Title: Freedom’s Light
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: September 11, 2018
About the Book:
Hannah Thomas left the South and all that was familiar to marry her beloved John. But the fact that she’s never been quite accepted by his mother and sister and that she doesn’t quite fit the strict Massachusetts Puritan community only becomes more difficult when John is killed in one of the first battles in the war for freedom. Hannah is allowed to continue to serve as lightkeeper for the twin tower lighthouses on the lonely coastline, but it is grueling work for a woman alone.
One of the first shipwrecks washes ashore a handsome captain she thinks is a Tory, but she soon finds out he’s working as a spy for Washington. Much stands in the way of their happiness including the need to protect his secret, pressure from John’s family to marry another, near-constant disapproval from the townspeople, and the appearance of Hannah’s wayward sister. Coupled with the strain of war, Hannah isn’t sure she’ll ever see the light of freedom.
The Revolutionary War was more than American vs British. Loyalties were divided within families and communities. Hannah and her sister Lydia are loyal to opposite sites of the battle and yet they are living under the same roof. While deep down they love each other, conflict is present and riddles their conversation. What’s more, is that Lydia is infatuated with the man Hannah refused to marry in the past, and Hannah is deeply concerned for her sister despite her animosity. The conflict that follows the characters through each page is tangible in a way that leaves you powerless to put the book down until the very end.
Have you ever watched a scary movie and watched as characters did the dumbest things to walk into danger? I will not share any details because I don’t want to give anything in the story away, however that is the exact sentiments I felt towards Lydia throughout the book. It’s a good thing I was by myself through reading most of this, because I am well aware of the faces (and noises) I made while I read. While in some instances she was genuinely naive, in others she was willfully ignorant. She is easily one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever encountered.
On the flip side, I really appreciated Hannah’s character. While she had her own conflicts to settle, she kept her eyes focused on God instead of her circumstances. She had principles that she stood on and remained unwavering. She refused to accept a man who didn’t love God more than her. She faced her battles head on with the ultimate trust that God had her life in His control. This is not to say that she didn’t battle with her flesh. Especially when it came to Birch, Hannah had to fight the desire to give in to temptation. Yet when she spoke the truth of what she knew must be, God gave her the strength she needed to trust in Him.
There is so much that I could write about in this story but I would be afraid of giving too much away. It was fast-paced, captivating, and infuriating all at the same time. As a reader I felt as if I was standing in the middle of the room with the characters, and could feel the tension of their conflict. I always say that a good book “makes you feel something.” That something could be happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy, anxiety, apathy, etc. Colleen did a fantastic job of creating an environment that the reader feels the story. This is certainly a story I would recommend.
*I received a copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story
Although there are no explicit love scenes, the reference to sex (premarital), is referenced on multiple occasions throughout the story. There is mention of a rape as well as another instance of what we would consider “statutory rape” (with the obvious intent to take advantage of). As with many other books during wartime, there is plenty of mention of death and hangings. Not directly related to the war there is also a whipping scene. While this is a wonderfully written story, it would not be a choice I would recommend to younger readers. I definitely wouldn’t recommend under 15 or 16.