The Prodigal Son

The Graham Saga Book 3

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
393 Pages
Reviewed on 04/12/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by C.J. Anaya for Readers' Favorite

The Prodigal Son by Anna Belfrage is an intense and highly satisfying addition to The Graham Saga, and one that I was able to follow easily despite the fact that it had been some time since I'd read the previous installments. Belfrage does a commendable job of capturing the religious and political strife felt among the Scots due to persecution of the Presbyterian Sects and any members of that particular faith who continued to aid the ministers or failed to denounce their beliefs. She takes this historical turmoil and infuses it into Matthew and Alex's story in a way that had me crying, laughing, and essentially thanking my lucky stars that I hadn't been born in that era of history. Yet at the same time I couldn't help but feel incredibly proud of Matthew's fierce determination to hold to his beliefs while protecting his family and children in the process.

The author presented a truly compelling conflict for Matthew in the form of his loyalty to his faith and his loyalty to his family. His continued persistence in helping outlawed men of his church such as Sandy Peden caused quite a bit of persecution to fall upon him and his loved ones while taking a toll on his marriage. This conflict brought out the very best and the very worst in both him and Alex, and as a result I got to know them even better than I had before, causing me to marvel once again at the complex and truly amazing characters Belfrage has created. His counterpart, Alex, is also no stranger to conflict, but the issue for her is her loyalty to her family while attempting to support her husband in a faith she doesn't share and, based on her upbringing, can't quite come to terms with. The choice between faith and family is easy for her, but her love for her husband adds to the conflict.

The obstacles and problems pummel them one right after the other, and I'm reminded of an old lesson my creative writing instructor used to teach: "Beat up your characters, make them work for what they want, make it so dire, so desperate, and so dangerous that your audience holds its breath throughout the entire story, praying for the end result to be one resounding triumph." I can safely say that Anna Belfrage managed to do just that. I highly recommend this book and this entire series to all fans of historical sagas. It will make you value and appreciate the sacrifices and struggles so many of our ancestors experienced in pursuit of a land where freedom of religion might be realized.

JJ Phillips

The Prodigal Son is the third book in The Graham Saga by Anna Belfrage. It is a historical fiction novel that features time traveler Alexandra Lind and Matthew Graham, her seventeenth century husband. This story focuses a lot of attention on Matthew and the different religious feelings during the time period. Their land is split due to religious strife. Charles II requires sworn allegiance to him and the Church of England. But despite this edict, many townspeople support the evicted Presbyterian ministers. Alex worries about the trouble Matthew will get into for supporting these ministers. Their marriage is under a heavy amount of pressure as Matthew puts his ministers before his own personal safety. Alex isn’t sure what to do when he risks his entire family’s safety to save his preacher, but she’s beginning to have enough. It is up to Matthew to decide how much he is ultimately willing to risk…and lose. And when is it enough?

Anna Belfrage is definitely a fine writer, and that is evident in The Prodigal Son. She has written a beautiful historical fiction piece that is full of gorgeous imagery, an excellent setting, and great description showing us the amazing world that Alex and Matthew live in. It is obvious that Belfrage has done her homework and her writing has the polished shine of a well-researched author. Anyone who is a fan of Scotland or history is sure to enjoy this book. They will get sucked into the drama and day-to-day business of this incredible family because the Grahams are not easy characters to forget about.

Renee Taylor

The Prodigal Son (The Graham Saga Book 3) by Anna Belfrage is a historical fiction piece that follows the violent and difficult lives of a family, Alex and Matthew Graham, throughout their time in 17th century Scotland. Matthew has returned to Scotland as a free man, after being rescued from his hellacious time as a slave across the ocean in Virginia. But now that he is back home, Matthew is being taken away again. This time he is under arrest for helping Presbyterian Ministers to hide from Charles II, who required everyone to swear allegiance to him and the Church of England. The punishment for this is death. Alex and Matthew must learn to rely on each other and their love for one another in order to survive these political and religious obstacles and keep their family safe during so much religious unrest.

The Prodigal Son is a beautiful story about honor and doing what is right, regardless of what is happening to those around you. Anna Belfrage does such a nice job of displaying this courage against tyranny. Her historical story feels so real and stays incredibly true to the time period that she writes about. Not only will readers be entertained, but they will be educated as well. Her characters stand out bright and sharp against this dark and violent background, and shine because she has crafted them so elegantly. They are the true stars of this story and will inspire readers for as many pages as there are to come.