Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review: Captured By Love

We just got back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation, and I was looking for an easy read to bring along on the plane and to the pool. I settled on Captured By Love, Jody Hedlund's new novel about a young woman trying to survive in British occupied Michilimackinac Island during the War of 1812.

Eighteen-year old Angelique MacKenzie is an orphan who is in the care of her cruel stepfather, Ebenezer. There is a shortage of food on the island, and Angelique has spent the winter trying to smuggle food to her friend, Miriam. Miriam has always been like a mother to Angelique, and now that she is frail and blind, she needs help in order to survive. Angelique is betrothed to Miriam's son Jean, who is away fighting for the Americans. Miriam's other son, Pierre, is a fur trader who left the island 5 years prior after an argument with his family.

Angelique and Pierre had been close as children, but Pierre always saw her as a younger sister. When he returns to the island, he is surprised to see that Angelique has grown into a beautiful young woman, and he realizes he has feelings for her. Angelique, however, is still betrothed to Jean, though only for stability, and not because she loves him deeply.

Pierre has abandoned his cavorting ways, and is now determined to live honestly and in God's truth, but he struggles with knowing the "right" thing to do. Angelique is in a bind, because she loves Pierre, but doesn't think it's right to break Jean's heart. All the while, the British presence on the island is driving the residents to starvation. Angelique and Pierre spend the book trying to figure out exactly what it means to "do the right thing", and learn to forgive themselves for their respective pasts.

I did like the story, although I found it to be a little over-the-top in mushiness (I guess I'm not a hopeless romantic!), but it was an easy read that kept me occupied on the plane. However, I had a hard time getting into it because I didn't find the characters to be very likable. They kept changing their minds and being very indecisive, which left me confused as a reader. This also prevented solid character development. Finally, the ending wasn't as satisfying as it would have been had I been rooting for the characters to succeed throughout the entire book. 

Bottom Line 6*/10*

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

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