This book is called Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund. I've read her previous work, The Preacher's Bride, and absolutely fell in love with it! Mrs. Hedlund adds adventure to her plot line that prevents the story from becoming too much of a "mush-gush" love story. Also, she portrays marriage and true love as loving someone for who they truly are and sacrificing one's own desires for the other person's betterment. You can tell that her characters really do love each other and are going to honor their wedding vows to the end. These two qualities are what draw me to her books.
Captured by Love takes place on Michilimackinac island in 1814 until early 1815 during a siege by the Americans to claim the island from the British. Mrs. Hedlund offers lots of historical background to not only the island but to the inhabitants' daily lives there. The book is dripping with facts about the geology, biology, and meteorology of Michilimackinac Island. It was almost like reading a history book along with the story! I love books like this one where the author researches about the time and place they are writing about so much the story seems to have really happened!
The story follows Angelique MacKenzie, an 18 year old woman living with her abusive stepfather and Pierre Durant, a fur trader and voyageur. The two grew up as childhood friends until Pierre ran away to become a voyager. Angelique had a crush on Pierre and now that they are adults she can't seem to stop thinking about him as more than just a friend. Pierre also can't believe how beautiful Angelique has become and finds himself being drawn more and more towards her. But, along with many other obstacles, Angelique is promised to Pierre's brother, Jean, who has been banished from the island due to his loyalty to the Americans. With the approaching war Angelique and Pierre face many hardships and broken hearts as they learn to trust in THE L-RD and that sometimes doing the right thing is not easy.
The first half of the book focuses more on Angelique and Pierre's relationship while the second half deals more with the war and their fight for survival. While the plot was amazing and very intriguing, I must admit I had a hard time liking the characters. It's not that I hated them, it's just I didn't really find them interesting. For one, Pierre is very full of himself and in his flirtations with Angelique he tends to brag about himself.
"You're not just saying yes because I'm such a good kisser, are you?"
She laughed. "Of course that's why... What other reason could there possibly be?"
"Oh, let's see. Because you think I'm incredibly handsome, and sweet, and fun. And because I can cook the best stuffed whitefish in the world."
"And because you're very conceited," she teased.
While sometimes these little jokes are cute they tend to get annoying. I much prefer it when the guy is humble than when he's blatantly flirting with a girl. And while I didn't despise Angelique (she was supper sweet!), I just have other literary heroins that I like much better. I really didn't start liking the characters until the last part of the book when they started to overcome some of their "human sinful nature."
Remember when I wrote my review for until i found you by Victoria Bylin and I mentioned that I thought couples should be careful with how physical they are with each other because things can become very dangerous? Well this book is another great example of what I mean. As mentioned above Angelique is betrothed to Pierre's brother Jean and while she tries to honor her vow to him, she very quickly ends up basically cheating on him. She and Pierre are not careful around each other and pretty soon they're ending up alone way too much and kissing each other. The author does handle the situations very well in the end however, using them to teach the characters a lesson. I just thought I would elaborate a little more on what I meant in my last book review.
Along with the frequent kisses there are a few sexual references in the book. Angelique's stepfather sleeps with several women and is very unfaithful to his wife. The author does discuss the sinfulness of his ways and Angelique does learn from him but it is mentioned. I think the author handles this issue very well. She doesn't go into much detail but it is mentioned throughout the whole book.
Something else I had a problem with was the "swimming" scenes. Twice Pierre and Angelique go swimming in one of the island's lakes. While them swimming is not what I had a problem with, the fact that Angelique swims in her chemise and Pierre goes without a shirt is. I know this isn't such a big deal in our society today because a chemise of that time covered more than most dress of today do, but the fact of the matter is that this was a woman's underwear and to see a man without his shirt was considered very inappropriate. Nothing happens during these scenes, but the two of them are definitely swimming in their underwear!
All together I'd give Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund a 3.5 rating (see sidebar for rating scale). The story was great and the history amazing but I wasn't fond of the characters and there were a few sexual issues I had a problem with. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 17 due to this. But honestly, this book ended in the best way possible! The author wrapped it up soooo nicely that I couldn't have asked for a better ending! I can't tell you how she ended it, you'll just have to read it yourself.
P.S. I was given Jody Hedlund's Captured by Love by Bethany House Publishers in exchanged for my honest opinion.