Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review: Rebellious Heart

Susanna Smith hasn’t seen Benjamin Ross since she was a little girl, when he rescued her from being caught in a tree.  At that time, she snubbed him ungraciously for being poor, and he’s never forgotten it . . . but when they meet again years later, he finds himself almost immediately captivated by Susanna’s beauty and wit.  Susanna, in turn, is attracted to the young lawyer, but both of them believe they need to marry “up” to secure a better social position for themselves (which means denying their interest in each other for quite some time).  Meanwhile, there is an unknown murderer on the loose . . . young runaway girls keep turning up dead, causing much anxiety among the local people.  Ben is determined to uncover the killer’s identity, and Susanna is also determined to aid another runaway girl who comes to her for help.  Together, Ben and Susanna try to stay one step ahead of the ruthless man, discovering in the process that the laws of God are higher than the laws of men.  Add in another thread about smuggling, a nasty Redcoat soldier, a secret tunnel, and plenty of romance and suspense, and you have a very hard-to-put-down book: Rebellious Heart.

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the beautiful cover (seriously, Bethany House has been putting out some great covers lately!!) and also the fact that I had read one of Jody Hedlund’s books last year, and enjoyed it.  I enjoyed Rebellious Heart as well.  I especially liked the main character, Susanna.  She was strong-willed, but not what I would consider “rebellious,” at least not in a bad way. :)  I think the title refers to a few different things--Susanna’s frustration with not being allowed to get as much schooling as she would like (education was not considered necessary for girls during that time period), and her and Ben’s “rebellion” against the unfair laws that England was enforcing in the colonies in the pre-Revolutionary era.  Susanna comes to realize, with Ben’s help, that obeying the laws of God is more important than obeying the laws of men.  I enjoyed Susanna’s strong personality and how she matched wits with Ben--one of the things that attracted him to her.  I also appreciated the author’s emphasis that the two were good friends, while at the same time falling madly in love.  She did a good job creating plenty of chemistry between them, although I felt like the “pulse-pounding” aspects could have been toned down a bit.  There was a lot of physical attraction between the two of them, and I probably wouldn’t personally be comfortable recommending this book to a teen girl because of that.  (I realize I may be in the minority of reviewers in this. :))  But overall I did like this story, just with a few reservations.  There was plenty of action and suspense, and I enjoyed the trip back in time to Massachusetts in the 1760s!  I also thought it was neat that Ben and Susanna were very loosely based on John and Abigail Adams.  I’m glad I had the chance to read Rebellious Heart, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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