Love Protects: Anna
by Julia David
Series: Leaving Lennhurst #3
Publication Date June 7, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Kentucky Reconstruction Era – US – 1863 – 1877
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
From a desperate yet useful childhood at the Lennhurst Asylum and School for Disabled Children, Anna is married off to a plantation baron, a man old enough to be her father. When he collapses on the frozen pond and drowns, could it be the freedom she’s never known?
With barely a day of peace as a young widow, her cold-hearted step sons throw her from their father’s home.
William Gibbs thinks he knows desperation. With the death of their mother, he is left to raise his four younger siblings in their one-room cabin. One deemed a lunatic, who runs from home, he can’t find a moment to keep her safe and work their small tobacco farm. Without the crop, they’ll all be destitute.
On a dark rainy night searching for his missing sister, Will turns to the local reverend for help. Their simple solution is to marry off the woman who has been sheltering in their church. A woman who reports she's worked with the insane. "A wife will cost you nothing.” The reverend’s wife points out. Will agrees to take Anna as his wife. Unbeknownst to Will, she wasn’t a paid nurse, but a previous patient at Lennhurst Asylum. Has his desperation and crowded cabin just gotten worse?
Just as the new family finds care and acceptance for one another, Anna is arrested for the murder of her first husband. Moved with his ever growing feelings for his new wife, Will vows to protect her from the ludicrous charges. But what about the baby nursing at her breast? It's not Anna's first husband's or Will's baby. And she did not give birth. What kind of hoax is it? Should her past and the innocent babe in her arms doom her to life behind bars? Can Will protect her in time?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Author Julia David tackles difficult topics in her Leaving Lennhurst series. In Love Protects, after being abused and cheated on, Anna has been thrown out of her home. Will has endured prejudice because of his Native American heritage and is burdened with the care of his younger siblings, including a sister, Della, considered a half-wit, after the death of his mother.
Anna has a compassionate heart and loves caring for those around her. She was in her element helping Will with his younger siblings, caring for the household needs, teaching the children, and helping to see beyond external appearances. Moreover, she was able to open communication with Della. She did have a significant lack of trust, which was understandable. It did create problems between Will and herself.
Mystery and intrigue fill the pages of this marriage of convenience story as Della disappears regularly. And when someone appears to be sabotaging Will and Nathan’s crops, the family has to work together to salvage what is there or starve.
While I enjoyed the story overall, some aspects didn’t sit well with me. I felt that the focus on the intimate relations between Anna and Will was a little much. I do tend to be more conservative so this might not be bothersome to others. It was clean, yet much in the narrative describes the desire between them that may have been necessary for the story. Then again, it may not have.
Readers who enjoy historical fiction that addresses difficult topics with a hope for redemption may enjoy Love Protects.