Hi, y’all! Today I have another book review for you! This one is a little different, however, because it has already been released. Anyway, I’m helping out with this promotional tour and got to read the book, so I can share a review on it. Plus there’s an interview with the author – Jayna Baas. So definitely stick around because this is a book worth reading!
General Book Info
Title: Preacher on the Run (A Novel of the Regulator Uprising)
Series: For Liberty & Conscience #1
Genre: Christian historical fiction (not romance)
Length: 326 pages
Age range: 13+ or parental guidance (violence)
Back Cover Synopsis
North Carolina, 1771
Robert Boothe has spent the last four years leading the tyrant-hating Regulators in standing against North Carolina’s corrupt British government. Just being an unlicensed dissenter preacher is enough to make Robert a target, but he refuses to back down from his conscience. Aside from a sympathetic court justice, the village of Ayen Ford has no other champion for its poor and defenseless.
Then Charles Drake, emissary of His Excellency William Tryon, comes to town with one ambition: winning the governor’s favor, no matter what it takes. And Robert Boothe just might be his last chance.
All Robert wants is a safe place for his little Baptist church to live and worship God. But the established church wants him to shut up. The governor’s men want him dead. And that safe place is farther and farther away.
You can run, but you can’t hide . . .
*I received an eBook copy of Preacher on the Run in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own.*
Wow. Like, I seriously don’t know how to begin this review. This book was just downright awesome!!
The plot was superb. I could tell a lot of hard work went into getting it just right. Honestly, it was probably the best-plotted book I’ve ever read. There was humor and suspense – lots of suspense – and parts that left me really hating the villain. Seriously, the plot was so good I can’t even find the words to tell you. Suffice to say, I can learn a lot about plotting from this book.
The characters – oh, man! How could I ever pick a favorite? Rob, Maggie, Susanna, Mitchell, Hank, Alec, Saul, Elsie – even Jacob Chauncy. The characters were all so unique and real. And I know this might sound weird, but I even liked the villainous Drake (as a fictional character). As a writer, I enjoyed a bad guy who was really BAD and actually had a reason (kinda. I mean there’s never a good excuse for being bad.) I love how the characters were all shown to make mistakes. Nobody in the world is without their struggles, and I appreciate that the characters had the same struggles that, I’m sure, many of us have.
The story definitely had me longing to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains again. The imagery was wonderful, and I’m sure that anyone who’s been to the Blue Ridge can picture those scenes just as vividly as I did.
The writing style – let me just say I was less than a page in and I recognized it as something spectacular. It’s not often that a writer gets it just right where you can actually hear the drawl in a character’s voice just by reading what they say, but Jayna got it spot-on perfect.
The lessons taught were so powerful! And it wasn’t just a lesson-learned-the-end kind of story. The lessons were pounded in again and again in different ways in different circumstances, each time more powerful than the last. Lessons of trusting God no matter what – whether you’re man or woman, married or single. (I especially loved this because my word for the year is Faith, and I have been trying more than ever to grow an unwavering trust in God.)
I did feel a little uncomfortable at the husband/wife scenes. While I think it is fine for more mature readers, it might be appropriate to censor some of those parts depending on how young the reader is.
Also since the main character is a Baptist preacher, there is a fair amount of Baptist teachings throughout. So those who don’t agree with all of the Baptist teachings (such as on baptism) obviously won’t agree with everything in this book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The plot, writing style, characters, and everything was just so perfect. To be honest, I think this story would make a great movie. (like maybe by Burns Family Studios.) I highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction with a lot of action!
There is also a giveaway going on right now! (US residents only. Sorry.) Hurry, if you want to enter! The giveaway ends tomorrow!
You can win:
- One signed copy of Preacher on the Run
- One necklace hand-stamped with In God I Trust
- One bookmark with a Bible verse and book cover art
PLUS all entrants will receive free recipes from the colonial era!
Doesn’t that sound awesome?
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE!
About the Author:
Jayna Baas (pronounced as in “baa, baa, black sheep”) lives in northern Michigan with a great family of real people and the family of pretend people who live in her head. (Yes, she does know her characters are not real. No, she does not want you to tell them she said so.) She is notorious for working on several projects at once and writing her series in the wrong order. She hones her craft amid loud southern gospel music and an embarrassing number of composition books, and is convinced God wired her to write—she can’t not write, even though she believes German writer Thomas Mann was correct in saying, “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” She enjoys writing and reading in a wide range of genres, but her favorite story is this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Interview with author Jayna Baas:
How did you first get into writing?
I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. Once I learned to write, there was no stopping me! One of my earliest attempts was a book made of construction paper, titled Little Spring Valley. I also remember a short story I wrote when I was seven, about a boy named Lester Billy Frognoodle and his pet spider.
What inspired Preacher on the Run?
I’ve always loved history, especially the American Revolutionary era, and I love heroes who stand up for what’s right in the face of danger. When I learned about the combination of persecution and freedom-fighting in the Regulator Uprising, it instantly sparked my imagination. I like to tell stories most people have never heard—my favorite history is the little-known stuff.
I’ve always thought it would be hard to write a preacher as a main character. How challenging did you find it?
It was hard sometimes, but I was really blessed to have my pastor beta-read the whole thing and give me tips. I also had good historical precedent for my character. I do remember telling my mom, “People say, ‘Write what you know,’ but I’m writing about a thirty-five-year-old married pastor!” I’ve never really “written what I know,” though, so I guess the challenge was nothing new.
Who is your favorite side character?
Alec Perry is a favorite because of his personality and how he “wrote himself,” but I also like Hank Jonas and Mitchell Boothe and how they interact with one another and other characters. Hank really took on a life of his own when I invented the backstory of how he and Mitchell met. I’m rather fond of Elsie Thurmond, too. (I have lots of favorites. I should just admit that right up front.)
What was your favorite part of writing this book?
I love the moment when it all comes together and you suddenly realize you have a working story! One fun scene was when Mitchell and Hank first meet. I also enjoyed the two scenes in Susanna’s point of view. I don’t usually write through a child’s eyes, so that was fun. And I liked playing my bad guys off each other. 😉 Honestly, I think my favorite thing was looking back on a section I had finished! Someone has said writers don’t like writing, they like having written. That’s probably more true than I like to admit.
What was the hardest part?
It took me forever to figure out what to do with my bad guy! I had to rewrite my whole climax sequence because it was way too weak. It was also hard to streamline the hero’s internal struggle, because I had too many ideas and it wasn’t very coherent. One difficulty specific to historical fiction was aligning the fictional narrative with the historical timeline.
Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?
I’m both a plotter and a pantser, if that’s possible. 😊 My outlines are chapter lists with brief scene descriptions (“Robert gets arrested”), and sometimes a calendar format to track where fiction and history intersect. If the story goes somewhere else, I write a new outline to fit the new storyline! The outline is really just a safety net so I don’t forget what the whole point was.
What has influenced you the most as a writer?
My faith shapes what I write and why. As for style, Davis Bunn’s Christian fiction (especially Lion of Babylon) had a big effect on my writing. I remember first realizing the difference between writers who just tell what happened and writers who shape the story with their style choices. I didn’t know what it was called, but I knew I wanted to write like that!
When can we expect to see Book 2?
Okay, so “coming soon” was a bald-faced lie. Guilty laugh Maybe the end of next year? The drafting is about 80% done, but there will be a lot of editing, rewriting, and beta reading after that.
Any advice for someone wanting to write historical fiction?
I received some great advice while I was pondering if it was really okay for my Christian characters to stand against their government. I went to a trusted friend, and this is what he told me: You have to write what people actually believed back then. I had ample evidence that Christian people did stand against the government and believed they were honoring God by doing so. I didn’t have to reinterpret their stand by others’ modern-day opinions. I’ve already used that advice in book 2, and it takes a lot of pressure off—I don’t have to make a case one way or another, I just have to tell the truth about what people really thought and did. So do your research (be prepared to sort through several sides to every story!) and search out the truth, and then don’t be afraid to tell it.
I really hope you enjoyed the review and interview and that I’ve talked you into reading this amazing book. It won a full five stars from me and my review team (aka sisters), and I definitely plan on rereading it sometime soon!
Do you like books with a lot of action? Have you heard of the Regulator Uprising? Do you plan on reading Preacher on the Run?
Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!