've read on the market today. It does deal with issues that I believe limit the audience to adults and some of the writing provides details that keep me from feeling free to recommend it, for example, to my friend's teenage girls. While, in my conservative way of thinking I would prefer these descriptive details to be alluded to rather than mentioned in the more literal style Ms. Mitchell used, they do touch on a very important element of the story - that of how a woman might deal with the physical advancements of a lustful man. This was a reality in the 17th century as well as today, and I feel Ms. Mitchell did an excellent job of showing the emotions involved in these situations.
If you enjoyed Francine Rivers Redeeming Love, you will enjoy Siri Mitchell's Love's Pursuit.