Monday, March 17, 2008

The Prisoner's Wife--A book review

I'm embarrassed to confess that this is the very first 'Heartsong Presents' book I have ever read. But thanks to Susan Page Davis and her novella, this could be the beginning of something wonderful. Nothing I like better than to discover a new series of books that I can chow down on.

In 'The Prisoner's Wife' Susan has created a full-bodied story with believable characters who I came to care for quickly. Jack Hunter is a wounded hero that remains a hero even though he is manacled and behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. He still tenderly sees to the needs of Lucy Hamblin by marrying her inside the prison walls, ostensibly so he can bequeath to her his property after his hanging. This is a plot line I have never read before. Both of these characters are gentle and yet strong, and not at all sappy. I feel their frustration as lovers being separated, first of all by her father, then by the law, and finally by the intricacies of their developing relationship. Neither Jack or Lucy is sure why the other wants to marry them. Is it only for the practical reasons of caring for Jack's property and seeing that Lucy is provided for? Or is there the possibility of love?

But even after Jack is released from prison for lack of evidence, all is not well. Suspicion continues to hang over his head, and with it the looming threat of death.

The richly detailed historical setting flows beautifully with the plot, and never pulls me out of the story. And for me as a mystery buff as well as a history buff, I was highly satisfied. Susan weaves this love story with the subtle question of who really killed Barnabas Trent.

There is an added bonus though. In one or two sentences of completely natural dialogue, Susan teaches and encourages me as a follower of Christ. They are delightful moments for me to savor.

If Susan can do all this in 170 pages, what could she do with a 365 page novel? This is an author whose career I am going to follow.