06 October 2013

The Prodigal Son by Anna Belfrage Review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!!


Publication Date:  July 1, 2013
Matador Publishing
Paperback; 392p
ISBN-10: 1780885741

Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. The government of 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, the people close ranks around their evicted ministers, stubbornly clinging to their Presbyterian faith. But disobedience comes at a price – a very steep price - and as neighbours and friends are driven from hearth and home, Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his continued 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 minister before his own safety and therefore per extension her safety and the safety of their children, 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, watching from a distance as her husband dances round his lost boy. 

Things are brought to a head when Matthew yet again places all their lives in the balance to save his dear friend and preacher from the dragoons that chase him over the moor. 

How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose?

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.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s WEBSITE.
Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theprodigalsontour2
Twitter Hashtag: #ProdigalSonTour

My Thoughts:
The Prodigal Son is the third book in the series by Anna Belfrage. It is a historical fiction novel about the religious persecution in Scotland during the reign of Charles II. First I want to say I love the cover, I think it depicted the story perfectly, showing bleak times and the tombstone representing the deaths of people who only wanted to practice their faith in peace. Second, I love time travel stories. I had not read the first two books in the series, but that did not stop me from understanding what the past story was about. Although there was no traveling back and forth in time in this book, there was enough to let the reader know that Alex was from a different time, such as her independence that was not the norm for women in the 17th century. Matthew is a man who is very determined in his beliefs and he risks his life and those of his family to do what he believes is right. Matthew attends and protects a minister who is wanted by the crown for performing conventicles, holding prayer meeting is secret, against Alex's wishes.

Not only is there the religious aspect to the story, there is also turmoil within the family involving Matthew's first marriage and  his brother Luke's vindictiveness towards Matthew, which threatens his family. This is a very well researched and written novel which thoroughly describes the tumultuous times in Scotland's history. between the Coventanter's and England. A story about a family that has it's share of sorrow, but is also about a family's love for each other that sustains them through these hard times. Once I started reading the book I could not put it down, I read it in an afternoon, it was that good. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the period in Scotland and English history.

I received a copy of this book for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review.

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