The Prodigal Son (The Graham Saga Book 3) Kindle Edition
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This entire third installment is about the persecution of the common people standing for their Presbyterian faith --- being forced to renounce their religious beliefs by the King or face death. At the same time it's the story of the struggles of a young boy coming of age while wondering who his real father is and searching for the truth. It's a fabulous continuing saga of epic proportions of Alex and Matthew's profound love for each other and their struggle to overcome so many political obstacles to safely raise their family in a time of frightening unrest. It is structurally well written carrying a solid, historical plot. Lust balanced with emotion...a harsh life filled with nothing but hard work, but full of the simple pleasures of life that are greatly valued. And Ms. Belfrage tells it so well.
Again there are some similarities to Outlander. It's sort of like Ms. Belfrage used OUTLANDER as a guide for her storytelling...taking a few scenes from that fabulous saga and then changes it up a bit. Even so, I'm addicted to this saga... enough that I must continue with the fourth book. I love Alex Graham...she's smart and intelligent....sassy and saucy....stubborn, opinionated and perky. She's a real spitfire on two legs --- ready to take on the world and anything else that stands in her way. This installment held enough suspense balanced with victory. There is humor as well as sadness that made me bawl buckets of snot filled tissues. The dialogue is witty and nicely balanced with narration. If you are looking for a story of epic proportions; of historical facts intertwined with romance and fictitious characters (and a few historical correct characters as well..)..then begin at the beginning... (although Ms. Belfrage adeptly brings us up-to-date with each installment....this third installment could easily stand alone).
It is obvious Ms Belfrage knows her history - and that she is rather impassioned about the events she depicts. Once again, historical detail is imparted in adequate doses, and this together with her well-drawn characters and a fast-paced plot, quickly hooks me, making it difficult for me to put the book down. I was particularly impressed by the portrait of the minister Alexander Peden, a real -life character that Ms Belfrage depicts with respect and affection.
There is plenty of action in this book, but it is balanced by descriptive passages that makes the Scottish landscape spring to life inside my head, complete with birds, flowers and scents. Due to the subject matter - the brutal persecution of those 17th century Scots who refused to accept Charles II as head of their church - there is heartbreak and loss, but there is also a lot of love: between Matthew and Alex, between parents and children. And then there is Ian, a confused boy who doesn't know quite where he belongs, at least not to begin with. I really liked how the author described Ian and his evolving relationship with both Matthew and Alex.
Ms Belfrage does an excellent job in describing Matthew's and Alex's feelings for each other. Just like in real life, they have their ups and downs, with her being angry at him for risking too much, him being frustrated by not being able to make her understand. There is passion and anger, grief and fear, and so much tenderness. And when it comes to the crunch, they are always there for each other, standing side by side to meet whatever life throws their way.
With The Prodigal Son, Ms Belfrage has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf. It is with relief I note that the next book in the series will be out before Christmas. Thanks Ms Belfrage, and please keep them coming!
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