As the dark curtain of the rumors of revolution threatens to descend, Louis Lestarjette pursues his relationship with Elizabeth even as the emotional and physical struggles set the course for a life of changes. Will his commitment to God stay firm, or will the tide of change cause fear and flight?
The chance of reconciliation with England moves further out to sea, leaving Elizabeth Elliott on the shores of surrender to a greater challenge. Although others of unwavering courage give her strength, she must choose to allow God’s love to surround her. How can she enter into a marriage during a time of uncertainty? Will selfish, safer options take her away from Louis and his love?
Set in 1773 Charles Town, Surround Me, the sequel to Hold Me Close, takes the reader into the lives of colonists confronting imminent change and unpredictable circumstances binding them together to become a formidable force.
After reading Hold Me Close, I was interested in the continuation of the story of Louis and Elizabeth.
The end of Hold Me Close had Louis leaving Charles Town on a ship for France. I presumed, therefore, that Surround Me would focus on his separation with Elizabeth and how that would impact their relationship. There would be drama of some kind, possibly related to the Revolution, and they would then reconcile in time for a wedding at the end of the book. I was way off. The separation was actually over by chapter four, and the wedding took place halfway through.
I wanted to enjoy Surround Me, but I couldn’t get into it. It felt rushed at times. The separation lasted four months, but appeared to fly by. The first book of the Revolutionary Faith series covered less than a year whereas book two covers 18 months. As a result, there are gaps of time and some events are merely mentioned in passing. At the same time, readers are given details such as the titles and composers of the music Louis and Elizabeth dance to. I spotted a couple of continuity issues which threw me off. I also thought the book tried too hard to be Christian fiction because references to faith, God and the Bible seemed to appear on every other page and especially in conversations between Louis and Elizabeth.
Surround Me does provide snapshots of life in the run up to Independence. These were the parts I enjoyed the most. Readers see how families and communities were divided over the issues of taxation and representation. Businesses lost customers based on which side of the argument the owners stood. Stores had to adapt when goods from Britain were boycotted. Elizabeth and her sister wonder about bringing children into such uncertain times. There are also continued appearances by key figures in the Revolution, including John and Abigail Adams.
The book closes at the end of 1774. A quick glance at Gray’s author page on Amazon shows there are at least two more books to come in the series. I wonder if it will end with Independence in 1776 or the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
Thank you to Celebrate Lit and the author for my complimentary copy of Surround Me, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour
Enter to win a Surround Me prize pack (including tea from my home town!). Click the image for information.
Have you read Surround Me? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: WestBow Press (a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan)
Publication Date: 19 September 2016
Page Count: 288