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Book Review: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Susannah Spurgeon is one of my favorite Christian heroines. As the wife of world-famous preacher Charles Spurgeon, Susannah’s name has been known for ages, but her story has been hidden in the shadows…until now. Author Ray Rhodes has produced a beautiful book telling Susannah’s story: Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon. His account that not only unveils the magnitude of Susannah’s ministry but the depth of her faith in Christ. The biography is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it. Here are three reasons you should read what is being called “the definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon.”

Reason 1: It’s a great story

Nobody wants to read a boring story.  We want great stories; stories that draw us in and keep us hooked. We want stories that spike our interests. This book is ready to do that. It has something for everyone; love and romance, history (the setting is Victorian England) unexpected catastrophes, sickness, surprises and the pain of fame and betrayal.

This story, however, is great for a deeper reason. Though the time period is from the days of yesterday and the setting is of the past, Susie’s story is one all can identify with. While the specifics of this tale are unique to her, ultimately her story points us to profound aspects of life. This is a book about Susannah, yes. But it is also a book about perseverance, love, strength, and loss, universal concepts that play out intimately in each of our lives. These kinds of stories, stories that transcend their subjects and relate personally to the readers are the ones that stick with us long after we finish the last page. If that’s the kind of story you are looking for, this is the book for you.

Reason 2: It will challenge you

The other day I came across a quote that said, “Be the kind of person who makes others want to up their game.” When I read this, I immediately thought of Susie. If anyone ever lived out this quote, it was her. From motherhood and being a wife to planting a church, writing numerous books and starting a world-wide ministry, Susannah excelled in it all. Her secret? She relied on Christ for everything. Susannah’s example made me want to up my game; to run to God for help in all things, to live a purposeful life and to take refuge in God’s Word. Her faithful work pushed me to examine my own ministry, priorities, and motivation. Looking for some challenging inspiration? Start with this book.

Reason 3: It will encourage you

When I first started studying Susannah’s life, I was in the middle of an incredibly difficult season. As I read, I witnessed how God used Susie’s troubling circumstances for His glory and for her good. If He could do that for her, I had to believe that He could do the same thing for me. Click To Tweet At that point, I didn’t think my circumstances could ever bring anything but pain. As I read about her faith in the midst of great trial, I was deeply moved. I remember thinking to myself, “If she can get through that (her illness) then I can get through this.” As I read, I witnessed how God used Susie’s troubling circumstances for His glory and for her good. If He could do that for her, I had to believe that He could do the same thing for me.

That season of my life was a while ago now, but Susie’s story stuck with me. As I sat down to read this book, God once again used the life of Susannah to give me strength. I saw her run to Jesus in loss, pain, and sorrow. She brought all of her hurts and questions to God, and He met her in the middle of it all. Susie reminded me that the same God who was faithful and present with her is the same God who is faithful and present with me. He will comfort me as He comforted her. He will direct my path as He directed hers. God used this story to teach me things about Himself, and I know He will do the same for you.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted at; used with permission. 


Selah Ulmer

Selah Ulmer is a graduate of Midwestern Seminary. She has written for The Spurgeon Center and regularly contributes pieces to National WMU. She lives in Kansas City, MO and serves at First Baptist Church of North Kansas City.

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