Reviewed by Vickie McDonough
To Love Anew by Bonnie Leon
"...a deeply emotional story of betrayed trust, stolen innocence, and sorely tested faith in God with an unusual setting."
Will tragic events lead to a new life in a new land?
Hannah Talbot is alone and destitute. When she lands a job as a scullery maid for a wealthy judge, she is hopeful things will get better. But in the dark of night, a vicious attack sends her fleeing. Starving and penniless, Hannah makes an impulsive choice that lands her in an Australian prison. She believes God no longer cares for someone as vile as she. Is there any hope for a happy life ever again?
A successful businessman, John Bradshaw feels stifled with his life and longs for adventure. When he is betrayed by his partner and accused of a heinous crime, he loses everything, even his freedom. The crude adventure he receives on a prison ship bound for New South Wales is not the one he’d longed for. Will he ever get revenge for the wrong done to him? Will his life ever be normal again?
Onboard the dungy prison ship, Hannah and John meet, but their paths rarely cross. Even so, John finds himself longing for a glimpse of Hannah’s lovely face, the only thing of beauty his eyes can find in his dreary world. He knows he cares deeply for her, but what future can there be for two prisoners bound for a penal colony?
To Love Anew, Book #1 in Bonnie Leon’s Sydney Cove series is the exciting story of two people who unfairly lose their freedom and suffer horrible indignities aboard a prison ship bound for Australia. This book started a bit slow for me, but quickly picked up the pace and kept me turning the pages. It’s a deeply emotional story of betrayed trust, stolen innocence, and sorely tested faith in God with an unusual setting.
Ms. Leon does an excellent job of showing the hopelessness that both John and Hannah face and the struggle they endure as they wonder where God is in the midst of their oppression. Numerous secondary characters contribute to the quality of this interesting story. The theme of To Love Anew is that God is with you no matter how far you’ve fallen or how bad the circumstances may seem. I look forward to reading the second book in this exciting series.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written four Heartsong novels and five novellas. Her stories have placed first in several prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Noble Theme, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and the Texas Gold contest. She has also written books reviews for nearly five years and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie is a wife of thirty-one years, mother to four sons, and a new grandma. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. Vickie loves hearing from her readers via e-mail.