12 Jan 2013

Review of 'Lily's Plight' by Dianna Crawford and Sally Laity

 Lily's Plight: Book 3 of the Sisters of Harwood House 
"Journey to Pennsylvania backcountry during the French and Indian War. Indentured servant Lily Harwood has always thought of herself as a good Christian lass. . .until she is struck with a deeper, more profound plight than the war that rages around her. When her mistress’s husband returns home on a short furlough, Lily finds herself falling in love with him. As Lily is caught between passion and sorrow in harrowing times, can she find hope in the promises of God?"

This novel was the last in a trilogy; I have not read the preceding two titles, or anything else by the authors. Excitement of reading a new author for the first time aside, I was not overly impressed with this novel. 

It was not bad but I did not think it was anything special either, it seemed to me to be about the average, run of the mill Christian Historical romance, which was perhaps a little formulaic. Yes, the element of romance was sweet, and charming, but the concept of the Lily struggling with what she fears are inappropriate feelings for John who she really should not fall in love with, and every form of adversity threatening to keep them apart seems to have done before. Also, the fact that Lily first started to have feelings for John when he was still married, and he for her, that did seem a little inappropriate.

Overall, this novel was enjoyable enough, but it was really not my cup of tea’. There did not seem to be anything much to set it apart from other novels in this genre, but it is passable enough a light clean read. If you like these authors, and novels set in this period, it might be for you.

Lily and John are interesting characters, and some of John’s children were cheeky yet endearing little things, and there were some other interesting personalities- but- many of the inhabitants of John’s home in Beaver Cove and the surrounding settlements could have stepped off the set of Little House on the Prairie. They just seemed a little too sweet and perfect  and  the representation of their life on a rural settlements in the early 1700s seemed a little too idealised and nostalgic. Really, the only thing that made things difficult was them nasty Injins. 
The raids and attacks the Native Americans made on the settlements did add an element of risk and danger to make the story more exiting, which helped as it could appear a little repetitive and dull in places.
The daily routine of the characters did not really make for compelling reading all the time- perhaps the reason for the apparent dullness of some parts of the novel. Though such passages could provide a good opportunity for exploring deeper Christian and moral themes.

One aspect of this novel which I disliked was the stereotyping, or rather unfair generalizations of characters from certain backgrounds and lifestyles.
British generals and commanders for instance were presented as bungling fools would not help each other, and who literally had to be forced to take any kind of decisive action in the war. The only troops who were any good were the ‘Colonials’- in other words the Americans. Personally, I had hoped for a more objective and informed depiction of the British, but was rather disappointed in this regard.

Even some American characters fared little better, as those who lived in cities were frequently presented as having comfortable, affluent lives which made them shallow, selfish too concerned with the trivial. 
Finally, even as someone unfamiliar with American history, I kept wondering whether there really would have been such a pronounced difference between American and ‘British’ accents at this time. As the novel progressed, the use of various anachronistic terms by characters seemed to show that most of them were speaking modern American English. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Barbour for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed here are my own.

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