Close to His Heart by Leonora Pruner is a sweet book that portrays well the real challenges and joys that married couples face as they begin their lives together. I was impressed by this author's ability to show life as it often is and not a "perfect" romance between two flawless people. The characters in this book had genuine struggles with sin and the influences that the world has upon those who try to live godly lives. It was refreshing to read a book where the characters looked more like you and me.
I also like the historical aspect of this novel. The setting is 18th century England. Mrs. Pruner "sets the stage" well as she describes the clothing, manners, and speech of that day. I was drawn into the story as I read about the gardens, the servants, and the horses that were all a part of this wonderful story.
The main characters, Henry Buryhill and Grace Carstares, first meet one another when he is visiting her home on the night she is planning on eloping with one of her father's servants. The courtship and marriage that follow soon turns sour as Henry assumes the worst of his new bride and jumps to conclusions about her intentions towards her former suitor. Things get even worse when Grace has an unfortunate accident and loses her memory. Henry must begin again to woo her and prove to her that he is indeed the gracious and loving man she once knew. As she regains her memory, the two must learn to forgive one another and learn to love as Christ loves His Bride. There are several minor characters who add much more to the story and make this book a satisfying read.
The only think I didn't like about the book was when Henry retold the events of the first several chapters to his friend in order to get his advice on what he should do about his difficult situation. I felt as though I was reading the first part of the book all over again. I'm not sure how it could have been written differently, but it was somewhat annoying to read what I had already read as it was retold to another character. However, I still remained engaged with the story and was able to overlook this minor irritation.
This book gave me hope in the future of clean, godly literature. It is a book I would not hesitate to recommend to all my friends. I give Close to His Heart 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!
(I received this book from Pump Up Your Book! for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)