Louis Lestarjette, a Frenchman, arrives in Charles Town, South Carolina, in 1772 without purpose or plans. He encounters a society on the brink of revolution and is forced to make decisions that include finding meaning and direction in his carefree life. Who can he trust in his endeavors to prosper? Will he be able to stay neutral in a battle for independence? When decisive events confront him, will he stay or leave? Running from God and commitment is a constant option.
Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of a prominent British citizen, believes God will hold her close in uncertain and changing times. Faced with making difficult decisions about her loyalties, she finds comfort in close friends, a devout sister, and her music. When the mysterious Frenchman with no commitment to God or Charles Town enters her life, her role in the political battle is challenged. Can she trust her heart in volatile situations?
Set in pre-revolution Charles Town, Hold Me Close takes the reader into the lives of immigrants, ordinary citizens, and prominent historical figures at a time in which decisions are made that will change the world.
I’m always a bit wary of reading a novel by an author I don’t know, especially when it appears to be self-published. In the case of Hold Me Close, however, the main publisher is actually a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. It means the author has support as they go through the self-publishing process and there’s assistance with editing, formatting and cover design. Reassured with that knowledge, I felt confident in reading a novel about the years preceding the American War of Independence.
Thinking of the American Revolution usually brings the city of Boston to mind. I like that Hold Me Close was set elsewhere. Despite its southern setting, Hold me Close is peppered with key revolutionary figures such as Christopher Gadsden and Henry Laurens. Much of the book involves political discussion, with both sides of the argument having their say, but there are also some nice descriptions of the colonial town and its social affairs.
Christianity and faith are another part of the plot. The book’s title refers more to the idea of being close to God than one of a romantic relationship. Louis comes from a Huguenot family and is disillusioned with religion after the turmoil he’s witnessed in France. All he wants is to make money and remain unencumbered by relationships and other entanglements. Elizabeth has been raised in the Episcopal Church, consults her Bible regularly, and has decisive opinions on the political situation. Their faith, or lack of it, consistently influences their lives.
As for the romance, don’t expect a happy ending. I was left slightly disappointed by the way the book ended, even though there is a hopeful note to it. This and other plot lines were left open. I’m hoping this is because Hold Me Close is the first part of a series. Perhaps the second book will have some answers when it’s released later this year.
Thank you to WestBowPress and Celebrate Lit for my complimentary electronic copy of Hold Me Close, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Hold Me Close? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: WestBowPress (a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan)
Publication Date: 28 December 2015
Page Count: 260