Journal

Review: Honor by Lyn Cote

Once in awhile, I’ve been known to ignore the synopsis of a book. Even more frequently, by the time I pick up a book to read, I’ve forgotten what it was about. This was the circumstance under which I read Honor, by Lyn Cote. When I was browsing books to review, the book sounded good so I requested. But when I read it, I couldn’t remember what it was about. Then something occurred within the pages that surprised me. One of the main characters was deaf.

I loved reading a novel with a main character who had a physical struggle- most of the time, these characteristics are relegated to minor characters. Quite often, it seems like the problems that the main characters have are personalities or fears. In my own dabbling in writing, I have to admit that as a truth for my main characters. Honor had me thinking though about how much of a struggle it would be to write a deaf character. For a person who exists in a silent world to also exist in a format in which dialogue is so important has to present an interesting dilemma. Well, I admire Lyn Cote’s ability to bring Samuel to life, and to hear more of my thoughts on the matter, you’ll have to read my review below.

Interested in winning a copy of Prelude for a Lord? Click here for details.

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**I received a free copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review**

When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation—and the slaves she hoped to free—and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child. A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly—though secretly—involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife? Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.

From the first page, Honor drew me in. In a contradiction to her name, Honor is viewed quite disfavorably by the society in which she grows up, prompting her to move to a new area. There it seems that everything that could leave her further destitute will happen. With every page and every event, this novel moved beyond my expectations.

The characters in this novel are extremely well developed. The emotions that Honor and Samuel have for each other feel quite realistic given each of the situations that they find themselves in. Each time one of them reacted with anger or frustration, I could relate because in my mind, I would react the same way.

As independent characters, Honor and Samuel definitely have their own passions driving them. For Honor it is her strong desire to actively work to free slaves. For Samuel, it is to maintain his privacy and not be the focus of people’s attention because of his inability to hear. Sometimes their passions help their budding feelings for one another, and at other times, like a good book should, those passions create tension and problems. But I enjoyed seeing their relationships develop.

I was blown away by the way Samuel came across on the pages. To write dialogue for him, there had to be constant references of signing and gesturing. Lyn Cote made sure to never let the reader forget that Samuel was deaf. But these “dialogue tags” never became redundant but rather added to the mental movie screen playing in my mind.

With every chapter, Lyn Cote included many scenes that would have taken up the bulk of many other novels. However, she used these scenes to develop tension in the story and further the development of characters. I had a hard time putting this novel down, and at one point was surprised (and disappointed because it was so good) that I found my self over halfway through the book.

If you enjoy novels with abolition as part of the storyline, novels that have characters who identify as Quakers, or just a good love story, I would suggest you consider reading Honor by Lyn Cote.

I would love to hear from you! Are there any books that you have enjoyed in which a main character had a disability or physical handicap?

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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2 thoughts on “Review: Honor by Lyn Cote

  1. I read a book once where the heroine was blind. I don’t think it mentioned that in the description so it was a surprise to me as I read further into chapter 1. It was good and very different from what I’m used to. It was a plesant surprise. 🙂

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    1. I loved this book with a deaf main character! It was a nice change… a blind main character would be interesting as well. I would imagine a lot of description of scent, sound, and touch… probably be a bit more difficult to write as well.

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