Hannah’s husband left with the Revolutionary Army and didn’t come back, executed falsely on charges of spying. But still she stays at the lighthouse, putting up with her mother in law and church congregation who find fault with her every move. Besides that, her headstrong sister Lydia has come to stay, as much in love with brutal Loyalist Galen Wight as ever.
Still, Hannah tends the lighthouse every night.
Threats of a British ship that wants to blow the lighthouse to splinters keeps her away from the light, but not away from the shore. Which is when Birch Meredith’s ship wrecks and he washes up ashore. Hannah believes he’s a Loyalist captain.
But really, he’s a Patriot spy bent on revenge.
When it comes to Colleen Coble’s historical fiction books, this one didn’t quite hit all the same beats. While we’ve got a little bit of action when it comes to the spies, there’s not much in the name of mystery, suspense, or adventure. Which is unusual. It is however an earlier manuscript that was just recently brought out to the publishing eye, so it’s interesting to see how her style has developed.
Lydia was super annoying. I didn’t relate to her at all. Hannah and everyone else in her life tried to warn her and she didn’t listen. Then when she got in trouble, she came back crying and couldn’t understand how it happened to her.
Plus, I don’t know. I think I’m just wearing out on the “guy wants girl because he’s romantically attracted to her and will do anything to possess her” trope (namely, Galen being after Hannah). I mean, sure, it’s usually the villain doing so, but I’d like to see other reasons. What if he wanted her because she was super smart? Or had something he needed? Or knew some deep dark secret about his past that he didn’t want revealed? I feel like there’s so many ways this trope could go without falling back on this threadbare one. Or at least, if this trope is included, I want to see more of the girl breaking out of that abuse.
That being said, it was a sure-fire way to get me to hate the villain.
The dynamic between Hannah and her church congregation was very interesting. In an infuriating way. The legalistic church at one point went so far as to have Hannah publicly whipped because she took in an orphaned baby. I would have liked to see more with that subplot play out in the book. It’s a good reminder to those of us today to stand strong in our convictions as Hannah did, while never stooping to the abuse that her church dished out.
Churches aren’t perfect, and the inclusion of one that was so far from it was something that I think needed much addressed. But what’s brilliant about this book is that it didn’t dampen the Christian messages in this book. It actually was done so well it bolstered it, especially when helped by other good Christian examples in the book. This was a topic that needed approached with a lot of care, and the author nailed it.
Freedom’s Light is a bit of a slower read, but it doesn’t slow down the historical detail and themes that will have you thinking long after you close the book.
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