Genre

Historcial Fiction, Romance

Audience

15 & Up

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2018

Themes

Slavery, Justice, Vocations, Religious Life, Marriage, Education, Family, Love, Courage   

Reviewed by

A.R.K. Watson

Brigid McGinnis is a normal Southern girl in Dallas, Georgia. She manages the household while her father works in Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s cabinet. One day, an injured Confederate soldier, Dominic is found on her estate, with no memory of how he got there.

A Life Such as Heaven Intended is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the Civil War. The drama of the Confederate South, along with the budding romance between Brigid and Dominic, create something worthy of an HBO mini-series. 

One aspect that makes the drama compelling is Brigid’s character arc. She’s a surprisingly complex character. She desires an education and pursues religious life in the hopes of furthering it. However, she never questions the fact of her neighbors having slaves or even if slavery is right or wrong. She saw it as “just the way things are.” This all changes when she discovers runaway slaves hiding out on her property. 

Even though Brigid comes off as condescending to the escaped slaves at first, she is called out on her behavior. The slaves are greatly fleshed out, being educated in their Bible and being more aware of the realities of this world than Brigid is. Brigid manages to do the right thing and helps bring the slaves to freedom. She also finds out that the religious order she planned on joining is helping with the Underground Railroad movement. (Side note: The nuns in this book are the coolest fictional nuns I’ve ever seen since The Sound of Music.) 

The romance between Brigid and Dominic is also very sweet. It develops over a long period of time, with Brigid nursing Dominic back to health. Dominic feels like he belongs with her, which is a huge deal considering he was orphaned shortly after immigrating from Germany. There’s also hints of him having PTSD, and it’s managed well. 

I recommend this novel to people who like realistic historical fiction, especially stories that integrate real history, such as the history behind the Sisters of Mercy. (Although there is no evidence that the Sisters of Mercy helped out with the Underground Railroad, they are a real religious order.) I also recommend this to fans of historical dramas. There is a bit of a Gone with the Wind vibe here.

Servant of the Suffering: Rose Hawthorne by Voyage Comics

The great-great-great-granddaughter of a Salem witch trial judge is on her way to Catholic sainthood.

The Glaston Secret by Donal Anthony Foley

Can three modern teens and a little black dog rescue a group of fleeing refugees in Nazi-occupied France?

The Needle of Avocation by G.M. Baker

A match no one wants, except perhaps the groom. A mystery that could destroy everything.

Secrets: The Truth Will Out By Verity Lucia

Two little lines are about to change Elise’s perfect teen world.

The Journal by C.E. Rivetto

An ancient journal. A family secret. A soul to save.

I, Claudia By Lin Wilder

Will the extraordinary events lead the wife of Pontius Pilate, Claudia Procula, to the Son of God?

The Singer not the Song by Audrey Erskine Lindop (AKA The Bandit and the Priest)

A priest and a bandit king face off for the fate of a small Mexican town in this thrilling western adventure.

North Pacific: A Story of Life, Love, Suffering, and Grace by Michael Steffan

Joseph & Miku’s love was already illegal. Then WWII began. Now home, disabled, and questioning God’s love, he still searches for her.

Brothers by Corinna Turner

To fulfill his dream and become a priest, a young man must sneak across borders and find his way to freedom.

Doctors, Assassins, and Other Tyrants by Katherine Campbell

Kidnapped princes, delusional assassins, and a dim-witted unicorn. What could possibly go wrong?

Books to Pray With, March: For the New Martyrs

Every month in 2024 Pope Francis has a monthly prayer intention. Every month we will release a book list that will draw your heart and soul deeper into prayer on these topics.

St. Agnes and the Selkie by G. M. Baker

Cast up by the sea. Courted by the king. Followed by danger.

Messina: Book 1, The Casa Bella Chronicles By Liz Galvano

Romance blossoms in the midst of chaos. A historical romance set in 1901 Italy as a young American doctor proves herself to the haughty Italian lord who has forgotten his faith.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

A young slave girl in ancient Korea investigates a murder & meets real life Korean Catholic saints

Bonvida’s Awakening, by C.D. Smith

Can Atticus live up to the legacy of his birthright? An adventure fantasy novel for teens about good and evil, friendship, and identity.

The Rescue Sisters Series Adventures by Karina Fabian

Kickass Catholic Nuns in Space- what more do you need?!

Voice in the Storm By: Eric Thomas Ruthford

Four young teens find their voice in the storm while navigating the humorous social complexities of summer camp.

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

Would you die for a flower? Would you kill for one? Providence, romance, and danger rule in this tense, heart-warming prison romance.

Summer at West Castle By Theresa Linden

Is God really leading Caitlyn to bad boy Jarret?

A Truly Raptor-ous Welcome by Corinna Turner

There’s no such thing as a normal day on a dino-farm. But can Darryl and Harry’s new city-slicker stepmom make it through the first day without fainting?