To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold (photo by Jessica)by Jessica Elisabeth

Captain Ralph Percy, a Virginian settler with unwavering devotion to his duty. Lady Jocelyn Leigh, a haughty noblewoman thrust into the untamed American wilderness. Lord Carnal, a selfish and ruthless Englishman. Jeremy Sparrow, a preacher with strong arms and multi-faceted talents.

To Have and To Hold is a thrilling tale set in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1621. A boatload of women arrives on the Virginia shore, many of whom are destined to become settlers’ brides. Captain Percy reluctantly agrees to join the welcoming party, although he has no intention of taking a wife. However, that same night he returns home with a bride.

The next few months hold no resemblance to the smooth transition into married life that Percy expected. On the contrary, the seasoned soldier experiences the most dangerous and emotionally-taxing adventures he has ever encountered. As Percy discovers secrets regarding his wife’s past, a host of questions arises. Should he risk his life for a woman who not only lied to him, but also despises him? What is his duty as a husband, a soldier, and a gentleman?

Written in 1899 in first-person, 17thcentury style, the book proved to be much more exciting and fast-paced than I had expected. Shipwrecks, sword fights, and unexpected twists make this poetically-titled book enjoyable for guys as well (including a certain dad who wishes to remain nameless!). The romantic story is based on deep, enduring love rather than fleeting emotions.

To any lover of history, romance, or adventure, I would highly recommend this book. Mary Johnston created a classic in To Have and To Hold, a timeless tale of chivalry and courage.

“I love thee,” I said. “The song is old, but it is sweet. See! I wear thy color, my lady.” (To Have and To Hold, page 409)

Jessica is a sixteen-year-old homeschool student who loves the life God has given her. She enjoys playing the harp and piano, learning languages, experimenting in the kitchen, public speaking, cross-stitching, hunting, watching football, reading long old books, and playing with kids — especially her nieces and nephew.

(Editor’s Note: Visit Books Should Be Free for free audio and electronic text versions of To Have and To Hold.)


  1. Thank you eversomuch for your recommendation of this classic, sis. Merritt and I so enjoyed listening to it!

    And now we’re well into The Scarlet Pimpernel, also at your recommendation. Though we fell asleep during chapter 6 multiple times, we’ve since made it past chapter 6 and can’t fall asleep until we turn it off. 🙂 (The Librivox audio version is read by the same girl who reads the Anne books. Not only is she an excellent reader, but in one she has a French accent, in the other she doesn’t! Knew that you, as a student of French, would appreciate that tidbit. 😉 Her website is at

  2. I put this on my PBS wish list; thanks for the review, Jessica!

  3. I LOVE this book! However I would make one note. When Vision Forum (the book pictured above) reprinted this book they carefully edited out some bad language and some unnecessarily gory scenes. So I would HIGHLY recommend if you are going to read this book, to go ahead and purchase it from Vision Forum. If you get it anywhere for free, it will not be edited. 🙂 I learned the hard way.

    Thanks to VF, the book is free of its unnecessary stuff and a wonderful read for any family. I highly, highly recommend it!

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