Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

publisher: Bethany House

(Note: read in uncorrected galley format)

There are few novels which have knocked the wind out of me the way Love’s Pursuit by Siri Mitchell did.

I was fortunate to read this in Massachusetts on my mini-vacation there: settled near the Massachusetts Bay Colony where her gloriously written story of grace and redemption takes place.

Susannah Phillips is an upright Puritan girl with strong moral fiber and a mind turned to Godly things. She narrates one half of the story. The shy and secretive Small-hope Smyth narrates the other. Like A Constant Heart, the story does not underestimate the reader yet assumes with switch in voice, that the reader will keep up: so immersed are they in each perspective. Mitchell does very well in exploring this narrative switch. Few writers do it well but it is a tried and tested technique with her.

Life in Stonybrooke is interrupted by the dashing and cavalier Capt Daniel Holcomb: a wonderful, comic, brave and courageous man whose faith in God is dissimilar to the Puritans but strong nonetheless.

The novel tells two intertwining stories: one of Susannah and Daniel. The other of Small-hope and her morally stalwart husband, blacksmith Thomas Smyth who loves her far more than she thinks she can ever love herself.

Small-hope’s name is resonant throughout this tale where grace is hard come by and hope seems dwindling and lost.

Mitchell delves into deeply uncomfortable territory regarding the subdued roles of women in harsh Puritanical communities. It seems only Daniel and Thomas see beyond the motives of the City on The Hill to reduce women to silent harbingers to bear children and keep house.

I absolutely loved this novel because it splayed redemption so deep and lasting I could not help but start at the first page once more after I had (reluctantly) finished the last.

This is literary writing at its finest. Siri Mitchell breathes life and pitch-perfect Puritan dialect into her atmospheric story.

She also contemplates deep themes, pushes boundaries and develops characters so startlingly real you are surprised they are not sitting across from you.

Not every one is exactly who they seem and there is more than one surprise at the hands of this storytelling master.

I cannot ---absolutely cannot ---wait to see where Mitchell takes us next.

She is spell-binding.

I will read this until the binding comes apart, I assure you.

A wonderful complement to my first trip to Massachusetts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I picked this book up on a lark and I am so thankful I did. I read it in two days and three days later it is still on my mind. I have passed the book to a friend and can't wait until she finishes so we can discuss the story. Hopefully Siri is working on a sequel telling the joy of eternal love.