To Love Anew by Bonnie Leon

Sydney Cove, book 1
Category: Christian fiction, historical fiction, romance
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: August 1, 2007
Format: free Kindle ebook
My Rating: 4-stars


Hannah Talbot has no one. Forced to leave the only home she's ever known, she works for a cruel employer who brutally takes the one thing she has left--her dignity. When she is banished from London, she is certain God has turned his back on her. 

John Bradshaw was a successful businessman whose untamed spirit sometimes wanted more. When he is betrayed by those closest to him, he loses everything--his wife, his business, even his freedom. John's and Hannah's paths are about to cross. Aboard a ghastly, nineteenth-century prison ship from London to Australia, John and Hannah must keep hope alive and trust God's unconditional love.


A week or two ago I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!  I was seeking a sweet respite… a bit of a change from my norm.  I receive a daily email from BookBub listing books offered for free or at a reduced price in genres that I have chosen.  To Love Anew popped up as a free Kindle ebook.  It must have interested me once before as I had already “purchased” it.  This time I pulled it up in my Kindle app and enjoyed a sweet distraction from my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

As I move into my review, I begin by dedicating it to my beautiful, smart, caring, and amazing mom.  She worries about me too much… she shouldn’t.  She, along with my father, gave me a strong foundation.  She shared her faith and taught me about God.  My mother has given me the tools needed to care for myself and my family.  She taught me how to love.  She continues to teach me that a mom’s job is never done and that a mother’s love is unfathomable.  I love you, mom!

To Love Anew begins with our heroine, Hannah, losing her precious mother to the sweating sickness.  Hannah’s mother provided her with a strong foundation of faith in God, a sweet and loving spirit, and skilled hands that aren’t idle.  As can only be, Hannah grieves for her mother and life is never the same again.  

Hannah’s situation is one that most of us will never experience.  Without her mother’s skills as a seamstress, Hannah very rapidly becomes homeless, alone and defenseless in a harsh and cruel world.  The reality of young women without means in 19th century London.

As Hannah is swept along from security with her mother to the streets of London to the miserable home of a cruel man to a dank and vermin-infested prison to a harsh and unfair trial to a frightening prison ship journey to a faraway penal colony in Australia, she learns that the love of your mother will carry you far.  That friendships and bonds formed along the journey will lighten the burden.  More importantly, she learns that the love of the Heavenly Father will carry you through to the very end.  That His love cannot die or be removed from you in any circumstance.  That in His love there is freedom. 

I found To Love Anew to be more realistic than many books in this genre.  Hannah and those that are journeying with her experienced true hardship.  Hardship unlike that which I will experience in modern America.  The cruel and harsh circumstances weren’t glossed over in the story and they weren't fixed for everyone.  Unfortunately, the reality is that hardships aren’t fixed for everyone.  It is so easy to think that God doesn’t care.  At one point Hannah wonders if God cares.  Bonnie Leon writes…

Bonnie Leon

Bonnie Leon

Bonnie Leon is the bestselling author of more than ten historical fiction novels. She stays busy teaching women's Bible studies and speaking at writing seminars and conventions. She and her husband, Greg, live in Glide, Oregon.

Indeed, it does appear that way at times, but he isn’t the one who brings calamity. He created perfection for us. It was mankind who rejected his gift. We yearned for our own desires and did exactly what God told us not to do. Yet he still loves us, so much so that he sent his Son to redeem us.

I can’t think of a better way to say it.  

If you find yourself having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I wholeheartedly recommend that you read To Love Anew.  If you are like me, you will find your tribulations minor in comparison and that faith in Christ and your subsequent relationship with Him will give you freedom and the means to carry on.

Happy reading!

the Sydney Cove series