Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review: His Steadfast Love

I usually enjoy historical novels set during the Civil War. I struggled with this one, though. To me, the forbidden love that was the focus of the plot was unreal. It couldn’t have existed. This made the rest of the story unbelievable as well.

His Steadfast Love opens with Amber and Kent meeting for the first time at her father’s church. Kent is a soldier from the North, stationed in Texas just before the war. Amber and Kent see each other at church four or five times, always surrounded by other people. Then Amber’s father invites Kent to Sunday dinner. Accompanied by Amber’s brother, Kent and Amber take a walk on the beach where Kent suddenly tells the brother and sister that he’s opposed to slavery. Amber and Daniel are offended at his disapproval of their way of life, but suddenly Daniel sees a few dolphins and Kent takes the moment to pull Amber into his arms to ask if he can call on her. He had just picked a fight with her and before that they had hardly talked—ever. Amber asks Kent to please wait.

The two don’t see or communicate with each other for six months. Then Kent shows up for an unexpected visit. His purpose: to tell the family that the nation is at war, to declare that he is on the Union side, and to ask if he can keep in touch with Amber. Her dad says absolutely not and sends Kent away.

It seems to me that six months before the Civil War, tensions between the North and South would have been so strong that Amber and Kent would never have been attracted to each other. He probably wouldn’t have even been welcomed into a Southern church. But even if he had been and they had been interested in one another, they didn’t have time or opportunity to develop the deep and committed love that is the basis for the whole story. This made the book very difficult to read.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

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