Fierce Convictions {a review and giveaway}

Fierce Convictions {a review and giveaway}

Fierce Convictions

Fierce Convictions You may remember Karen Swallow Prior as the author of a beautiful book on the way that classic literature has shaped her life and faith, Booked, which consumed my imagination. As a biographer of Hannah More, she has left another lingering impression in my mind.

Who is Hannah More, you ask? I’m not surprised that the name is unfamiliar to you. I first heard of her through interesting tweets Karen shared as she was immersed in research for this book. You can imagine my interest and surprise as Karen introduced a complex and talented woman to me.

Hannah was a force in the abolition movement in England, alongside William Wilberforce and John Newton (the author of the song “Amazing Grace”), among others. She put her pen to work, composing poetry highlighting the humanity of slaves and the horrors inflicted upon them.

Along with her sisters, she founded several schools over the course of her life. She was passionate about education, especially for women and the poor.

She wrote in many different genres, but she was always a writer. From poems to plays, essays to pamphlets (including some of the first attempts at popular Christian fiction), and a novel, she remained prolific over the course of her life.

Through it all, she was undergirded by a strong faith which motivated everything she did.

Karen handles the subject matter with grace and light hands. She often lets More speak for herself, encouraging the reader to see the light and the dark of her personality and actions. I have read many biographies which allow for little nuance in their subject, either demonizing them, or putting them on a pedestal. Karen does neither. Though it is clear that she admires Hannah, it is also clear that she is firmly human. I think that this makes me like her better.

The very scope of Hannah’s life makes me tired. She seemed never to be idle, always involved in a quest for justice, fueled by a desire to act out her faith in the world. I found her story inspiring, and hopeful. With many years between us, I am able to see the seeds of change that she planted, and the ways that they have come to fruition.

As I continue to live out my life as a single woman, it is heartening, but unusual, for me to read a biography of a woman who was single, successful, and fulfilled, throughout the course of her life. Hannah More was all of these things, and that makes me appreciate her story all the more.

I find myself fascinated with the lives of those who have gone before, perhaps especially with women. I love the little peeks into their correspondence, daily lives, and relationships. I sometimes feel less alone knowing that the same sort of things that I say, hope for, and seek to accomplish were shared by those who have preceded me. Although we are not fighting the same battles, and we would not do so in the same way, I find much to appreciate about a woman who understood the power of the pen as a way to motivate people and deepen spiritual devotion.

I understand why Hannah captured and held Karen’s attention, and I expect that she will catch yours as well.

I am honored to have been a small part of this book’s journey to completion (it’s my first appearance in an acknowledgments section), and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to give away five copies of this rich and multifaceted work to you. I know that you will enjoy making Hannah More’s acquaintance, and I hope that you find her life story as engaging and inspiring as I did. You can enter to win one below.

You can find out more about Fierce Convictions (and purchase it for your very own) here.

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