The Prodigal Son by Anna Belfrage.Reviewed by Francine
Set within the 17th century this book stands alone despite being book 3 in The Graham Series.It’s 1665 and all thanks to his 21st century time-slip wife Alex (Bk1), Mathew Graham has returned home to Ayshire (Scotland) post deportation to the colony of Virginia, only to find life under Charles II is not quite as imagined. Religious strife is rampant, and outlawed by refusal to swear absolute fealty to Charles and the Church of England life has become Hell on earth for Scot Presbyterian ministers. In defiance of crown dictate Mathew shelters and provides succour to the runaway ministers. One in particular of notorious voice and with a price on his head causes much anguish for Alex.
Whilst Mathew engages in risk-laden ventures across the moors, Alex faces a stark reality from his past life that will surely change hers and no doubt that of her children, for when Mathew’s ex wife thrusts Ian into Alex’ care the lad bears a remarkable resemblance to Mathew. Although once thought of his own son until told otherwise, both Mathew and Alex are thrown into emotional plains of uncertainty over Ian’s true lineage. All the while their love for each other is tested, not by the boy, but by events that unfold and threaten to tear them all apart. Ms Belfrage has most definitely placed an emotional minefield before her characters of which Mathew and Alex tread with great fortitude, their love knowing no bounds. This book although full of roller-coaster emotions in a romantic sense, the historical facts blend unobtrusively with the backdrop of the time depicted, so too the brief insights to Alex’ previous 21st century existence.
I will say this, which demonstrates the power of some novels to draw forth tears, there is one incident that left this reader as bereft as that of Mathew and Alex.