Review

Rebellious Heart

by Jody Hedlund

Rich Susanna Smith was just a little girl stuck in a tree the first time she met Benjamin Ross, the son of a poor farmer. But even at the tender age of six, she knew the difference between their social statuses and made sure he knew it, too.

When they meet again in a Massachusetts courtroom in 1763, Ben is a lawyer with a Harvard degree, and Susanna is a woman of marrying age. Though ashamed of those harsh words spoken long ago to Ben, she knows he still does not meet her parents’ standards for a potential husband. He is neither an established lawyer nor a landowner. Ben is painfully aware of these shortcomings and, like Susanna, aspires to marry someone with money and status. It is the only way for him to make powerful changes in the colonies --- changes that might free them from British rule. But Susanna and Ben will find that love transcends social status, and God can soften even the most rebellious heart.

"Author Jody Hedlund delivers a romance that is so packed with tension, action and drama, it could make a convert of readers who normally avoid this genre."

Life is increasingly frustrating for Susanna. Her parents have used their wealth to provide for her in every way, but draw the line at higher education. She must endure watching her younger brother get tutored, while she’s expected to use her reading skills only for the Bible. But Susanna does find great satisfaction in certain aspects of her life. Taking provisions to the poor and holding reading and writing classes for the local girls lift her heart in ways she can’t explain. And reading, of course, though she usually has to sneak books in order to do so. When Ben wanders from a party crowd and finds Susanna reading --- a passion he shares --- the two begin a tumultuous journey that takes them down dangerous paths.

Ben can no longer abide the oppression of British rule upon the colonists. Along with a group of like-minded souls, he is involved with smuggling molasses and other products to avoid the outrageous taxes the British have imposed. And like many of the colonists, he is tired of seeing the redcoats patrol the colonies. Ben knows his clandestine activities are treasonous and could get him killed. When Susanna discovers his secret, she’s furious with him for breaking the law. Until she finds herself in a similar situation.

While alone in the orchard, Susanna meets a woman with bloodied feet, just like the feet of the young girl who recently had been found murdered. The woman is terrified and starving. Susanna continues to help her, even after discovering she is an indentured slave who has run away from a cruel master. Like Ben, Susanna can face serious charges for her actions. Also like Ben, she believes she is making the right choice, despite the risk. As her involvement with the runaway continues, and the British oppression intensifies, Susanna gains a new understanding of Ben’s convictions. The two soon find their covert activities, along with their hearts, dangerously entwined. It will take a miracle to set things right.

Author Jody Hedlund delivers a romance that is so packed with tension, action and drama, it could make a convert of readers who normally avoid this genre. REBELLIOUS HEART has not only likable main characters, but secondary characters as well, and a few others who are fun to detest along the way. This book brings new life and interest to a time period many of us rarely consider. And though the expression “page turner” may be greatly overused, it certainly applies to this brilliant historical romance.

Reviewed by Susan Miura on October 16, 2013

Rebellious Heart
by Jody Hedlund