Captured by Love
About This Book
Michigan 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.
Pierre and Angelique may struggle to be Captured by Love, but readers will have a far easier time being captured by this story. From a gripping opening scene that made my hair stand on end to a heartbreaking final chapter that brought all the story threads together, this book was simply beautiful to read, a perfect balance of history and fiction that sucked me in and made me feel I was right there with the characters.
There is a reason Jody Hedlund teaches other writers how to write. Her story construction is superb, and this book is no exception. Every scene flows from one to the next, the points-of-view are deep and engaging, and the characters’ individual histories are peeled back slowly, one layer at a time, so that by the end, I felt as if I had spent time with two real people. Pierre and Angelique are perfectly matched and perfectly flawed, making me root for and relate to them both from the very first chapter. The secondary characters are strongly developed and do much to enhance the drama, and I wouldn’t mind seeing future stories about any of them.
The conflict and tension in this story are flawless. Right away Hedlund introduces the reader to a hero and heroine whose personal goals and dreams are directly at odds, then thrusts them into a real-life historical setting which, even as they overcome their personal differences to be together, just keeps pulling them apart. This great mix of internal and external conflict keeps the story driving forward, and I could not put it down. And speaking of tension, yowza! The romance between Pierre and Angelique is funny, tender, intense, electric, heartbreaking, heart-pounding and more. They definitely have to earn their happily-ever-after, and I wanted to spike a touchdown and do a little happy dance in the end zone when they did.
The most explicit religious language in this book actually comes from one of its villains, who quotes the Ten Commandments as justification for the cruel ways he metes out punishment and discipline. Otherwise, the spiritual tone of the book is subdued in keeping with its historical time and setting. Pierre has turned his life back to God but struggles with temptation. His mother is a constant, albeit silent, prayer warrior. Angelique’s faith is built less on her own belief and more on not following her mother’s wonton example, but she fears she might have already succumbed to the same fate. In other words, this book shows realistic believers struggling to live out their faith in the real world—my very favorite kind of Christian fiction characters.
This is a war story, so some violence is inevitable. A drunken soldier accosts Angelique and tries to strangle her. Pierre loses his temper and beats up a man. Prisoners are flogged, dragged and starved. An Indian talks about collecting scalps. The innkeeper brazenly and repeatedly cheats on his wife. and of course, there is a battle in which men are shot and killed. But nothing is graphically depicted or included just for shock value, and it all felt organic and necessary to the story.
This book will appeal to adult readers who love deeply-entrenched historical stories and swoon-worthy romance. Teen and new adult readers may also appreciate this book, though I would recommend adults read it first in order to answer questions that some subject matter may raise. The rich historical detail and subdued spiritual themes would make this book appeal to readers of general market Historical Fiction as well. I would have no problem recommending this book to my non-Christian family and friends.
Captured by Love is yet another triumph from the masterful pen of Jody Hedlund. With gripping authenticity and breathtaking passion, this story breathes life into a unique time and place in American history and introduces the reader to two headstrong, haunted-by-the-past characters who, in a time of war and sacrifice, must fight for a second chance at first love. This engrossing novel is an absolute must-read for lovers of rich, powerful historical fiction.
Available July 1, 2014 from Bethany House Publishers