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Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon

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The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon. While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie.  Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even while deali The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon. While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie.  Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even while dealing with serious health issues, she administered a book fund for poor pastors, edited and published her husband’s sermons and other writings, led a pastor’s aid ministry, wrote five books, made her home a hub of hospitality, and was instrumental in planting a church. And as her own writing attests, she was also a warm, charming, and fascinating woman. Now, for the first time, Susie brings this vibrant woman’s story to modern readers. Ray Rhodes Jr. examines Susannah’s life, showing that she was not only the wife of London’s most famous preacher, but also a woman who gave all she had in grateful service to the Lord. Susie is an inspiring and encouraging account of a truly remarkable woman of faith that will delight Spurgeon devotees and fans of Christian biographies alike. “I am writing in my husband’s study, where he thought, and prayed, and wrote. Every inch of the place is sacred ground. Everything remains precisely as he left it. His books (now my most precious possessions), stand in shining rows upon the shelves, in exactly the order in which he placed them, and one might almost fancy the room was ready and waiting for its master. But oh! That empty chair! That great portrait over the door! The strange, solemn silence, which pervades the place now that he is no longer on earth! I kneel sometimes by his chair, and laying my head on the cushioned arms, which so long supported his dear form, I pour out my grief before the Lord, and tell Him again that though I am left alone, yet I know that ‘He hath done all things well’…”


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The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon. While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie.  Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even while deali The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon. While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie.  Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even while dealing with serious health issues, she administered a book fund for poor pastors, edited and published her husband’s sermons and other writings, led a pastor’s aid ministry, wrote five books, made her home a hub of hospitality, and was instrumental in planting a church. And as her own writing attests, she was also a warm, charming, and fascinating woman. Now, for the first time, Susie brings this vibrant woman’s story to modern readers. Ray Rhodes Jr. examines Susannah’s life, showing that she was not only the wife of London’s most famous preacher, but also a woman who gave all she had in grateful service to the Lord. Susie is an inspiring and encouraging account of a truly remarkable woman of faith that will delight Spurgeon devotees and fans of Christian biographies alike. “I am writing in my husband’s study, where he thought, and prayed, and wrote. Every inch of the place is sacred ground. Everything remains precisely as he left it. His books (now my most precious possessions), stand in shining rows upon the shelves, in exactly the order in which he placed them, and one might almost fancy the room was ready and waiting for its master. But oh! That empty chair! That great portrait over the door! The strange, solemn silence, which pervades the place now that he is no longer on earth! I kneel sometimes by his chair, and laying my head on the cushioned arms, which so long supported his dear form, I pour out my grief before the Lord, and tell Him again that though I am left alone, yet I know that ‘He hath done all things well’…”

30 review for Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ray Rhodes

    Since I am the author, this review is not objective. However, I love the story of Susie Spurgeon and I hope that many will get to know here via this book. Thanks for reading. I have read it at least 10 times and am often moved to tears of conviction and joy at her life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Geaney (Christian Shelf-Esteem)

    Wow! What an example of biblical womanhood and marital unity. This is a love story through and through, for Susie's love for God, Charles, and the Church seemed inexhaustible. Women young and old will be moved by the passion and compassion of this remarkable lady. I'll be recommending her biography to individual readers and Christian book clubs alike.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Yibbie

    I am really sorry to have to rate a book about a truly inspiring woman so low. The author was very careful to show Susie, in all her strengths and weaknesses, and to give full glory to God, as she would have wished. I did learn a lot about her through this book, but it just wasn’t an enjoyable read. It contains a lot of information, but it reads like a series of compiled notes. It’s choppy. Thoughts don’t flow smoothly even inside a paragraph. Then, the whole book is also choppy. The author pic I am really sorry to have to rate a book about a truly inspiring woman so low. The author was very careful to show Susie, in all her strengths and weaknesses, and to give full glory to God, as she would have wished. I did learn a lot about her through this book, but it just wasn’t an enjoyable read. It contains a lot of information, but it reads like a series of compiled notes. It’s choppy. Thoughts don’t flow smoothly even inside a paragraph. Then, the whole book is also choppy. The author picks a project or an event and follows it out to the end of her life, and then returns to it over and over again in the following chapters. Even as he is describing a scene he repeats himself, stating a thought numerous ways. I found it hard to keep interested and a bit hard to follow. It had good information, but it was not compiled in an easily readable way. I received this as a free ARC through NetGalley and Moody Publishers. No favorable review was required. It was my pleasure to provide my honest opinions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jesvin Jose

    An Exemplary life! The biography of “Susie” (Susannah Spurgeon) is a well-researched gem by Ray Rhodes. The writing is a stirring and unflattering portrait of a woman who devoted her life to serve the Lord and her husband. Ray makes sure that he doesn’t glorify his subject matter so much that it takes away from the glory of God. Ray also doesn’t hide Susie’s weaknesses and struggles. As I read the story, I was truly touched by the robust love that Charles and Susie shared, which was undergirded b An Exemplary life! The biography of “Susie” (Susannah Spurgeon) is a well-researched gem by Ray Rhodes. The writing is a stirring and unflattering portrait of a woman who devoted her life to serve the Lord and her husband. Ray makes sure that he doesn’t glorify his subject matter so much that it takes away from the glory of God. Ray also doesn’t hide Susie’s weaknesses and struggles. As I read the story, I was truly touched by the robust love that Charles and Susie shared, which was undergirded by their steadfast love for Christ. This strong anchor saw them through trials (and how many were the deep sorrows of their heart!) - especially the Surrey Music Hall tragedy, the Downgrade controversy and their physical ailments. I even shed a tear as I read about Charles’ death in 1892 leaving behind his wife of 36 years. Susie went on to live for 11 more years and she remained faithful to the God who sustained them for so long. The name of “Susie” is indeed “mostly tucked away” beneath the life and ministry of her famous husband Charles Haddon Spurgeon and her story deserves to be told. Susie’s profound love for Jesus (her life message was “Look to Jesus”), her joyful sacrifices for her husband’s ministry, her unwavering faithfulness in training her twin sons in the gospel (her husband was away most of the time), her unceasing love for the Scriptures, her deep drinking from the wells of many books, her resolute commitment to helping poor pastors and their families with books, her persevering faith and untiring devotion to her work despite incessant physical suffering – are all exemplary! I loved the way God used her despite her physical limitations and how she remained faithful in ministry even after her beloved’s death. Ray Rhodes writes, "She was a widow with physical limitations…And yet, it doesn’t seem that she gave much attention to any obstacles that might stand in her way." Spurgeon’s work and ministry that pointed to Christ became known primarily because of the untiring efforts of his dear wife. It is true, as Ray writes, that "Charles Haddon Spurgeon's name became known, not just because he was a powerful preacher, but because his books and sermons were distributed widely in Britain, and, indeed, throughout the world by Mrs. Spurgeon's Book Fund". The story of Susie is a story of faithfulness during trials. She left a rich legacy by teaching us how to suffer well. I am glad that this book was written and I am also glad I read it. Ray is right: “If Susie Spurgeon remained faithful to God, even beneath the presses of affliction and instead of complaining served God, then by God’s grace, we can also.” May we learn from her exemplary life!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I give 4-1/2 stars. Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon. Fascinating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I loved it! Reading about her love and trust for the Lord makes me want to love and trust Jesus more, and what better compliment can I give than that!

  7. 5 out of 5

    NinaB

    This is an informative book about Susie Spurgeon, the famous preacher’s beloved wife. I enjoyed reading more about her beginnings, family, marriage and life after Charles. She was a long-suffering wife who endured physical pain for most of her adult life. All the while, she was a mother to twin boys and a help-meet to one of the “celebrity pastors” of their time. The book introduced me to their unique marriage that left me wondering what constituted a “good” marriage back then. For example, she This is an informative book about Susie Spurgeon, the famous preacher’s beloved wife. I enjoyed reading more about her beginnings, family, marriage and life after Charles. She was a long-suffering wife who endured physical pain for most of her adult life. All the while, she was a mother to twin boys and a help-meet to one of the “celebrity pastors” of their time. The book introduced me to their unique marriage that left me wondering what constituted a “good” marriage back then. For example, she was often too ill to hear her husband preach, so was she part of the church body at all? As a pastor’s wife, I cannot imagine not being a regular part of my husband’s ministry. Charles often went on extended trips, but left his ill wife at home. Again, I cannot imagine my husband going on vacation alone, without me, especially if I’m sick myself. Perhaps, these were standard practice back then, or that I just don’t fully understand the extent of their physical suffering. Regardless, if you want to know more about Susannah Spurgeon or have benefited from her husband’s writings like I have, I highly recommend this book to you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christina Boodhan Juras

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. I am always interested in reading about the woman behind the man: in this case, Susie is the wife of revered preacher Charles Spurgeon and the book covers her life and her initial reluctance to follow religion. Unfortunately, I am struggling with this due to the poor formatting. I realize that they don't want the book to be circulated in advance of its release date but the formatting was a real distraction. I hope I will be able to finish it in time I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. I am always interested in reading about the woman behind the man: in this case, Susie is the wife of revered preacher Charles Spurgeon and the book covers her life and her initial reluctance to follow religion. Unfortunately, I am struggling with this due to the poor formatting. I realize that they don't want the book to be circulated in advance of its release date but the formatting was a real distraction. I hope I will be able to finish it in time to write a more extensive review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    To read Ray Rhodes’ recent biography, Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, is to witness a life of utter surrender to service. As much as Susie was able, she offered herself fully and wholeheartedly to supporting her famous husband’s ministry. She made an early vow to “never hinder him in his work for the Lord, never try to keep him from fulfilling his engagements, never plead my own ill-health as a reason why he should remain at home with me” (62). Rhodes mines every possible source To read Ray Rhodes’ recent biography, Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, is to witness a life of utter surrender to service. As much as Susie was able, she offered herself fully and wholeheartedly to supporting her famous husband’s ministry. She made an early vow to “never hinder him in his work for the Lord, never try to keep him from fulfilling his engagements, never plead my own ill-health as a reason why he should remain at home with me” (62). Rhodes mines every possible source to provide a well-rounded view of Susie’s faith and times. Seeing how much she dedicated her life to her husband’s career, one has to wonder just what his ministry would have been without her. Her ill-health would remain an issue most of her life, but as far as her biographer can tell, she kept her vow to the uttermost. They endured long separations to allow him to teach and then to travel to France where he went frequently to recover his health. She read commentaries aloud to him to help him prepare, prayed for him earnestly, and encouraged him constantly. During the years when she was more or less housebound, her relentless efforts to get his sermons and books into the hands of poor pastors through her Book Fund ensured that his excellent preaching would be even more widely influential. She was a woman of talent and force, and she offered all of it to her husband, and ultimately, to her Lord. Rhodes weaves in glimpses of their love story throughout the book. In many ways, this book shows how a generous husband and wife can enrich one another. He maintains a steady focus on Susie even when including pertinent details about Charles’ career, and often celebrates their shared sensibilities. For example, he summarizes a great deal of their writing by pointing out how “Charles and Susie perceived messages in flowers, gentle flowing water, the cool breeze on a fall morning, and in the parting of trees that allow glimpses of the blue sky above. Nature provided sermons and stories, readily employable as descriptors of Christ, the gospel, and the Christian life” (194-195). Reading this biography as a modern pastor’s wife was intimidating. Her devotion is admirable but sounds unattainable. (I was grateful when Rhodes pointed out that she likely had up to a dozen staff working at their home, freeing her to do her work on the Book Fund.) Mostly, I found myself fascinated by her Victorian sensibility and how it contrasted with our era. I winced at her idealized description of a grateful, poverty-stricken pastor receiving her books: “He has broken down completely now, the tears are running down his cheeks, but they are rills from the fountain of joy, not of sorrow, and will refresh and heal his spirit. The Lord Himself has spoken to him, an angel has strengthened him…” (142). No doubt, her heart was dedicated to ensuring the gospel went forth but she did seem rather out of touch with the day-to-day demands of ordinary ministry life. Her life seems to provide an ideal of the Victorian era pastor’s wife, but I fear seeing her dedication as the standard would exhaust my modern-day peers. Rhodes honors her finest attributes but provides the proper context for her life story that helps modern readers to better understand the Victorian era in which she lived. Susie is a thorough, engaging, and readable biography and I, for one, hope to see more biographies like this one that let us into the marriages between renowned pastors’ and their wives.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Montgomery

    Susie is a very interesting read about the life of Susannah Spurgeon. I knew very little of Susie prior to reading this book; however, after reading it I feel very well acquainted with this powerful woman. The story flows quite smoothly and I found the book to be very easy to read. I received a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carol Arnold

    Excellent book. I am so inspired by the lives of these Christians who have gone before us. Just to see the way they lived, the way they prayed, the way they raised their children, the books they read! In short, the way they lived out their Christian lives! It is such an inspiration!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    I admit that I knew nothing about Susie or her husband before requesting this book. I found this book to be extremely interesting and you can tell the author did their research. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how Susie came into her own and out of her husband’s shadow.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren DuPrez

    When I saw that Ray Rhodes Jr. had written a book about Susannah Spurgeon, I jumped at the opportunity to join the launch team. I honestly didn't know anything about the life of Susie other than that she was adored by her husband Charles and she loved the Lord. I was excited to learn about the wife of the famous "prince of preachers" and Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, truly exceeded my expectations. Susie is the only book of its kind that gives a truly comprehensive look at Sus When I saw that Ray Rhodes Jr. had written a book about Susannah Spurgeon, I jumped at the opportunity to join the launch team. I honestly didn't know anything about the life of Susie other than that she was adored by her husband Charles and she loved the Lord. I was excited to learn about the wife of the famous "prince of preachers" and Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, truly exceeded my expectations. Susie is the only book of its kind that gives a truly comprehensive look at Susie's life. I was encouraged to learn about how Susie was a woman who strove to put Christ first in every area of her life. My heart was also blessed to learn about how she cared for her husband who was a famous pastor with a very demanding schedule. Although Susie missed Charles as he had to travel often, she really wanted to place his needs above her own and support him however she could. This was a good reminder for me to adopt the same attitude in my own marriage. It was truly sweet to read about the love Charles and Susie had for one another and I enjoyed seeing many commonalities between their love story and my own. A theme that really struck a chord with me in reading about Susie's life is the idea of legacy. Throughout the book, there are multiple examples of Susie remaining faithful to the Lord even when her circumstances were discouraging. One of my favorite lines in the book about Susie's legacy is, "She loved her husband. She loved Jesus. And she had served God faithfully," (pg. 28). Upon reading that line I went back and re-read it at least three times and was so greatly encouraged. I hope that the same can be said about me when I enter into glory. Other aspects of Susie's legacy that encouraged my heart are how well she loved and served her husband, the impact she had in training her sons in the ways of the Lord, and her continued faithfulness to love and serve others even after her husband died. These are really great aspects of Susie's character and they ultimately point to her deep love of Jesus. In addition to the information about Susie's life are the comprehensive resources included in the book. Susie begins with a timeline of Susie's life which was helpful for someone like me who had no previous background info. There is also a section in the middle of the book that contains photos of Charles and Susie along with photos of places they've been and letters they've written. Reading Susie was a pure joy and encouragement to my heart and I give it my highest recommendation. It isn't too often that emphasis is placed on women who have been foundational in church history and I'm so thankful for the time and diligence Ray invested in this remarkable work. I received Susie compliments of Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Susannah Spurgeon, wife of theologian, Charles H. Spurgeon, was herself very involved in ministry. Her ministry was sending books to various pastors who she felt would most benefit by the book’s topic. Her great love for others was returned and especially evident upon her death when every shop in the city closed. Susie was devoted to her husband, and he her, however, that devotion was superseded by their love and devotion of God. Both would have never considered anything less than God first in t Susannah Spurgeon, wife of theologian, Charles H. Spurgeon, was herself very involved in ministry. Her ministry was sending books to various pastors who she felt would most benefit by the book’s topic. Her great love for others was returned and especially evident upon her death when every shop in the city closed. Susie was devoted to her husband, and he her, however, that devotion was superseded by their love and devotion of God. Both would have never considered anything less than God first in their relationship and lives. This biography is chock full of interesting facets of the life of Susie Spurgeon; how she developed her own Christian walk, ever seeking guidance, often from her husband. So full of information and anecdotes, Susie, The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles Spurgeon, it is a great resource and encouragement. The book, written by, Ray Rhodes Jr., also includes photographs of homes, churches and so forth important to Susie and Charles. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers and am not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions, therefore, are solely my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Blake Wagner

    Writing as a pastor’s wife, I can attest to the truth that many of us get absorbed into our husband’s ministries at the very least as a support to him. This biography of “Suzie” shows that she was also absorbed into Charles Spurgeon’s ministries. What he accomplished would not have been as great without his “help mate”. Yet she worked beyond and branched from Charles’ ministry to form her own significant place within the ministry of the church. Rhodes, the author of “Suzie” does not glamorize the Writing as a pastor’s wife, I can attest to the truth that many of us get absorbed into our husband’s ministries at the very least as a support to him. This biography of “Suzie” shows that she was also absorbed into Charles Spurgeon’s ministries. What he accomplished would not have been as great without his “help mate”. Yet she worked beyond and branched from Charles’ ministry to form her own significant place within the ministry of the church. Rhodes, the author of “Suzie” does not glamorize the ministry of Charles or of Suzie but shows it in its beauty and in its pain. A good balance of togetherness and separation while maintaining a strong bond of love. “Suzie” is a book of balances. Rhodes has balanced a narrative of Suzie’s life and the letters to her and from her. He balanced her home life with her ministry life. He balanced her personhood and her life as a wife, mother and author. Rhodes allows us to marvel at the marriage of two incredible people in their troubles and joys without envy. This book was a joy to read. An encouragement and a challenge to pastors’ wives everywhere. --L. Wagner P.S. As a Pastor reading Susie reminded me that the role of my help meet is not an easy one but I too thank God that like Susie the love of my life stands with me and shines so brightly for our Lord.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    What a woman! Learned some new things and grew in appreciation for the Spurgeon family. However I wasn't captivated or stirred really. Glad to have heard her life story and it was written exceptionally but not a favorite.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    I went into this book really admiring the sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, and knowing a little of his sons who carried on his legacy, but knowing next to nothing about his wife, Susannah. But as I read this book I became very impressed with Susannah who was a very strong believer with many accomplishments to her name, who selflessly served her family and her husband's ministry. I enjoyed reading about her young life, upbringing, courtship, and then marriage to Charles Spurgeon. I wasn't easy to be marr I went into this book really admiring the sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, and knowing a little of his sons who carried on his legacy, but knowing next to nothing about his wife, Susannah. But as I read this book I became very impressed with Susannah who was a very strong believer with many accomplishments to her name, who selflessly served her family and her husband's ministry. I enjoyed reading about her young life, upbringing, courtship, and then marriage to Charles Spurgeon. I wasn't easy to be married to such a famous man, and to weather man storms by his side, as he was often criticized very publically in the papers. Much of the book draws from correspondences, sermons, and sources of the time like the papers, as well as church records, etc. Susie was a very well spoken woman, as her writing clearly shows. She was very passionate about serving the Lord through supporting her family, and discipling her twin sons, who went on to each become preachers in their own right. Overall, this was a fantastic read, thoroughly enjoyed reading about Susie, her life and faith. I thought that it was amazing how much she did to preserve her husbands written work, train preachers, and plant multiple churches. Her determination and serving spirit, even when she was deemed an invalid, is so inspiring. If you like Christian biographies you won't want to miss the chance to read about this remarkable woman! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Jackson

    So much has been written about Charles Spurgeon that it's surprising that more attention has not been given to his wife, Susannah. Though often parted due to ministry or health issues, the love between Charles and Susie preserved a bond of oneness that, undergirded by their love of Christ, anchored them during difficult times. This anchoring allowed Charles Spurgeon, prince of preachers, to have a ministry of great breadth and depth, and it's impossible to separate the man and his ministry from So much has been written about Charles Spurgeon that it's surprising that more attention has not been given to his wife, Susannah. Though often parted due to ministry or health issues, the love between Charles and Susie preserved a bond of oneness that, undergirded by their love of Christ, anchored them during difficult times. This anchoring allowed Charles Spurgeon, prince of preachers, to have a ministry of great breadth and depth, and it's impossible to separate the man and his ministry from his bride and helpmeet. This is made clear in Susie: the Life of Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes. As a pastor's wife, I was interested to read about the life of the woman married to one of the most celebrated pastors of the last 200 years. I expected to be informed and even encouraged, but I also came away challenged and convicted. As the wife of a celebrity pastor of that day, Susie found herself with a platform of her own. In our time, she may have been a blogger and more prolific author; in her own time, she transparently expressed her dependence on God during her own trials through letters, articles, and a handful of books. She never denied the grief, pain, or weariness that she experienced, but used it to point toward the sufficiency of Christ to sustain her. In her writing, she was most concerned with the image of Christ that she portrayed, and she shared undiluted truth in a most winsome way. Without the concern of hitting a bestseller list or building a large blog following, she simply spoke the truth in love. Susie is a most comprehensive biography, and I learned much about Charles as well as his bride. It encouraged me anew in ways to come alongside my pastor husband to love and encourage him, as well as to pursue serving others with my own gifts. As the author (a friend of mine) is a great promoter of both marital and ministry joy, I can guess this was one of his hopes for his readers! Moody Publishers provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review; however, the views stated here are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

    I did not know a great deal about Susannah Spurgeon prior to reading this book but what an interesting history. The book is biographical in nature and covers a great span of time including information about the history of Great Britain and the Baptist movement during her life. The pro to the book was its informative nature, its con is the repetitive nature in the writing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nan Williams

    This biography of Susie Spurgeon covers 125 years. This is 125 years of family history, national history in Great Britain and church history. The book starts with a comprehensive timeline over 11 pages of what’s to come in the book. The next chapter covers 71 years in Susie’s life, fleshing out the timeline in the first chapter. Subsequent chapters flesh this history out even more. I’m thinking this book was probably written for a group study, rather than for individuals to read as a biography. This biography of Susie Spurgeon covers 125 years. This is 125 years of family history, national history in Great Britain and church history. The book starts with a comprehensive timeline over 11 pages of what’s to come in the book. The next chapter covers 71 years in Susie’s life, fleshing out the timeline in the first chapter. Subsequent chapters flesh this history out even more. I’m thinking this book was probably written for a group study, rather than for individuals to read as a biography. The way it’s outlined and with the repetitive nature of the chapters, it would be an excellent study for a small group such as a Sunday School class or Bible study. The material is excellent and well researched. It lends itself very well to reading a chapter per week and discussing with other readers. I am thankful to NetGalley and Moody Publishers for an ARC of this biography. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Susie Spurgeon, one of the most influential women in church history, has been one of the most neglected in terms of Christian biography. This neglect has been remedied in Ray Rhodes's masterfully research biography due to be released September 4, 2018. Ray has scoured over primary sources to provide as full of an understanding of her life and contributions as possible. As author Ray Rhodes notes there is scant information on the first twenty years of her life. It is with the calling of her future Susie Spurgeon, one of the most influential women in church history, has been one of the most neglected in terms of Christian biography. This neglect has been remedied in Ray Rhodes's masterfully research biography due to be released September 4, 2018. Ray has scoured over primary sources to provide as full of an understanding of her life and contributions as possible. As author Ray Rhodes notes there is scant information on the first twenty years of her life. It is with the calling of her future husband as pastor of New Park Chapel in London that the reader really begins to know Susie. Rhodes sheds light on Susie's initial impressions of her future as well as the progress of their courtship. Susie's role as mother to twins Thomas and Charles also brings to attention the sacrifice that the family made arising from the vastness of Spurgeon's ministry. One can imagine that if Susie had not been a devoted and godly mother they would have turned out very differently.  She shared in the sufferings of her husband as well as bearing her own physical sufferings that took a serious toll on her health. These sufferings proved to be what led her to pursue a ministry that she is greatly known for, providing books for impoverished pastors and missionaries. It is in books that Susie has greatest legacy not only in the ones given as a support for those in ministry but also those written by her. For those who have appreciated the life and labors of C.H. Spurgeon this title is truly a treasure that has been unearthed. While many of Spurgeon's biographers will give some information on Susie such as their courtship, her illness, and her book fund. None of them have put in the painstaking effort of researching her to such an extent where she comes alive on the page, which is exactly what Ray Rhodes has done in this work. I'd highly recommend this title because as with her husband's life story hers is one that has much to teach us today.  Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer K

    Surprised By Susie! When I started this book, I had no idea that I would have so much in common with a pastor’s wife from the Victorian age. Ray Rhodes has written an exquisite biography of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of the famous Charles Spurgeon. Rhodes has thoroughly researched the life of this woman, who was sometimes named the “Great Sufferer.” Drawing from many of her correspondences and writings, the life of Susie unfolds. In addition to supporting her husband’s ministry, she carved out a mi Surprised By Susie! When I started this book, I had no idea that I would have so much in common with a pastor’s wife from the Victorian age. Ray Rhodes has written an exquisite biography of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of the famous Charles Spurgeon. Rhodes has thoroughly researched the life of this woman, who was sometimes named the “Great Sufferer.” Drawing from many of her correspondences and writings, the life of Susie unfolds. In addition to supporting her husband’s ministry, she carved out a ministry of her own and I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what Susie did next. She was honest about her struggles and was persistent in trusting God. Yet, another good lesson from Susie’s life. Even though she spent a large portion of her life as an invalid, Susie kept the faith and kept busy. The work that she did and the life she lived still impacts the world today. Now that is inspiring! I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David King

    A thoroughly delightful biography. The only flaw in the writing was the occasional instance of describing emotions or reactions to events that the biographer could not have known. This seems to be a growing, and annoying, trend among biographers. Tell me what happened; don't surmise and make up emotions that can't be known. The reader was quite good, but I wish the publisher had chosen a gifted female to read this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carol Van Der Woude

    Author Ray Rhodes provides a well-researched account of the life of Susannah Spurgeon. He provides context as he describes Victorian England. The book offers insight into the marriage of Susannah and Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher. As I read about the beautiful teamwork that took place in their marriage, I was pleased to learn that Susie read theological texts with her husband, supported him and his ministry through good times and difficult times. I was delighted to learn that she was a wr Author Ray Rhodes provides a well-researched account of the life of Susannah Spurgeon. He provides context as he describes Victorian England. The book offers insight into the marriage of Susannah and Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher. As I read about the beautiful teamwork that took place in their marriage, I was pleased to learn that Susie read theological texts with her husband, supported him and his ministry through good times and difficult times. I was delighted to learn that she was a writer. I truly enjoyed the quotes from Susie’s diary and published devotional books. It is a good read. In full disclosure I received this book in return for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patti Whitson Stephenson

    Until I read this book, I had never read a biography about Susie Spurgeon. Through the meticulous research of this author, I felt that I came to know her and could see her heart for her husband, her family, and her God. I enjoyed reading passages of the letters that she and her husband exchanged as well as some of Susie’s own writings. She had much to overcome during her lifetime, but she found great strength and peace through her strong faith in God. She was in very poor health for much of her Until I read this book, I had never read a biography about Susie Spurgeon. Through the meticulous research of this author, I felt that I came to know her and could see her heart for her husband, her family, and her God. I enjoyed reading passages of the letters that she and her husband exchanged as well as some of Susie’s own writings. She had much to overcome during her lifetime, but she found great strength and peace through her strong faith in God. She was in very poor health for much of her life, yet she was determined to serve God in anyway that she could with the little physical strength that she had. This book also highlights the true, life-long love story between she and her husband. I loved reading about their courtship and engagement. Their letters to each other are so sweet and indicate much about their life together. Their love and support for each other never wavered through tragedy and loss. The love their sons had for both their parents, as well as their own future ministries, show the evidence of Susie’s never-failing faithfulness to her family. Even though Susie lived in Victorian times, her testimony lives on to challenge us today in our daily walk with God. I’m very glad that I read this book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    DR

    Susie Spurgeon has left a lasting testimony, not just as helpmeet to her more famous husband, but also in her own right. Her life is worth being remembered (much as it may surprise her!), and I am grateful Ray Rhodes has brought her to our attention. Unsung hero(in)es deserve their place in history, especially when they have something to teach us. Reading of her life has also encouraged me to learn more of her husband’s work. I appreciated that the book is written in the style of the period, i.e. Susie Spurgeon has left a lasting testimony, not just as helpmeet to her more famous husband, but also in her own right. Her life is worth being remembered (much as it may surprise her!), and I am grateful Ray Rhodes has brought her to our attention. Unsung hero(in)es deserve their place in history, especially when they have something to teach us. Reading of her life has also encouraged me to learn more of her husband’s work. I appreciated that the book is written in the style of the period, i.e. Victorian, as it suits it & also means that extracts from letters do not stand out. As a chronic invalid myself, this book has given me hope that God can still use me....

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill Pence

    This is a well-researched biography of Susannah “Susie” Spurgeon, the wife of the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. The author writes that Susie was unimpressed the first time she heard Charles Spurgeon preach, finding his hair, suit, mannerisms, and provocative preaching style offensive. Susie was a new convert at the time, but a discouraged one. She was needing spiritual renewal, and Spurgeon sent her an illustrated copy of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, a book he would read each This is a well-researched biography of Susannah “Susie” Spurgeon, the wife of the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. The author writes that Susie was unimpressed the first time she heard Charles Spurgeon preach, finding his hair, suit, mannerisms, and provocative preaching style offensive. Susie was a new convert at the time, but a discouraged one. She was needing spiritual renewal, and Spurgeon sent her an illustrated copy of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, a book he would read each year and at least one hundred times in his lifetime. They would be married on January 8, 1856. So intense was Charles’ love for Susie, the author writes, that he feared idolizing her and thus hindering his relationship with God. He valued her as his wife, friend, and assistant in ministry. Susie gave birth to twin sons, Charles and Thomas, in September of 1856. They would be the couple’s only children. With Charles’ frequent absences for ministry work, Susie bore much responsibility for training of her sons, and her influence on Thomas and Charles should not be minimized. Eventually, both would serve in pastoral ministry. After his father’s death, Thomas returned to London to serve as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle from 1893 to 1908. Charlie would also go into the ministry and labor as a pastor in Greenwich and then later serve in ministries that his father created. The family lived a comfortable, upper middle-class life. When Charles died in 1892, there were at least six servants, probably several more. Susie suffered significant physical pain, which may have been caused giving birth to the twins, which eventually led to surgery. The operation gave some relief to Susie, but it was not entirely successful. During his frequent absences from Susie, for ministry, and for his own physical and emotional healing, at places such as Menton on the French Riviera, Charles wrote love letters to her almost every day. He longed for her to come to Menton as well, but her poor health didn’t allow that. Susie remembered their frequent correspondence as a means that God used to help her through her tribulations. But after her affliction set in, it was only on rare occasions that Susie returned to the Metropolitan Tabernacle to hear Charles preach. Amidst her trials, Susie discovered comfort, delight, and purpose in a ministry that became her “life work”, serving as “Mrs. Spurgeon’s Book Fund”, a means by which she ministered to poor pastors throughout the British Isles and in other places by providing books (primarily, though not exclusively, written by Spurgeon) for them. The Book Fund began in 1875. Over the next twenty-eight years, distributed 200,000 books free of charge to needy pastors whose libraries were essentially bare. Mrs. Spurgeon’s Book Fund blessed pastors who, in turn, blessed their congregations. The books most desired from pastors sprang forth from her husband’s works such as Lectures to My Students, The Treasury of David, Sermons. Charles would preach for the last time at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Sunday, June 7, 1891. On October 26, 1891, a long-time dream came true for Charles. On that day, Susie accompanied Charles to Menton, first and only time that she ever visited Menton with her beloved, and they enjoyed three months of happiness before Charles death on January 31, 1892 at age 57. Something that helped Susie through her sadness and suffering was writing. She wrote about her suffering to glorify God, not to exalt her loneliness, physical sufferings, or emotional turmoil. Through her writing, she let people see her weaknesses, struggles, and hardships. The widow years of Susie Spurgeon were a mixture of joy, grief, suffering, and productivity. As a widow, she published five stand-alone books, numerous pieces for The Sword and the Trowel, and was heavily involved in the translation and dissemination of Charles’s sermons. Like Charles, Susie was a Calvinistic Baptist, believing and finding comfort in the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace. She was responsible for planting Beulah Baptist Chapel, Bexhill-on-Sea, and encouraging John S. Hockey to serve as its first pastor. In the late winter of 1900, Susie underwent another surgery, and, like her first one in 1868, its nature was not revealed. Susie died on Thursday, October 22, 1903, and was later buried alongside her husband. Susie’s legacy is cast in love for pastors. Beyond the books, she often ministered financial aid and supplied clothing and other resources. The author states that Susie’s greatest legacy is her ministry to and love for her beloved husband and her advocacy of his writings and ministry. An “Afterword” was written by Susie Spurgeon Cochrane, great-great granddaughter of Susie Spurgeon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jalynn Patterson

    **Disclosure**This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the publisher. All opinions are my own. About the Book: The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon. While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie. Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even whi **Disclosure**This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the publisher. All opinions are my own. About the Book: The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon. While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie. Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even while dealing with serious health issues, she administered a book fund for poor pastors, edited and published her husband’s sermons and other writings, led a pastor’s aid ministry, wrote five books, made her home a hub of hospitality, and was instrumental in planting a church. And as her own writing attests, she was also a warm, charming, and fascinating woman. Now, for the first time, Susie brings this vibrant woman’s story to modern readers. Ray Rhodes Jr. examines Susannah’s life, showing that she was not only the wife of London’s most famous preacher, but also a woman who gave all she had in grateful service to the Lord. Susie is an inspiring and encouraging account of a truly remarkable woman of faith that will delight Spurgeon devotees and fans of Christian biographies alike. My Review: The legacy that Susannah Spurgeon leaves behind far outweighs that of her husband, in my opinion. I know that he lived for Christ and that his image and that of Jesus were abundant in his life. We don't have to read them to know that, we can just read about his character and how he lived--he lived it out in front of us. Susie as she was called by many, her life was the one quietly behind the scenes. She loved her God and her guy to the fullest. She was an upstanding individual with quality character. She made Charles what he was in so many ways, but one that far outweighed the rest was her love and devotion to "the man". When I first dove into this quality piece of writing, I was beyond excited to see what this grand lady was all about. It was soon apparent to me that she was a woman of great strength and dignity--things that as a Christian woman I strive to be. The author did a great job of letting me get to know this phenomenal lady. I was in tears most of the time because the love she had for God and for her husband was astounding and it touched my heart. By the end of the book I wanted to be just like her. This book is a great descriptor of persons for such a passionate lady that achieved so much in her life. I am sure she has many jewels in her crown, there in Heaven.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Farmer

    ou have likely heard the saying, “Behind every great man is an even greater woman.” Susannah Spurgeon is just such a woman. Wife of the infamous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, she was an integral part of his life and ministry. She was behind him in prayer support but also beside him in ministry. Even after reading only the introduction and first chapter I wished that this book had been available to me 30 years ago as I was becoming a pastor’s wife. If I had the time all in one sitting, I would have ou have likely heard the saying, “Behind every great man is an even greater woman.” Susannah Spurgeon is just such a woman. Wife of the infamous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, she was an integral part of his life and ministry. She was behind him in prayer support but also beside him in ministry. Even after reading only the introduction and first chapter I wished that this book had been available to me 30 years ago as I was becoming a pastor’s wife. If I had the time all in one sitting, I would have read this book to completion in a day. What a beautiful example of a Christian wife, pastor’s wife or not. SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE As I read her story which is set in Victorian England. I realized that things have not changed all that much. We tend to think the evil prevails more now than it ever has but as I read I found that Charles and Susannah Spurgeon endured much of the same things 150 years ago that my husband and I have endured in this century. Satan has always fought against those who try to spread the Word of God. And yet they persevered through sorrow and pain, sharing the Word of God to thousands, maybe millions. My heart was pricked when I saw how they persevered. Susie was an encourager to Charles throughout their marriage as he struggled through deep depressions and often separated by half the world when he traveled. I would have loved to have her encouragement for myself as I tried my best to encourage my husband. Maybe I would have found more ways to hold my husband up. SHE ALSO HAD HER OWN MINISTRIES Additionally, Susie not only worked closely with Charles in sermon preparation and prayer support, but she also raised their twin sons and built her own ministry of providing books and sermons to poor preachers. She sent sermons and books to any preacher who asked for them right up until her death. And she did all this pushing through her own years of chronic pain. I can so relate to many of the trials in her life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie D.

    This is the most inspiring book! I had never read anything about Susannah Spurgeon before so had no idea about her life with Charles or her help in his ministry or anything about her own ministry. This book is not a dry biography. It's a story brought alive by great writing and I was completely compelled by it. It is definitely a page turner and I really feel that I know these people in a deeper way. What was fascinating to me is that Susie was alive during the Victorian age - an era I have been This is the most inspiring book! I had never read anything about Susannah Spurgeon before so had no idea about her life with Charles or her help in his ministry or anything about her own ministry. This book is not a dry biography. It's a story brought alive by great writing and I was completely compelled by it. It is definitely a page turner and I really feel that I know these people in a deeper way. What was fascinating to me is that Susie was alive during the Victorian age - an era I have been heavily reading about lately. I thought about the restrictions put on women yet Susie never let these restrictions keep her from doing the work of Christ. She felt called to write and also had a book ministry where she would send her husband's books to other ministries about the country and also help them and their families in their ministries. She did this despite her own health and pain issues and continued even as a widow. The love story between her and Charles is so sweet and tender. They did a lot of things together and she was his rock and encourager throughout their marriage and through his ministry. They were there for each other as they suffered with chronic illnesses and I was, personally, encouraged by this. In our society, we feel as though our worthiness comes from what we do but Susie showed me it's in living for Christ! Just as Susie took refuge in Christ through her illness, so can we. I was so encouraged by her example. This is a wonderful book for everyone to read. It was inspiring and encouraging and just a great read about a very godly woman. I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars. *This book was provided to me by Moody Publishers. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

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