Stephanie Grace Whitson has become one of my favorite historical fiction authors in the past year, and her latest book, A Most Unsuitable Match, did not disappoint. By the end of the first two chapters, the main characters Fannie and Sam had drawn me in and made me care…and as we writers know, that is what makes a reader finish a story. ☺
It’s a tale of two rather insignificant people, at least in the eyes of the world. Fannie Rousseau, raised in privilege yet always longing for love, is orphaned at eighteen. Left to fend for herself with only her faithful mentor Hannah for guidance and support, she embarks on a perilous journey to Montana Territory in search of the aunt she never knew existed. Meanwhile, Samuel Beck is on a journey, also—a quest to escape the specter of his father’s memory and find forgiveness and the sister he has lost. Fannie and Sam’s paths merge on a Missouri River steamboat, and soon both encounter complications they never bargained for…including each other.
I think what touched me most about A Most Unsuitable Match was the very “unsuitableness” of the characters. Not unsuitable in the way I often think of it—neither Fannie nor Sam have scandalous personal pasts or outrageous secret sins. But they are ordinary people, unremarkable, and unsuitable in their own eyes for anything great…or even for each other. Yet, as Stephanie helped me realize in her author’s note, they learn they can do great things, because they have a great God, a God who only asks that His children be willing to let Him use them. And He does use them, as they learn to let Him direct their paths.
I, too, often feel “unsuitable” for many things…for writing a book, for blogging ☺, for many of the roles I dream of bearing, even sometimes for loving and serving my family right now. Maybe that’s why the Lord often has to remind me that our adequacy is from God and not from ourselves, and that since His “power is perfected in weakness,” then “when I am weak, then I am strong.” I’m grateful He used this story to remind me, too.
While Fannie and Sam may have seemed a most unsuitable match, this book makes a most delightful summer read (or a read in any season!). So if you love well-written historical fiction, find a copy. If you haven’t met Stephanie Grace Whitson yet, you’re in for a treat. ☺