This is a superb book by Professor Michael Haykin on eight Christian women selected from across the history of the Reformation and post-Reformation church. Each mini-biography is well researched, thoroughly referenced, and presented in an edifying and devotional way.
To read Haykin on any of these women — Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Baxter, Anne Dutton, Sarah Edwards, Anne Steele, Esther Edwards Burr, Ann Judson, Jane Austen — is both to be introduced to their own Christian context and to explore some rich insight connected with them.
For example, through Jane Grey, we explore justification by faith; through Sarah Edwards, the vision of God; through Ann Judson, missionary enterprise; and through Esther Burr, Christian friendship.
Particularly intriguing is the author’s inclusion of novelist Jane Austen. He supports his choice with some fascinating insights and quotations. In 1809 Jane said to her sister Cassandra, ‘I do not like the Evangelicals’, but by 1814 was able to tell her niece Fanny Knight, ‘I am by no means convinced that we ought not all to be Evangelicals, and am persuaded that they who are so from reason and feeling, must be happiest and safest’.
The all-round quality of this volume is also shown in the technical excellence of its production and in the excellent preface written by Professor Karen Swallow Prior.