Harriet Beecher Stowe's domestic comedy is a powerful examination of slavery, Protestant theology, and gender differences in early America.
First published in 1859, and set in 18th-century Newport, Rhode Island, The Minister's Wooing is a historical novel and domestic comedy that satirizes Calvinism, celebrating its intellectual and moral integrity while critiquing its rigid theology.
Mary Scudder lives with her widowed mother in a modest middle-class home. Dr. Hopkins, a Calvinist minister who boards with them, is dedicated to helping the slaves arriving at Newport and calls for the abolition of slavery. The pious Mary admires him but is also in love with the passionate but skeptical James Marvyn who, hungry for adventure, joins the crew of a ship setting sail for exotic destinations. When James is presumed lost at sea, Mary fears for his soul, and consents to marry the good Doctor.
With important insights on slavery, history, and gender, as well as characters based on historical figures, The Minister's Wooing is, as Susan Harris notes in her Introduction, "an historical novel, like Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter or Catharine Sedgwick's Hope Leslie or A New England Tale; it is an attempt through fiction to create a moral, intellectual, and affective history for New England."
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sentimental romance blends fiction and morality, social criticism and spiritual thought, all while painting a picture of late 19th-century New England, filled with history and characters drawn from real life. The story concerns Marie Scudder and her choice of a husband. The Minister Samuel Hopkins is an honorable man, an abolitionist and religious reformer, but Mary’s heart lies with James, a young man presumed lost at sea. Melbra Sibrel gives a lyrically paced performance that much prose of the time lends itself, making this important historical document and moving romance a joy to listen to.
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Wonderful book, lousy narrator
See review by "Jeff" on 6-01-10
Theology, romance, historical.
Mary, the heroine, wrestled with her conscience and culture heroically.
Someone who actually loves the subject matter or could respect and understand the heart of the work. She really seemed to despise this book.
When Mary makes a marriage decision.
This is one of my favorite books. I wish there was another recording that I could fully enjoy. The content fully carries my 5 star rating and causes me to not allow the narrator to rob listeners of a great book. Jeff's review expressed my thoughts perfectly.