of Then Came Faith
Reviewed by April Gardner
Then Came Faith by Louise M. Gouge
"...an educational and entertaining read."
The Civil War is over; Juliana wants to help the South heal and repent of its past…Andre swears never to forgive the North for what they did to his family.
Juliana has traveled to this war-ravaged city to help the people devastated by the conflict—having been a strict abolitionist who was part of the Underground Railroad—she seeks to help the South understand the transgression of slavery. Andre and Juliana’s attraction is immediate and obvious, but they quickly discover how diverse two people can be in their values and beliefs.
Even in the midst of their warring points of view, Andre cannot help but notice Juliana’s courage and resilience—and remarkable impact. Through the commitment of three former slaves, Andre discovers secrets from his family’s past that force him to face head on his own views of the intrinsic worth and dignity of all people.
~ back cover of “Then Came Faith”
What can I say, but “wow!”? Then Came Faith held me captive from the first page to the last. Placed in a forgotten setting (post Civil War), every one of Ms. Gouge’s characters came to life for me. Even the host of secondary characters was so captivating that I was just as anxious to know what would become of them as I was the hero and heroine.
I am still awed at how, from just two points of view—Juliana’s and Andre’s, I came to know every character so well. The plot mainly consists of Juliana’s and Andre’s seemingly impossible romance. However, so many smaller threads are attached, that the big picture becomes thick with questions.
Why is Andre’s mother always sick? Is his grandfather really interested in beginning a relationship with him, or does the bitter old man have ulterior motives? What will happen when Andre is inevitably charged with attempted murder? Why is Aunt Sukey suddenly acting so strange, and how does Cordell always seem to be in two places at once? Who shot Mr. Randolph, and the biggie…who will Juliana give her heart to—Dr. Mayfield or Andre?
Although classified a historical romance, “Then Came Faith” could also accurately be placed in the genre of suspense. A master storyteller, Ms. Gouge carries the reader along to the last page before she finally answers every question.
The reality of the severe resentment between late 1860’s United States hits home with descriptions of post Civil War New Orleans and its inhabitants. We often skim over this portion of our American history. The North wins, the South rebuilds, end of story. However, Ms. Gouge zeros in on the forced large scale reshaping of southern society as well as the Southerner’s way of thinking.
Of course, most balked at the changes and some even went so far as to take matters into their own hands. In “Then Came Faith”, we see the beginnings of what would surely become the KKK. It was sobering to read, but necessary, especially since our society still struggles with this very issue.
Then Came Faith is not as discouraging a read as all that, however. Juliana’s unwavering faith is heart-warming. Dr. Mayfield’s loyalty is tender and sweet. And Andre’s sins, although many, are forgiven, which refreshes the reader’s hope in and love for the Savior.
Well done, Ms. Gouge! An educational and entertaining read that I will carry with me for a long time.
April W Gardner writes adult and middle grade historical fiction. Her first novel, Wounded Spirits, releases with Vintage Romance Publishing in November of this year. She is a member of ACFW and reviews for Title Trakk, At Home With Christian Fiction, and FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours. A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her darling Hubby. A homeschool mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian. Visit April's Website or her blog, A Writer's Journey. You can also get to know April on Facebook and Twitter.