Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review of "Captured by Love"

Rating: 4 stars
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Review: When I pick up a Jody Hedlund novel, I know that she is going to take me on a trip through history.  The pages of "Captured by Love" immerse me in Mackinac Island around 1814. Hedlund gives us a broad scope of life on the island through the lives of her characters. The Michilimackinac Island that Hedlund portrays is nothing like the resort area that we picture today; it is a remote island of hardships, starvation, and fighting between the British and Americans.  This love story melds with a history lesson that is beautifully portrayed with contrasting shades of darkness and light. 

"Captured by Love" begins with a confrontation that sets the tone of tension that envelopes the island throughout the story.  The struggles become personal when details about Angelique's life are revealed.  As a young woman living with a strict stepfather and a suspicious stepmother, Angelique is imprisoned on the island that she adores.  Her stepfather, Ebneezer, is definitely one of the sources of darkness in the novel.  His treatment is nothing short of cruel, which adds a degree of heaviness to the plot.  Angelique's strained relationship with her stepfather is contrasted with her close connection to the Durant family, especially Miriam and Pierre.  Hedlund's characterization of Angelique is impeccable, and she quickly becomes a character that captures my interest and emotions.  When the dashing Pierre enters Angelique's life, a more vibrant side of her is revealed.  Though both of their pasts and presents are riddled with conflict, their interactions add some refreshing fun and romance to the surrounding strife.  

The path to love is not straight and easy, however, as a love triangle forms between Pierre, Angelique, and Pierre's brother, Jean.  Pierre evokes mixed feelings in me as he pursues Angelique.  He is charming and complimentary, but often shows a degree of conceit as well.  His disregard for the relationship between Jean and Angelique is bothersome as well.  Pierre's view of their commitment highlights Angelique's desire to live a moral and godly life, and makes me appreciate her character even more.  Despite his flaws, Pierre is undeniably a good character, and one of the few gentlemen introduced in the plot.  Hedlund uses Pierre's faults to teach a lesson about faith, honor, and sacrifice.  Many of those lessons are taught during the conclusion of "Captured by Love," which is filled with peril and excitement. The emotional journey continues until the very end, and the last pages bring romance to capture our hearts. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through their book review program. 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 Bethany House: A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love.


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