They were hounded by the king’s government, berated by the established church, scorned by society, hated for their piety by those who preferred carnal pursuits. Believing God said, “Come out from them and be separate,” they left England and settled in Holland. Hearing God’s call to be “strangers and pilgrims on the Earth,” they braved the rigors of the New World to create a place where their descendents could worship in peace and freedom. Instead of landing in Virginia as planned, they were blown by a storm north to New England where half their number died the first winter of “general sickness”. But they held fast to their faith in God and His Word.
This novel tells the story of a young man employed by a powerful lord to infiltrate the Separatists and hunt down the location of Elder William Brewster. That preacher had printed a sermon that annoyed James I, who wanted his head.
Gilbert Winslow spurned his studies for Anglican priesthood in order to find success with Lord North and to win the hand of his lovely daughter, Cicely. He turned his charm on pretty Humility Cooper, the Separatists’ link with Brewster, and made her fall in love with him.
When the two of them go to fetch the preacher for the trip on the Mayflower, two events created an estrangement between them. A rival for Cicely’s hand revealed Gilbert’s treachery and Gilbert killed the man to prevent Brewster’s capture. Wounded in the sword fight, Gilbert was taken onto the Mayflower and became not only a wanted man but also a valuable asset to the colony. Then things got complicated.
On the other hand, keeping to the traditions and beliefs of romance novels, he argued that Humility could not make a loving marriage with another Pilgrim because she was still in love with Gilbert. I disagree with that idea.
I recommend this first story in the author’s House of Winslow series for its illustration of faith in the midst of persecution, its exposition of a man’s honorable character, and the twists and turns of its romantic arc.
Are your beliefs more in line with society’s beliefs and expectations or with God’s as spelled out in His Word?
Do your actions show adherence to God’s Truth despite the trouble it makes for you?
Are you ready to oppose even the government if it threatens your freedom as a follower of God?