Sunday, April 21, 2002

The Distant Beacon: Acadians and the American Revolution

Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn's "Song of Acadia" series continues with The Distant Beacon, book four in the series. The story begun in 1753 with The Meeting Place now tells the adventures of the two girls, who were switched as infants. Anne, the French child raised by Catherine and Andrew Harrow in Nova Scotia, now lives in England with her new husband. Nicole, the Harrow’s daughter raised by the Robichauds in New Orleans, now returns from England to Nova Scotia and then Massachusetts.

Anne’s story has been told in the previous books (The Sacred Shore, The Birthright), and so The Distant Beacon focuses almost exclusively on Nicole. Nicole has come to faith in Christ, but still harbors many insecurities. She still feels troubled, in part due to an unfortunate romantic incident in her past. She now loves Captain Gordon Goodwind of the British merchant navy, but holds back – for he does not know God.

Nicole has inherited land in the Massachusetts colony, as well as great wealth and title – the Viscountess Lady Harrow. Meanwhile, the colonies are at war with the British. It is 1776, and British forces occupy Boston but not the countryside. Throughout their dealings with both sides of the conflict, Nicole as well as Goodwind and his men find they must choose their allegiances.

The Distant Beacon begins at a steady, uneventful pace as it explores Nicole and her troubled thoughts. Later, like the flow of the first book, the action picks up for a story less focused on Nicole’s problems and more on an exciting adventure and great deeds the characters perform. A fairly short book -- only 270 pages -- The Distant Beacon thus provides an enjoyable read; not too prolonged at the outset, with all the strong elements of a historical romance – the rich historical setting, action, and themes of love, bravery, allegiance, honor and betrayal.

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