An Open Heart To Others
At Love’s Bidding by Regina Jennings is the second historical Christian novel to be set at Ozarks. It was wonderful to meet up with familiar characters and to enjoy the antics of Betsy again. It can however be read as a stand-alone, as the focus of the novel is on two new characters, Wyatt and Miranda.
Miranda’s family own a prestigious auction house in Boston. When a painting is accidentally sold and mailed to Missouri, Miranda and her grandfather travel there, in the hopes of recovering the painting. Here they meet Wyatt, an adopted son of the Ballantines, who works in an auction house. Together they search for the painting, unaware of the consequences and the life changing effect.
At Love’s Bidding is a delightful novel with many different themes, and with God at the centre. Both Wyatt and Miranda are good, faith filled people trying to live lives that honour Jesus. They both have hearts for the poor and the hurting. In them we see the commandment being lived out of ‘taking care of the widows and orphans’. They both see beyond people’s clothes and stations, looking into their hearts.
The novel deals with the theme of family. Wyatt did not know his real parents, who both died of a fever, but was lovingly bought up by the Ballentines. There is a rumour that he is illegitimate, so he works hard to prove his worth. In contrast, Miranda has a well to do family who love her, but she is seeking something more in life than just being married off to her cousin. Everyone is part of God’s family, and the reader is reminded that we do not have to work to earn God’s love, He just loves us anyway. Miranda opens her heart to the street children, showing that family is not always about a blood line, it is about a heart line too.
Whilst reading the novel, I was reminded of Genesis 50:20 which talks of what men meant for harm, God meant for good. This certainly plays out within the novel, as character’s surrender themselves to God’s perfect plans when life deals them unexpected hands.
Within At Love’s Bidding is the continual theme of caring. Miranda’s grandfather is used to being a proud and important man. As his signs of dementia become more obvious, Miranda does her best to care for him. The nurturing roles of child and adult are reversed.
I really enjoyed At Love’s Bidding. It was very much a rags to riches type novel, showing the shallowness of some people towards financial wealth. This was in complete contrast with the richness of heart of Miranda and Wyatt towards the poor. I am hoping there will be many more novels in this series by Regina Jennings, as I am not yet ready to bid farewell to the Missouri countryside.
I was given a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.