Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund. I really enjoyed this book and was even more interested in it when I realized that the main characters are based on John and Abigail Adams. Many of the situations and personality details of Ben and Susanna in the book were based these two real, extraordinary people who greatly influenced our country's history.
Susanna is a strong and determined young lady who is incredibly interested in education. She would give much to have the educational opportunities that her brother has, but she is unable to obtain a formal education because she is a woman. However, this does not keep her from reading all the books she can get ahold of and improving her mind in any way she can. She is very civic minded and helps others as much as she possibly can, including helping poor women, teaching girls to read and even giving her shoes to a runaway indentured servant. She has been taught to respect authority and at the beginning of the book she is very passionate about following all societal rules and laws. She starts to struggle when morality clashes with laws and has to decide whether to help an abused indentured servant or to do as she has been taught her entire life and turn the girl in. Through Ben, she learns that sometimes one has to fight the laws of the country when the laws are oppressive and unjust. I enjoyed watching her trip from staunch patriot to questioning loyalty to fighting for what was right.
Ben's character was also real with his own struggles. He was brought up a poor working man and he wants to make a difference, which he thinks he can do if he marries well. He has decided to marry Susanna's cousin, but he is intensely drawn to Susanna and her character and intelligence. I liked his self-reflection when he takes his father's words to heart about the character of a man being more important than anything else.
This book was filled with rich characters, believable scenarios, historical details, and true character growth. I loved it!
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. The content of this review is entirely my own.