Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: "The Prodigal Son" by Anna Belfrage

Synopsis:   He risks everything for his faith - but will he be able to pay the price? Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition. In Ayrshire, people close ranks around their evicted Presbyterian ministers. But disobedience comes at a heavy price and Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his support of the clandestine ministers - foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden. Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is totally incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and ministers before his own safety he puts their marriage under severe strain. The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn't entirely sure this is a good thing. Things are brought to a head when Matthew places all their lives in the balance to save his dear preacher from the dragoons. How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose? The Prodigal Son is the third in Anna Belfrage's historical time slip series, which includes the titles The Rip in the Veil and Like Chaff in the Wind.

My Thoughts:  Okay, I seriously love this series!! For some reason, I thought this was the last book in the series but was so excited to find out that it's not.  Once again, Anna Belfrage has written a wonderful story featuring some of my favorite characters.  Matthew and Alex are back and face a series of new challenges to their happiness. 

In this installment, Alex and Matthew deal with religious persecution and continue to be plagued by Luke Graham's attempts at revenge.  It was actually pretty tumultuous and emotional!  Matthew constantly puts himself and his family in danger and there were times where I thought Alex might leave him because of the risks he was taking.   I liked that in this book, we get to see them living their day-to-day lives instead of following them all over the country or globe.  They had a lot of rough times in this book but the way the author had them deal with these rough times cemented Alex and Matthew as one of my favorite fictional couples.  There was an extremely emotional event that took place and it had a huge impact on the family; I was truly shocked by it and it definitely had me in tears.  That's all I am going to say because I don't want to give away anything!

I loved that Ian comes back in this book and plays quite a big role in the story.  Even though he is just a boy, I really like him as a character and I can't wait to see how he develops in the next book.  I also liked that while Luke Graham definitely featured in this story, he didn't play a huge role in this book; I kind of needed a break from his villainy.  However, Matthew did kind of get a good 'jab' in at Luke towards the end which I thought was awesome.

I was kind of surprised how much the story is focused on the Alex's life in the past.  In the first two books, there was a lot of hopping between the past and present but that wasn't the case with this book.  Alex's family in the future was barely mentioned and I almost forgot that Alex was not from the era she is living in.

The end of this story left me with so many questions and has me super excited to read the next book.  I think the author has done a fantastic job of keeping Alex and Matthew's story compelling;  I have yet to be bored with these books and I pretty much devoured this installment.  The Prodigal Son is another amazing work of historical fiction by an extremely talented author and I highly recommend it, and the others in the series.  4 stars.

I received this book from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:  
 I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical -  both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am - I have achieved my dream.
Be sure to stop by on Friday for a guest post by Ms. Belfrage!
Check out other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter:  #ProdigalSonTour

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