Safely returned from an involuntary stay in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition.
In Ayrshire, people close ranks around their evicted Presbyterian ministers. But disobedience comes at a high price, and Alex becomes increasingly nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his support of the clandestine ministers – foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden.
Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and ministers before his own safety, he puts their marriage under severe strain.
The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn’t entirely sure this is a good thing.
Things are brought to a head when Matthew places all their lives in the balance to save his dear preacher from the dragoons.
How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose?
I have intended to read a book from The Graham Saga for some time but I chose this particular book because of its inclusion of the story of the Scottish Covenanters who risked death and persecution to maintain their Presbyterian faith, especially as this included my own ancestors.
Although it would be best to read this saga from Book One, I was quickly able to enter into the storyline by the author’s reference to relevant parts of the backstory. Essentially this is an alternative Outlander story; in 2002 Alexandra has been thrown back into 17th century Scotland where she meets handsome, brave Matthew Graham. In The Prodigal Son we find Alex struggling with the physical demands of life as a mother on a Scottish farm, passionately in love with her husband Matthew but increasingly worried by his reckless support of Alexander Peden, “the Prophet,” who is sought by the English soldiers of Charles II.
This complex plot highlights the clash of opinions about the behaviour of men and women in a marriage between a 21st century woman and a 17th century man but it also shows the power of love and understanding. There are interesting discussions about beliefs between Alex and her husband and sister-in-law, and her difficulty in coping with mistreatment by the soldiers is accentuated by her modern background.
I found this timeslip story fascinating and now wish to read the first book in the series to discover some of the mysterious events which brought Matthew and Alex together.
The Prodigal Son on Amazon UK