The Liberty Bride

Sixth in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, The Liberty Bride, by MaryLu Tyndall, follows two patriots through the days and weeks leading up to the 1814 attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. Tyndall’s grasp of the history of this time is excellent, and her characters come to life right on the page.

Emeline Baratt is a plucky and courageous young woman whose father insists she forget her interest in art, and seek a suitable husband. When she accepts a commission to paint a landscape for the mayor’s wife, her father sends her to England to care for her aging aunt. Sailing home from England on her father’s privateer ship, they are attacked by a British warship. Emeline and the entire crew are taken prisoner, but in order to stay out of the brig, she manages to convince the ship’s captain that she and her female chaperone are loyal to the crown.

Owen Masters is an officer in the Royal Navy. He is also an American spy. Attracted to Emeline, Owen is discouraged when she insists that she is loyal to the crown. Afraid to trust, yet extremely attracted to each other, they dance around their feelings. Still distrustful of each other, the two are sent on a spying mission to learn of the Americans’ plans, number of troops, ordinance, etc., and report back to the ship. What each of them secretly intends to do is give similar information about the British to the Americans. Emeline prays for success. Owen doubts God cares for him.

Their experiences between leaving the ship and reaching the American encampment are at once terrifying and heartwarming. As with all the books in the series, history comes alive, and we are given more insight into the lives of several ordinary people who sacrificed so much for the liberty of this young republic.

This is one of the best works of Christian fiction I have read in quite a while. Without seeming preachy, Tyndall and The Liberty Bride remind us that we are never alone, and that God has our backs. Emeline believed that, in order for God to love her, she had to give up her dreams and adventurous spirit, and become a “proper lady” as described by her father’s rules. God showed her (and us) that we can have fun, follow our dreams, and be as adventurous as we choose. She reminds us that loving and trusting God is not about following a bunch of rules made up by humans. Rather, it is about love and trust and kindness.

What Makes This Reviewer Grumpy?

Using the phrase “begs the question” to indicate “raises the question”:  the two are not interchangeable. Using it in this way is an error that began in the late 20th century, not in 1814.

Aside from that, the usual things:  split infinitives, misplacement of the word “only” within sentences, using “brings” and “brought” in place of the more accurate “takes” and “took”, and missing commas.

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