Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons

Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Synopsis from Thomas Nelson: The Civil War - a defining time of great sacrifice, change, and betrayal which determined the fate of the Nation.

It isn’t until it comes into her very home that Amanda Belle must face impossible choices of love, loss, and loyalty.  It's the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Although Amanda never thought she would marry because of her promise she made to her dying mother, her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.
When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel marches off to war to fight for the Confederate States and Kent remains with the Union troops. Her heart is torn between the two men she loves and the two sides of the conflict. When she turns to God for help, Amanda expects direction and support, but hears nothing. Is God listening to her anymore? Where is God in the atrocities of war—and whose side is He on?
Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. But she must trust God to bring her family through the chaos that threatens her home, her family, and the beloved state of Texas . . . with her heart, and her faith, intact.

Review: His Steadfast Love is the third novel that I have read in the past few weeks relating to the Civil War era.  Each story has brought to life different aspects of the war and its effects on the nation and its people.  In her latest novel, Golden Keyes Parsons delves into America's tumultuous years when friends and neighbors turned into enemies on the battlefield.  The plot begins in 1860, just before the start of the war and concludes at the war's end. As a result, readers see the struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties that families faced during four long years.  We also see examples of bravery and forgiveness.  It is important to remember both aspects of the war that divided the nation, and Parsons nicely combines loss and triumph.  
Amanda is caught between her love for her Southern family and her love for her Northern beau, Kent.  During much of the novel she is torn by loyalty to the South and her feelings for Kent, who suddenly becomes labeled as the enemy. The love between Amanda and Kent develops quite rapidly at the beginning of the novel.  A few months pass between their initial meeting in September 1860 and Kent's departure. Unfortunately, the jump did not allow me to witness the development of their feelings for each other.  The steadfastness of their love for one another is touching and is an example of bravery itself.  

Parsons integrates loss into the fabric of His Steadfast Love as well.  Some deaths occurred suddenly and in within a few pages of each other, leaving me stunned.  Again, I felt that the jump of a few months from chapter to chapter disconnected me from the characters' grief and their healing process.  Through the various losses, injuries, and uncertain futures, Parsons illustrates the importance of maintaining one's faith despite hardships.  Amanda questions her faith during the war, as many people undoubtedly did, but she ultimately reclaims it along with happiness. 

His Steadfast Love has strong qualities and offers a glimpse into the Civil War era. Parsons sets the plot in Texas, a state not often focused upon in Civil War novels.  The setting was refreshing, but I felt a distance from the characters at times. I had difficulty delving into the novel, especially during the first half.  The historical content is a clear strength and Parsons takes the reader on an journey from family parlors, to prisons, to battlefields.    

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through their book review program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in 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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