The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!
This is my last time hosting our monthly discussion of The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge! How bittersweet it is to realize the end is quickly approaching, but I’m happy A Noble Groom is the last book I get to talk about! It’s one of my favorites (yes, I know I’ve said this again and again!).
As this is my last time bringing the discussion to all of you, I wanted to do something fun and memorable, so I put a lot of thought into what I was going to say today. More than a year ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of the judges for the Inspy awards and A Noble Groom was the winner for my category.
So, I thought it would be fun to share my unedited love for this book below, which also doubled as my effort to win over my fellow judges to make this book a winner! Without further ado, here is my monologue from back in the midst of judging:
My favorite book is A Noble Groom. For me, it had everything I’m looking for in a historical romance: a great sense of time and setting, character development, a plot that moves, and a great message.
Jody has an engaging writing style that pulls you in and grasps your attention. She is wonderful at creating complex characters who show growth and keeping the tension in her story present in every scene.
We meet Annalisa as a young woman who is struggling to make ends meet. She was no voice and is unable to give her opinion and make her own decisions about her own life—her father does that for her. She is also very cautious and guarded around Carl because of her past experience. She doesn’t know what love is or that it is even possible to love a man- her only reason for marrying is to survive and keep her land.
But throughout the story, we see her grow into a stronger woman, one who has convictions about her life and the way she wants to live it, and Carl gives her courage to see the possibility of living her life her way. His presence in her life teaches her to trust and open her heart to love. And by opening her heart and trusting Carl, she learns to see relationships differently—that they can be full of love and respect and mutual affection for one another. In the end, I love how she is bold and stands up to her father. She no longer bends to his commands, but decides to have faith and take control of her own life.
Carl also had great character development. We meet him as a carefree, cocky young man who is running away from his life as a nobleman and hiding secrets. But, when he begins his life working on the farm, he grows not only in physical strength, but also in his character as a man. He is vulnerable in his new situation, and that forces him to make a decision: learn and succeed, or give up and fail. This is a struggle for him, as many times he wants to escape back to a better life. But he stays. He helps Annalisa. He protects her. He respects her. He shows her kindness and is sensitive to her needs. He learns that it is better to face the consequences of his mistakes rather than to run away from them. He grows from a careless young man to a strong man who wants to do right by the people he loves. And through it all, he never loses his personality—one filled with charm, playfulness, and kindness.
I think this story was about learning to love and trust. To have a relationship grounded in who God is and what he has done for us.
One more thing. I loved that Jody included a real historical event in this book. The fire at the end of the story was a heart-wrenching and intense part of the book, and to know that fire truly happened made it all come together for me.
And I still love this story for all the same reasons! It’s so good!
Now on to you, my friends. What did you think of this book? Let’s discuss:
- Who was your favorite character? Favorite scene in the book?
- What themes stood out the most to you while reading?
- Do you love this book as much as I do??
Before you go, Jamie and I have a giveaway for you. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Luther and Katharina, our final read of the year! Enter here —> a Rafflecopter giveaway