Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review of Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

I was completely captured by Jody Hedlund's latest novel!

Cover ArtMichigan Territory, 1814

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.

Captured by Love was a deep and abiding love story that I suspect will stick with me for awhile. The characters felt alive on the page with anxiety and passion that I couldn't help absorbing. The book was hard to put down. The action wasn't intense and edge of your seat, but the love story was. The obstacles that this couple faced were challenging and seem to mount higher with each turn of a page. It felt much like plucking the petals of a daisy - they will be together; they won't be together; they will ... they won't. It pulled me through the story with a fierceness many stories lack.

The conclusion of the book, and the love story, didn't come with a crash or boom, instead it gently led the characters to a very natural ending that didn't feel contrived, forced or unrealistic. I enjoyed this part of the story the most.

Another awesome aspect of the story was the obviously powerful attraction and passionate bond between the two main characters. It at times felt so powerful that it would lead the hero and heroine to fall into sin. However Hedlund portrayed their angst/desire for each other beautifully and yet within the bounds of Christian fiction. The spiritual journey each character had to travel revealed the often times, very real emotions of lust, passion and sexual desire. Yet, this was perfectly balanced with their love and commitment to follow God's will and plan for each of their lives. Sometimes faith can be arduous. Well done, Jody.

The setting was beautiful and devastating at the same time - a war-torn isolated island of such breathtaking beauty in contrast to a harshness of survival. I felt the setting played a key role in the plot, keeping the reader entrenched in the emotions of the story.

Jody Hedlund did a fantastic job with this story. The writing felt so natural and flowed with ease. I have only read a few of her books to date, but she is closely becoming one of my tops! Captured by Love is the third book in her Michigan Bride Collection and from the tiny bread crumbs dropped in the final chapters I will bet there is another one on the way. (?) I have not read book 1, Unending Devotion or book 2, A Noble Groom in the series yet. This did not affect the enjoyment of this story at all. Check out her book links page where you can click on any of the books and find fun facts, chapter excerpts and reading discussion guides. Enjoy!

A definite recommended read for those who love epic love stories and historical backgrounds. A beautiful bouquet!

Feel free to check out Jody's blog if you are interested in writing. She has won awards for how helpful and fun her blog is. She is also active on facebook and twitter. On her website is a media page where she shares links from her book blogging tour she made this July to celebrate the release of Capture by Love. Be sure to check out the fun!

Thanks to Bethany House and the author for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. I was not required to review it positively.

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