Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Review: After reading nearly all of MaryLu Tyndall's previous novels, I eagerly anticipated the release of her new series, "Escape to Paradise." The fist book in the series, "Forsaken Dreams," begins with the introduction of the major characters aboard a ship escaping the ravaged and war-torn South and bound for Brazil. This setting is one that has not been featured in any post-Civil War novels that I have read, and it offers a unique perspective. Each passenger has his or her own reason for leaving their home and heading to the wilds of Brazil, a land which has been touted as "paradise." Some characters seek freedom, peace, and a fresh start; while others are motivated by greed or revenge. I was intrigued by the background and possible motivations of some of the characters aboard the ship, especially that of a former politician who seems to be enveloped by a sinister cloud.
Unfortunately, I was less intrigued by the two main characters featured in this novel. Although readers witness snippets of each of the main passengers' lives aboard ship and their possible backgrounds and motivations, MaryLu Tyndall reveals the pasts of war widow Eliza Crawford and Colonel Blake Wallace in "Forsaken Dreams." Eliza and Blake feel an immediate bond and camaraderie when they meet, but their mutual attraction is soon tested through their equally haunted pasts. As is characteristic of each of Tyndall's novels, she masterfully sets the scene of danger and adventure at sea and creates a plot that is engaging and action-filled. Unlike her past novels, I did not feel that the characters of Eliza and Blake were as multi-dimensional. While they are both likable characters and their relationship was realistic in some ways, I felt inexplicably detached at times. Perhaps the introduction of numerous characters that will likely be featured in upcoming novels detracted my attention. I sometimes found myself more interested in the other personal stories instead of Eliza's and Blake's.
The forces of good versus evil are apparent throughout "Forsaken Dreams," and I am intrigued and motivated to read the next book in the series. There is no doubt that MaryLu Tyndall is a talented author who writes stories with unique settings that offer powerful messages of love, forgiveness, redemption, and peace.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this novel from NetGalley, courtesy of Barbour Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. 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.”
Summary from Barbour Publishing: Embark on a seafaring adventure in a brand-new series from bestselling author MaryLu Tyndall. After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new utopians community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret—and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for?