Book Review: The Shenandoah Road

The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening

by Lynne Basham Tagawa

About the Book:

“Lynne Tagawa transports readers into the faith and hope, and sorrows and fears of 18th century colonial America. While other books feature the raw grit of frontier colonial life, this book goes deeper and reveals the heart.” – Douglas Bond

John Russell’s heart aches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter’s sake. At first he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn’t quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her?

Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her?

“Raw, realistic, and historically packed, this story will make you think. If you enjoy stories with deep theological themes, you will enjoy this.” – Amber Schamel

Purchase link:

My Thoughts:

The Shenandoah Road will take you on a journey back into the early days of American history before the Revolution. Back to the days when the preaching of man like George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards shook the very foundations of protestant doctrine and thinking. This is where we find our characters John and Abigail. While this book would be considered a historical romance, the couple does get married and start a life together, the romance is over-shadowed compared to the redemption storyline of Abigail. Sermons and Scripture alike will challenge her thinking and will bring about regeneration.

I have never found a book too “preachy” for me and this book is no exception, but I will say that for many people this book would be considered “preachy” as Abigail’s salvation is first and foremost, really more the main plot than a sub-plot.

The pacing is slow and filled with description. I will say that you will feel like you are there right along with the characters as they travel the Shenandoah Road. It is easy to mentally-picture the scenery and the historical lifestyle.

While the book is a “romance,” I found the relationship between John and Abigail odd. They marry with a short courtship and neither is “in love” with the other to start with. John is still struggling to get over the death of his first wife and find peace with his decision to take a new wife, and yet, they consummated their marriage… even while sleeping on the ground surrounded by the rest of their party. I was bothered by the fact that he would make love to Abigail at the same time as he wasn’t even sure if he emotionally loved her. (This is not seen, nor is it barely mentioned, only in that John is thinking about how his wife could be pregnant.)

One of my favorite elements to the story is where the characters must forgive someone who has done them much wrong. I can’t say any more or it would spoil the rest of the story.

Readers who enjoy books with historic and doctrinal depth will enjoy The Shenandoah Road.

About the Author:

Lynne B. Tagawa is married and the mother of four sons. She attended the University of Hawaii where she met her husband and obtained a degree in secondary education. The Tagawas live in Texas where she teaches part-time.

She writes fiction, educational materials, and Christian devotionals; she is especially inspired by the lives of great men and women of faith.

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