The Preacher’s Bride | #HedlundChallenge2015 August Discussion

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(The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!)


Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful August and enjoyed reading (or re-reading) The Preacher’s Bride! I’m excited to chat about the book and as you’ll see, there’s also a fun interview with Jody’s editor – always love an insider’s look at the publishing industry!

I absolutely LOVED that this was based on a true story. So many of the things in this book really happened and I really appreciated that about it. No wonder I was hooked on Jody’s books after I read this one. What an amazing couple and legacy. I’m thankful Jody wrote their story. Her books always spark the desire to go on a massive research binge, this time about 1659 England.

Outside of the story of their relationship and marriage, some of my favorite parts of the novel were:

  • A look at how much religion and politics were connected in England at that time.
  • The family life and roles and what being married to a preacher who defied king and country for the sake of the gospel looked like.
  • Learning so much about that time period! From (ridiculous) punishments and laws to how a community would come together to help one another.

Now for a few discussion questions:
1. What did you think of the book? How about some favorite parts or quotes?
2. Who are some historical couples you like reading about or would like to?
3. What’s one of the biggest takeaways from the story based on John and Elizabeth Bunyan?

And now, please welcome Jody’s Editor, Dave Long to the Hedlund Challenge!

1. How did you get into editing?
My degree is in English, so I have a background in writing and editing. My first job out of college was in the publishing world—actually a medical publisher—and I’ve been fortunate to pursue this passion my entire career.

2. What are some of the main ways you partner with and support Jody?
We’re here as a sounding board for Jody. She’s able to bounce ideas off of us. They can be big ideas, like which direction she should go for a new book, or small ideas about particular scenes or characters. I’m hear to answer any questions she has about the market or sales, though our promotional team is available for those questions as well. One piece perhaps a bit more distinct to BHP is that I end up more heavily involved in the cover design process, and so I work with Jody, to represent her vision for scenes/characters portrayed on the covers.

3. Is there one editor who works with Jody or has she had multiple editors for her books?
While I’ve always served as her acquisitions editor, she was worked with two line (or substantive) editors through the years.

4. In what ways have y’all seen Jody’s work grow from this book (The Preacher’s Bride) to her latest?
Jody’s always written with a lot of passion and drama, that’s part of what her stories promise, but I’ve seen her characters really emerge as distinct. She finds a voice for them—and she’s found some lightness and some humor in some characters more recently that helps contrast the drama. Working with her on Beacons of Hope series has been nice, too, as she’s fashioned a slightly “larger” world through linked series.

5. There’s quite a bit going on in the publishing world, what are some exciting things you’re looking forward to?
I’m excited for the breadth of publishing we’re able to do here. I like all sorts of stories so it’s nice to be able to publishing historical romance with Jody, and then Regency with Julie Klassen, and fantasy with Patrick Carr and romantic suspense with Dani Pettrey. Both Patrick and Dani have new series starting up—and that’s always an exciting time.

Thank you so much for joining in! Hope y’all enjoyed today’s discussion and looking forward to re-reading A Noble Groom with y’all next month!

  • Beckie Burnham

    I finally can get in on the fun with the Hedlund Challenge – yay! Thanks to the bloggers who host this event! One of the things that struck me was Elizabeth’s need to find her worth through good works. Here was a woman who trusted God for provision, yet still was working so hard to get His (and man’s) favor. When things go seriously bad for the Costin household, she second-guesses God about his care for her and her family. How often do believers today do the same thing. Too many people have bought into the deception that God only wants good things to happen to His people. I loved Sister Norton’s response to Elizabeth — there are blessings in the hard things of life too.

    I posted my review of The Preacher’s Bride here —

    • Jamie

      Yay! So glad you could join in!! I loved that reminder too – such a great quote from Sister Norton (and such a great book! :)

  • eileen conway

    from childhood on, ihad never been really interested in history. After I married a history buff, I still couldn’t understand. Come to think of it, history was my worst subject in school— AND I was proud of it! In my wildest dreams, I would never have considered reading an historical novel. About a year or year and a half ago, I came across this book at agreat price. Not realizing it was one, I started to read. Now I am hooked on Jody as an author and historical novels as a genre. She brought the story and characters to life; it was so real. I could pictuer the times and see the places. I even reread Pilgrim’s Progress. Then I finished the series. Now I’m reading all her other books and am loving them.OK I am reading history books, too. That’s what I took away from The Preacher’s Bride. Thank you Jody and thank you for the Challenge.

    • Jamie

      That’s so great to hear! I’m so glad you’ve grown to love historical fiction – but I’m 100% biased since it’s my favorite genre to read :) And I agree – Jody’s talent in bringing the past alive is amazing!

    • Jamie

      P.S. I’ve been wanting to read Pilgrim’s Progress – I think I need to bump up the list!

  • Jody Hedlund

    I absolutely love that you got some input from my editor Dave for this month’s discussion, Jamie! You guys are so creative with these monthly book groups! I love it! :-) The Preacher’s Bride was such a fun book to write! Believe it or not, I wrote my Luther book right after writing The Preacher’s Bride! So I’m excited that Luther is finally getting published now too! :-)

    • Jamie

      Thanks!!! I loved the “insider’s” look :).

      How fun to know the timeline of writing books! That makes the upcoming release so much more exciting – it’s been waiting for us!! :) :)