Sunday, July 12, 2009

Love Thine Enemy

Louise M. Gouge
Inspirational Historical Romance
Steeple Hill Books - July, 2009

Louise M. Gouge's "short biography" begins with the sentence, "When I was a girl, I had a plan." As a psychotherapist, I would term her girlhood plans "self-fulfilling prophecy." Except for a few unforseens, everything in Gouge's life turned out pretty much according to plan, except that her Love Thine Enemy is a fascinating departure from the traditioinal plan for historical romance settings. Yes, it’s historical; and yes, it sprouts a happy ending; but the setting, immediately before the American Revolution and in Florida, marks a fresh departure. The only other Florida setting related to the Revolution that I can recall was Mel Gibson’s movie “The Patriot.”

Rachael Folger and her father moved from Nantucket to St. Johns Settlement, East Florida Colony, in 1775. Those who settled the colony were loyal to the British crown. Those from the Boston area were patriots at least at heart if not for action. Rachael was definitely a patriot and tended to speak her mind. Her father worried that she would run off business. Mr. Folger had been a sea captain, but his health was failing and he could no longer take the hard work. His nephew now was captain of the ship making regular trips to England and back.

Frederick Moberly was loyal to the crown and was magistrate of the colony. He was also sweet on Rachael. Of course, Frederick operated at the pleasure of his father who owned the plantation that Frederick ran. He could see that Rachael was not apt to turn from her patriot ways. Would his father accept a patriot in his family? That was his dilemma.

A betrayal of Rachael’s trust drives a wedge between them. Frederick was left to scuffle with the meaning of faith in God and country. Rachael urged him to see life, liberty, and love through God’s eyes. He’s left to capture his faith and courage to keep his love and not let the war tear them apart.

This is a well done piece of early American history. The setting helps one feel the great distances in this new land. The characters show the difficulty of the time. It’s a wonder we turned out where we are today.

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