Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Review: Mary Lu Tyndall leaves the ship deck behind in favor of the Brazilian jungle in "Elusive Hope," the second novel in the "Escape to Paradise" series. Tyndall captures a unique segment of history when Americans settled in the wilds of Brazil to create a "new" south following the Civil War. The historical elements and the scenery of the jungle were my favorite aspects of "Elusive Hope." A connection to the characters never completely developed and the symbolism of evil became oppressive.
Both Magnolia and Hayden are characters in need of redemption; so they have their fair share of flaws. In the cases of these protagonists, I found myself annoyed by them for the majority of the novel. Between Magnolia's self-indulgence and willful ways and Hayden's flirtation and scamming, I found myself hoping they would change their ways sooner rather than later. They grew on me towards the end of the novel, but it was a little too late for my personal taste.
Tyndall focuses on the pervasiveness and power of evil, and uses imagery to convey its presence in the colony of New Hope. Her portrayal of dark forces demonstrate her skill as an author, and I do not doubt that she will draw a wide range of emotions out of her readers. I found the evil element to be too disturbing and slightly "witch-crafty." The dark mist that preceded troubling visions for the colonists never failed to send chills up my spine. While this shows that Tyndall's descriptions are powerful, it was a turn-off for me.
I have always enjoyed MaryLu Tyndall's novels, and I have a some of the her other series on my bookshelf. "Escape to Paradise" may not join the collection, but many readers will find excitement, romance, mystery, and a message of faith in "Elusive Hope" and its sister novels.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Books through Net Galley. 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 the Author: Falling in Love Was Never Part of Their Plans
On the shores of Brazil, their Confederate friends are seeking a Southern utopia. But Hayden Gale and Magnolia Scott have different plans. Hayden is out for revenge and vows to keep pursuing his father—at any cost—whom he blames for his mother’s death. Magnolia is looking for a way out. . .and a way back home after her father insists their family escape the South following the Civil War. As the fledgling colony of New Hope struggles to survive, they both seek to use the other for their own purposes. Falling in love was never part of their plans.