July 11, 2014

Love & Loyalty

Captured By Love by Jody Hedlund

Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Baker Publishing | Bethany House
Pages: 384 pages
Source & Format: NetGalley; e-ARC
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur -- a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.

Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British -- and into a relationship with Angelique Mackenzie, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.

Thoughts on Captured By Love
Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite Christian historical fiction authors, so I was really looking forward to Captured by Love. One of the things I've loved most about her books is that they've been based on real people and grounded in Hedlund's extensive research. Captured by Love is the story of Pierre Durant, a fur trader, and Angelique Mackenzie, a local girl and a close childhood friend.

The book is set on Mackinac Island in 1814, so it takes place during the events of the War of 1812. I know very little about this time period, so I really enjoyed the aspects of this book that focused on conditions on the island. The British have taken control of the island, food is scarce, tensions are high and loyalties are always in question. My favorite parts of this book where the passages that focused more on the setting and action.

Unfortunately, the characters and romance fell flat for me. I never felt like I got to know the characters - they remained so surface level throughout the book. They never felt like real people to me! Since I care more about well-developed characters than action or romance, I was particularly disappointed in the fact that Pierre and Angelique never captured my attention. Although they had weaknesses and strengths, something about them still felt off. I was never invested in them, so it kept me from really connecting to the book overall.

I think that can be partially attributed to the romance. It was definitely the focus of the book, and I was so tired of hearing about their attraction to one another. I love some swoon, but I felt like there was more shared about their physical attraction to one another than moments that showed me why they wanted to be together. Furthermore, there were a number of obstacles in their path so it felt like a constant back-and-forth. There was something about their interactions that felt so repetitive!

Sadly, Captured by Love was probably my least favorite book from Hedlund so far. The setting and time period was so interesting, but the characters and romance frustrated me because I've come to expect more from this author. I wanted more character development and an exploration of their relationship - without so much focus on their attraction and the things keeping them apart!
*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way for my review.

2 comments:

  1. The synopsis and the promise a great read and I personally love historical fiction. But I can see how a poorly developed character could ruin the book for you.
    So sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy it! I've added Unending Devotion to my TBR so hopefully I'll get to sample Hedlund's writing style soon.

    Hope your next read is better, Hannah! :)

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  2. Oh dear! I felt like this one definitely had the potential to be romantic, and a good story at the same time. I'm sad that it didn't work for you, and instead fell flat, especially when she's a writer you've enjoyed before. Here's to hoping her next book hits it out of the park for you (and that your next read, whoever it is by, definitely does too)!

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