Rebellious Heart, by Jody Hedlund

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Few things excite my book worm self like a good book arriving in the mail. But how do you know it’s good if you haven’t read it yet? An understandable question.

Because it’s a Jody Hedlund book!

And once again, she exceeds my expectations. Rebellious Heart, Jody’s 5th novel, arrived in the mail to my high hopes, and became yet another barely two-day read (only because life is just too busy to carry her book with me everywhere, though I wanted to). As a reader, I adore her exciting stories and life-like characters, and as a writer, I admire her storytelling skill and detailed characterization, and I appreciate the simple fact that I learn more about writing by reading her books.

What’s it about?

In 1763 Massachusetts, Susanna Smith has grown up with everything she’s ever wanted, except one thing: an education. Because she’s a female, higher learning has been closed to her, but her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. She’s determined to put her status to good use, reaching out to the poor and deprived. And she knows when she marries well, she will be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.  

Ben Ross grew up a farmer’s son and has nothing to his name but his Harvard education. A poor country lawyer, he doesn’t see how he’ll be able to fulfill his promise to make his father proud of him. When family friends introduce him to the Smith family, he’s drawn to quick-witted Susanna but knows her family expects her to marry well. When Susanna’s decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben’s growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice.

Rebellious Heart is an intriguing, fast-paced historical fiction story based on the lives of John and Abigail Adams. Set in 1763, the story is filled with fascinating details about their pre-Revolutionary War lives, as well as the delicate, dangerous relationship between British soldiers and colonists realizing their fledgling nation was under heavy-handed rule from across the ocean. I was pulled into the story on the first page, during a tense murder trial, and couldn’t get through the chapters fast enough, although I was quite sad saying goodbye to the characters at the book’s end.

The chemistry between Susanna and Ben was sweet and believable and written with just enough sass to make them jump off the pages. The cast of secondary characters, including Cranch, Tom, and Phoebe, added heart and humor to the story. And Jody also gently circumvents the tangled web of slavery, justice, and mercy by cutting through to the heart of the issue, that we’re each created in God’s image with certain inalienable rights endowed by our Creator.

I highly recommend Rebellious Heart along with her other books (all just as good – don’t ask me to pick a favorite)…The Preacher’s Bride, The Doctor’s Lady, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. Jody is a master at storytelling with smooth and readable prose, crackling and satisfying romance, and exciting plot twists and turns that make it hard to put her books down. You can order a copy of Rebellious Heart here.

*I was provided a copy of Rebellious Heart by Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion.* (Which is – read it!) 🙂

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