First off, I've always found the time period Love's Pursuit is set during to be very interesting so was instantly excited about that. Ever since the success of Beverly Lewis' books, most of the inspirational fiction that's been coming out lately is about the Amish so it's refreshing to read about another religious sect.
I had just read A Constant Heart-by Siri-thought it was excellent, and was looking for another great novel to follow in its footsteps. Well, I saw Love's Pursuit in the store and picked it up hoping it would be just as good as the previous book. I wasn't disappointed. I really love the way Siri got into the character's heads and brought out the emotions of how they could/would have felt during that era. Being able to hear the vivid thoughts of Susannah and Small Hope made the contrast of their simple lifestyles, plain dress, and expectations of "proper behavior" all the more stark. It made you feel their sense of confinement, frustration, and need to break free but without knowing how. They reminded me of caged birds, locked in prisons of self loathing and guilt wanting to be let out, yet afraid of the consequences. I thought the parallels of grace and Christ-like sacrifice were well emphasized and only added to the richness of the story. My heart ached for Susannah toward the end as she finally realizes her own efforts will never be enough to earn God's love and favor, nor do they need to be.
The physical and spiritual love story between Susannah, Daniel, and ultimately God brought me to tears...it was beautiful. I won't spoil the ending for anyone but it was truly thought provoking. Maybe not the conclusion readers were expecting-or hoping for-but it tied the story together amazingly well and left a lasting impact. As Susannah finds, we don't always get the things we want or think we need to be happy. That's how I felt when I read the last page and closed the book. I sat reflecting, feeling some sadness that the ending hadn't been the "happily ever after" I wanted. But it was realistic of how life really is and I appreciate that Siri was brave enough to challenge readers expectations and write honestly. It was quite refreshing to read something with a level of maturity and emotional authenticity rarely seen in most Christian novels to date. This story has some real "meat" to it, something that will stick to your heart long after wards. When I invest time in a book I want to come away more knowledgeable having learned something, having grown as a person. And after reading Love's Pursuit I know that I have. Thank you Siri Mitchell...I'm really looking forward to your next story. Hurry and write another one!