Siri Mitchell’s latest novels delve deeply into a fashion element prevalent in societies of old. Love’s Pursuit is set in a Puritan community in Massachusetts in the 1600s, while her previous novel, A Constant Heart, in the court of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1500s. Siri gives the reader much to ponder in the stories so if you are up for a substantive and stimulating read, be sure to pick up these books. Now, get to know her main characters from Love’s Pursuit – over to you, Siri:~
While I was writing the book, I pictured her looking quite a bit like Rosamund Pike. During the casting for the cover model, however, my editor found a face she thought was perfect. I agreed. So we gave Susannah’s hair a color treatment J
A hero’s hero and swashbuckling cavalier. Flamboyant. Big hair, big boots, big hat. And big trouble to the conservative Puritan community where the story takes place. I like to think of him as the historic antecedent to Adrien (of Kissing Adrien).
You might recall a description early in the book as him having ‘cheekbones that could skin a rabbit’ and protruding eyes, though by the end, my POV character (Susannah) revises her opinion and can’t imagine why she ever thought those things. I was thinking of Mackenzie Crook. You probably know him best for his role in Pirates of the Caribbean (the skinny pirate with the fake eye). He cleans up nicely, doesn’t he?
Rel:~ Yep, he does 😉
Strengths and weaknesses
SUSANNAH ~ Her diligence and goodness form the basis of her character. What dooms her is her willingness to please and her desire to meet others’ expectations.
DANIEL ~ His greatest strength and his greatest weakness are his confidence. His lighthearted nature conflicts with the Puritans’ sober lifestyle. And he’s often tempted to dismiss people and ideas that he doesn’t agree with. But he’s also very observant.
SMALL-HOPE ~ She has great inner strength and resilience, but they’re tempered by her fear and low self-esteem. A woman with a secret past, she hides from everyone in the village. But even though she’s an outsider, she sees the townspeople more clearly than everyone else.
THOMAS ~ He’s a good, kind, honest, man. His compassion and love for Small-hope almost keep him from speaking out at the point when he most needs to.
Quirk (if any)
SUSANNAH ~ Everyone thinks she’s pretty much perfect. (Can that be a quirk?)
DANIEL ~ He can’t read.
SMALL-HOPE ~ She believes she’s invisible.
SUSANNAH ~ I wanted a main character whose life got turned upside down. I wanted her to go from being the village’s good girl to being the bad girl. In an instant.
DANIEL ~ Isaiah 43:4. This verse has always fascinated me and I wanted to know what kind of man God would give in exchange for a person’s life.
SMALL-HOPE ~ I once had a conversation with a friend about feeling invisible. In a literal way. With this book, I wanted to investigate that idea further. What would it be like to live a life where no one saw you? And why would a person want to live that way?
THOMAS ~ I needed a balm for Small-hope’s soul and he fit that role perfectly. As I was writing the book, the song Came to My Rescue by Hillsong kept playing in my mind.
Background to the story
Since I had contracted my books with the incorporation of a fashion element into the story, this book began with the fashion element. I knew I had to have a character get ‘caught’ wearing the wrong gown which would make the people in her town disbelieve everything they ever knew about her. I also wanted to investigate the meaning of Isaiah 43:4. The story specifics developed from there. I was also interested in understanding why a society that knew the Bible so well and was so devoted to following God could fail to grasp the concepts of love and grace.
It surprised me as I researched for this book that I ended up liking the Puritans so much. I had expected to find them dour, narrow-minded, and somber. But they weren’t. They were people who truly lived what they believed. They were passionate in their pursuit of God and intentional about their faith. They weren’t stodgy; they weren’t at all prudish. Widely read, they were the intellectuals of their time. The tragedy of the Puritan movement was that they just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that God truly loved them. In some respects, the consequence of their unwillingness to accept God’s unconditional love was their belief that if they did this thing and that thing and made sure to always follow God’s laws to the letter then God would have to save them. He would owe it to them. The concept of Assurance of Salvation was unknown to the Puritans. I hadn’t realized, before I wrote this book, just how integral that idea is to our faith. The Puritans would have given almost everything to know that God loved them – a concept that believers today take very much for granted.
If anyone who reads this book has ever doubted, I hope this story will confirm that God does see; God does know; God does care.
Thanks Siri ~ my book club members will enjoy reading through this as Love’s Pursuit is our September selection this year!
Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on A Constant Heart’s Marget & Lytham
Interview with Siri
Visit Siri’s website