Review of Promise of Refuge by Jayna Baas

Promise of Refuge by Jayna Baas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first heard about this prequel to Preacher on the Run, I was so excited. Robert and Magdalen deserve all of the stories, in my opinion. But when I started reading, I got an extra treat since Mitchell was also a main component of the story!

Let me talk about these characters … Robert definitely was like himself, but I could tell he was a few years younger and maybe not as wise as he was in the first book. I thought that was great writing and great characterization. Magdalen, of course, was strong and brave as she always is. Honestly, Maggie is just such a great character. The romance between her and Rob wasn’t really strong at all – more of a mutual attraction, and we just get the implication that they end up together. (And if you’ve read the first book, of course, then you know how it all turns out.) But I thought it was very sweet how they bonded over common passions and a love for the Lord. Yes, they thought each other attractive physically, but that wasn’t the basis for their relationship, which was a refreshing change from a lot of books. And finally … Mitchell. I just love him! I think his story was my favorite part. Like Rob, he seemed like himself, but quite a bit younger and greener. I absolutely loved his and Robert’s interactions (they seem like such fun brothers), and Mitch’s struggle with knowing what the Lord required of him was so good. (Like, can I have a Brother Latimer in my life? He’s epic.) I really enjoyed seeing the backstory of Mitch’s calling. Also, though it probably wasn’t his brightest moment, when he marched into the tavern and confronted that guy … I was cheering for him, even though it wasn’t completely wise. But all of these characters are easy to care for, and I’m so glad I got to see them in their younger days.

I’m not going to go into the plot very deeply, given this is a short story, but it was well done. I came into reading it already knowing the characters, but I think it could work for someone who’s never read any of the series. Personally, I would’ve liked to see a little more of Maggie and Rob’s relationship, but that’s just because I like the characters so much. The writing style also worked really well. I loved the distinct voice Jayna has, both for the dialogue and the narration. It just … feels right, if you know what I mean, for the historical setting. Really great job there.

And the themes. I already mentioned this when I was talking about Mitch, but I loved how the author showed a realistic struggle in a believer’s life. Many times in our lives, we’re going to have to make a decision, and sometimes we just don’t know what to do. We have to trust the Lord. And I’m going to quote Brother Latimer here, because I loved this line: “Hang on to the promises, lad. Sometimes they’re all you’ve got. But when you’re in a storm, they’re all you need.” Even in a few short pages, this book spoke on some powerful truths!

Needless to say, I greatly enjoyed this story, and it made my day better. I am so excited for the second book in this series!

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