Review: “Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist” by Karen Prior

November 25, 2014

I recently had the chance to read Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist, by Karen Prior. This nonfiction book was released on October 28, 2014 by Thomas Nelson.

About this book (from the back cover):

With a foreword by Eric Metaxas, best-selling author of Bonhoeffer and Amazing Grace.

The enthralling biography of the woman writer who helped end the slave trade, changed Britain’s upper classes, and taught a nation how to read.

The history-changing reforms of Hannah More affected every level of 18th-Century British society through her keen intellect, literary achievements, collaborative spirit, strong Christian principles, and colorful personality. A woman without connections or status, More took the world of British letters by storm when she arrived in London from Bristol, becoming a best-selling author and acclaimed playwright and quickly befriending the author Samuel Johnson, the politician Horace Walpole, and the actor David Garrick. Yet she was also a leader in the Evangelical movement, using her cultural position and her pen to support the growth of education for the poor, the reform of morals and manners, and the abolition of Britain’s slave trade.

Fierce Convictions weaves together world and personal history into a stirring story of life that intersected with Wesley and Whitefield’s Great Awakening, the rise and influence of Evangelicalism, and convulsive effects of the French Revolution. A woman of exceptional intellectual gifts and literary talent, Hannah More was above all a person whose faith compelled her both to engage her culture and to transform it.

My Verdict:

This book first came to my attention when I read the fantastic review and author interview on The Gospel Coalition. Having just finished Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I was also interested to see how highly he endorsed Fierce Convictions in the foreword he has written for this book. I had a feeling I would enjoy this book, and I was right. Hannah More is one of those interesting people who went from extreme fame in her time, and just after, to basic oblivion in modern times. I am so glad that Prior’s biography brings her back into the spotlight. More, one of five sisters, had a broken engagement early in her life, and that event, while devastating at the time, made it possible for her to have the freedom to teach, write, and publish, and eventually have a huge impact on the abolition of slavery in England. It is a fantastic example of God taking a disappointment and turning it into the opportunity for greatness. While other reformers such as William Wilberforce worked to abolish slavery through political channels, More shows the effect a passionate individual can have simply by working to change popular opinion through available media and social outlets. Highly recommended.

If you’d like to check out Fierce Convictions, it is currently on sale for $14.44 for the Kindle version. If you prefer a physical copy the paperback version is currently on sale for $16.19. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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