The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund | Book Review

Courage. Redemption. Love. Forgiveness. Humility. Belonging. Mercy.

These are the themes of The Runaway Bride, the second book in The Bride Ships series by Jody Hedlund. Published by Bethany House.

Before I share my review …

The Back Cover

Haunted by Mistakes in Her Past, Will She Ever Again
Trust Her Heart to Another?

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town’s baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella’s affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter’s advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost both her and Peter everything?

My Review

I enjoyed this story for the most part, but there is one thing I would change. I’ll share it at the end of my review.

A woman, Arabella Lawrence, who is brought up as a lady, is forced into a horrible betrothal, but courageous enough to flee in time.

A man who was brought up to fear the Lord, but fled like the prodigal son from the Bible. But God found him, and Peter turned completely back to God. Peter had the heart of a missionary, even if he wasn’t one in the story. Constantly reaching out to those who were less fortunate. Even though he didn’t really have all that much. But because the law at that time was on the opposite side of the natives that Peter helped … well, Pete found himself in prison quite often because of it. But his heart of mercy for the natives is one of the things that made him such a likeable character, and had me cheering for him to be the hero.

And let’s not forget Drummond. Horrible man. And that’s all I will say about him. Well done, Jody, making that man unlikeable.

I don’t want to spoil anything for readers, but my absolute favorite chapter of this story was the final one. The humility, forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation melted my heart. Absolutely beautifully done.

Also, I enjoyed how Jody painted British Columbia. I live in Ontario, but I am originally from Alberta, next door to the province of BC. The landscape is simply stunning, and I loved hearing about the land Peter Kelly intended on buying.

What I didn’t love. This is hard to say, because I know not all will agree with me, but I have to be honest. There was just a bit too much chemistry … a wedding was needed a whole lot sooner. More chaperoning was definitely necessary. And even though they didn’t kiss until later, the hero couldn’t quite keep his hands to himself. If he was going to honor her as he seemed to want to, he should have kept more propriety between them. And although I appreciated his struggle (as a man who was once a womanizer), I felt he took advantage of Arabella. I found that one thing made it harder to like him.

For that reason, I’ll give it a 4 star. Otherwise I would have given it the full 5 stars—which I would love to have done. Because overall, it was a great story.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

I received an e-copy of this book free from the publisher for my honest review.