A historical and biographical love story of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon, written in a thematic rather than chronological approach is how Ray Rhodes Jr. describes his style in this book.With this easy and captivating delivery, the reader can get a deeper look into the life and marriage of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon. This book could be considered a companion to his previous book Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon; Wife of Charles Spurgeon; or it could be a standalone book. I read this as a standalone book.
The book gives an overview of their timeline in history and then breaks down various themes into ten chapters. As a pastor’s wife, the relationship between the “Prince of Preachers” and his wife has always been of interest to me. I often am reminded of a quote by Susannah that states, “She wisely reasoned that my chosen husband was no ordinary man, that his whole life was absolutely dedicated to God and His service, and that I must never, never hinder him by trying to put myself first in his heart.” (quoted from Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon; Wife of Charles Spurgeon) I have tried to keep these words in my heart as I help and encourage my husband in ministry. I enjoyed seeing parallels in my marriage through reading about some of their interactions and referrals to each other.
My favorite chapter in the book would be chapter three. It highlights their relationship with ministry well. It showed their sacrifices and support of each other in their ministry positions. The chapter even sheds some light on how far this went on Susannah’s part (being deathly ill but urging Charles to stay and preach at Plymouth). One thing I appreciated, Rhodes proposes that while some decisions between the two may not always be understood in today’s context, it is fair to keep in mind the time they lived in and with the care they had for each other that their decisions weren’t taken lightly. It was as if Rhodes knew the reader’s natural reaction to the detailed history he tells.
Another aspect I liked about The book was the large amount of references and quotes from their letters between the two, poems written, and even photos of places and documents. I think this added a nice layer to the overall reading experience.
All in all, I would recommend this book. I would guide married Christian couples towards this book for encouragement and examples of a godly marriage. Any history buff or anyone generally interested in the Spurgeons would find this as a great resource as well. I look forward to checking out Rhodes’ other works to see some overlap and connection between the two.
This book is readily available from any major book retailer. (Links below)
* I received this book free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. *