Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"A Noble Groom" Review

Annalisa Werner, recently widowed, is struggling to save her farm in Michigan in 1880. Her father’s answer to her plight is to send word back to relatives in Germany to send a husband to America for Annalisa.

When Carl Richards arrives from Germany to the small farming community of Forestville, Michigan, he is relieved to secure a job working on Annalisa’s farm until her groom makes his appearance. A falsely accused nobleman, Carl is running from those in Germany who would have his head.

As Carl learns the rigors of farm life, he also finds himself more and more drawn to Annalisa and her precious daughter. Carl will do all he can to save Annalisa’s farm, but he worries what will happen when the man who is to marry her shows up. Will he be able to walk away from the woman he is beginning to love?

From the moment I began reading this novel, I was drawn into it. The overall story was completely engrossing, and there were several smaller stories that intertwined with each other throughout the entire novel that kept it interesting. The concept of a mail-order groom was also an interesting switch to the normal mail-order bride stories.

The characters in this novel were not necessarily relatable, since their lives and their situations were completely foreign to me, but they were definitely sympathetic.  I felt for them so much. Their lives and struggles were so hard, and yet they persevered through it all. I also liked watching the immense growth that Carl experienced over the course of the novel.

The writing in this novel really puts you in the middle of everything that is going on. I thought this was true in a previous novel by this author – The Doctor’s Lady – and it was definitely true again in this novel. I could imagine myself being right there in the middle of the cornfield working alongside Carl and Annalisa, which is why I think I was able to be so sympathetic towards the characters. At times I would even say that the descriptions were somewhat gritty, because they were so true-to-life.

As for the spiritual aspect, I thought the novel was pretty light in that area. Annalisa realizes that God loves her and cares for her, which is an excellent theme that runs throughout the course of the novel. However, Christ is not mentioned as the way to faith in God. She seems to almost be putting her hope completely in Carl rather than God, even towards the end of the book. Carl fulfills her fairy tale, and she doesn’t seem to need too much more than that. I can imagine that the steps of faith that Annalisa did take in the novel will eventually lead her to an ultimate faith in Christ, but the reader is not actually given that information.

I also thought at times that the book was too sensual for my taste.  I understand that the author was trying to show Annalisa what a true, loving marriage can be, but the romantic scenes were sometimes a bit much.

Even though the spiritual aspect was not as deep as I would have liked, Annalisa experiences tremendous growth in this book as far as social issues are concerned. She learns that she has a voice as a woman in a male-dominated German society. She also realizes that she can have a marriage filled with love rather than just one that comes out of obligation.

Those social and historical pieces of the novel were absolutely fantastic. As I said earlier, the story was completely engrossing, and the social and historical aspects were most of the reason that the novel was so absorbing. Aside from a few times when I thought the inner monologues of Carl and Annalisa got repetitive, the story kept my interest.

A Noble Groom is a tale of struggle and hardship but also one that shows that true love can be found.

I will give A Noble Groom ... 4 BookWorms.

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Bethany House Publishers
368 pages
Published April 1, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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