My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this novel that the children are reading for school. I purchased the audiobook version with an Audible credit because it is an expensive audiobook, but it was worth joining audible for this book! The reader was fantastic: his Spanish name pronunciation, his Italian, and his English (of course) were spot on and enjoyable; his amusement when the story was amusing; his seriousness when serious were all excellent. I listened to most at 1.25 speed, and it was easy to follow.
The plot is ... a little unbelievable. So many things happen to poor Renzo and Lucia. The Betrothed illustrates many ills and ... many goods and ... how good can come from ill. There is a great deal of talk of God's goodness, that we should trust in him, that he wants what is best for his people. There is much talk of forgiveness and how and why we ought to fully forgive. There is a miraculous conversion that changes the whole direction of the story. There are poor clergy, but there are excellent, faithful men who serve Renzo and Lucia, neither failing to support when support is due nor to rebuke when needed. Renzo and Lucia's simple trust and faith in the face of disaster - Lucia's in particular - is an example to all.
As a Reformed Protestant Christian, I do take exception to some of the theological maneuvers including the Marian veneration in the book, but overall I found I could overlook some of that and glean the "mere Christian" message despite.
I would highly recommend this audiobook The trick is going back and marking the passages you may want to note or contemplate. The denouement is a little slow once you know how things will wrap up, but the final lines are worth it.
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