Book Review: “Roanoke,” by Angela Elwell Hunt

10 Oct

76462Genre: historical fiction; Christian Inspirational; 1600’s

Plot Summary: Seventeen year old Jocelyn White is dismayed to find herself on board her uncle’s ship bound for the wilds of America. It certainly wasn’t her plan, but it was her deceased father’s wish for her to join the Roanoke colony, of which her uncle is governor. During the voyage, her uncle arranges a marriage of convenience with the handsome preacher, Thomas Colman. Jocelyn thinks it will be easy to fall in love with him, but he seems to feel it’s a sin to feel attracted to his young wife. In a dangerous world, will the two ever learn what it takes to make a good marriage?

My Book Review: I remember a friend’s mom recommending The Keepers of the Ring series by Angela Hunt. I was intrigued by the fact the story takes place in Roanoke, a mysterious event in our country’s history. Also, I know that the different books in the series follow successive generations, something that always interests me in fiction.

This story is a lot bigger than it appears. There are 60 chapters total, but some of them are much shorter than others. There are also many chapter breaks, which makes reading quicker and more manageable. The scope of this novel encompasses 1586-1607, a very large chunk of time. Rather than the story feeling crammed and overwhelming, it was interesting to follow the young colony through the years as couples married and children grew.

I figured this would be like a lot of Christian romance novels, but I was wrong. This wasn’t a fluffy “boy meets girl and perfect hero saves the day and they live happily ever after type of story.”  Thomas and Jocelyn don’t have a happy marriage. There were times when I just wanted to slap Thomas and I even gave up on him ever changing. But Jocelyn didn’t. She modeled true faithfulness in the midst of a less than perfect fairy tale world. There are some rough things that happen to some of the characters and the author doesn’t skirt them. This made me admire Angela Hunt as a writer. Jocelyn is able to live a life in peace with God because she discovers that her happiness and identity do not lie with whether or not her husband loves her. You just don’t read this sort of stuff in most Christian fiction fluff.

I have to admit that it took me three years to read this book. When I first started it, I read about halfways in and felt that I couldn’t handle certain elements in the story at that time and so put it away to finish later. I’m glad I went back to it, though. It may not have been my absolute favorite read of the year, but it was a good story worth reading.

There are a couple of bedroom scenes depicted between husband and wife, which I chose to skip over. I did not feel the plot hinged on these parts.

Yes, I would recommend this book (though maybe not to younger readers)! Expect a rather melancholy tale, but it should satiate your historical fiction fix.  As for myself, I plan on reading the next in the series!



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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Book Reviews


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