Captured by love, Jody Hedlund’s latest offering was once again a well done, and seemless historical fiction novel that I have come to expect from her...moreCaptured by love, Jody Hedlund’s latest offering was once again a well done, and seemless historical fiction novel that I have come to expect from her writing. I thought that this particular novel did a wonderful job with the historical element and the British occupation of Michilimackinac Island (what we know as Mackinac Isnalnd) in 1814. All of the true to life landmarks and situations that she wove into the story are explained in the back of the book and her “author’s notes” at the end are always my favorite part as I realize the artistry that Jody uses to bring her historical fiction a ring of truth. As a historical fiction reader, I truly enjoy that.
But onto the characters- the lovely Angelique with a hard past, an unfaithful mother whose decisions and choices always make her question if she is just like her mother? Her cruel step –father fosters these doubts as he makes sure she is clothed in such a way that no one pays her much mind – plain and everything buttoned up. She lives in constant fear that he will sell her off in marriage to the highest bidder as he had done with her sister. However, Angelique has given her pledge of marriage to a kind friend since childhood Jean, who has since left the Island to go and fight for the Americans. There’s just one problem, she has never really loved Jean in a romantic way, that was more reserved for his older brother Pierre who is a bit more of a rogue. Pierre is that “bad boy turning good” type of character who has been out on the fur trading circuit and lived a bit large. He is that cheeky sort and he is delightfully confident in himself , still falls a bit over his own pride, but a very loveable character overall. Having left the Island long ago to pursue his Fur trading, he is returning to check in on his mother and runs into Angelique. When he left her, she was a young girl, but returning home shows him that she was become a most beautiful grown up woman. Angelique attracts him not just for her beauty and red curls, but the fact that she has been taking care of his mother, who in his absence has gone blind and made things around his childhood farm difficult to keep up with.
There are many difficulties for Angelique and Pierre- Angelique’s pledge and duty to Jean, her love for staying on the Island and Pierre’s love for fur trading which would take him far away from Angelique and the Island. Many hurdles to jump over for this couple, make the story unique and interesting. They both in their own way learn to lay down their wants and desires and seek out God’s plan for their future. It was such an interesting contrast as one had to lay down selfishness and the other trying to do things out of duty- a fun story for sure. And as mentioned above- the historical aspect was interesting and played into the story seamlessly. This one is full of romance for sure so for those in for a great historical Christian fiction romance, I think you will really love it.
This book was given to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. (less)
Admittedly, I am a fan of “all things Jane”- Jane Austen, Jane Eyre and yes ,even Jane Erstwhile from Austenland. And so to see another wonderful “Reg...moreAdmittedly, I am a fan of “all things Jane”- Jane Austen, Jane Eyre and yes ,even Jane Erstwhile from Austenland. And so to see another wonderful “Regency era” novel called Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot, arrive on the scene , well let’s just say it very much pleases my Austen-like sensibilities.
We meet 28 year old Alethea Sutherton, our heroine and a virtual spinster in this time frame, as she is unmarried and absolutely not wishing to be, which of course makes her an unconventional character from the get-go. Instead Alethea’s dreams are to be a master at the violin and move to Italy where she might study under true masters without ridicule. The violin of course was not seen as an instrument fit for women to play as it was considered unladylike, because an elbow might be seen and that in Regency England is a bit scandalous. Enter in Lord Dommick and his quartet who is down one player due to the war, , also a violin player and of the opinion that women should not be playing the violin…until he actually hears Alethea play. And even, Lord Dommick or “Bay” as his friends call him can see the depth of her talent. One element that adds to her playing is the unique and beautiful sound of her violin. It turns out that there is a mystery surrounding this violin as someone wants to steal it and works very hard to do so. As this puts Alethea and her family in harms way, Bay steps in to help protect her and a relationship starts to form.
There are many aspects to this story that I really enjoyed, obviously the conflict of the two main characters and the things they have to do to overcome to even begin a relationship. Bay is a man that is working so hard to hide secrets as he struggles with some post traumatic stress from his time in the war and fights to keep control in all situations. Because of times where he couldn’t, a former fiancé dubbed him the “Mad Baron” and he has been fighting that stigma and trying to do everything he could to right his family’s standing in society especially for his sister’s sake so that she would have a chance to marry well. Alethea on the other hand has all but given up caring what those around her think of her and only wants to escape to Italy where she can pursue her musical dreams. And so Bay ,who thinks he will never marry because of his secrets and Alethea .who has no idea of ever marrying and is only biding her time until she can leave for Italy , somewhow make an unlikely couple.
I thought this story was very well executed and had all the elements that I love in a good Regency novel plus a little bit more. In the Regency novels that I have enjoyed, it usually centers around a strong female character who is making the best of her situation which is usually not an optimal one for her based on the time frame and the fact that she is a woman. But through her strength of character, she is able to pull through. We definitely see that in the character of Alethea . Besides Alethea, Camille Elliot manages to give us other really interesting characters with some good depth to them, witty dialogue, and a lot of excitement and mystery surrounding the violin thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed how both characters seemed to really help and compliment each other just by being who they were. And so I would recommend this one to those “fans of all things Jane” like myself. It was a lovely read!
I was given a complimentary copy of this novel by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m that person that …occasionally…..runs a little late. When arriving at parties it’s socially acceptable to be “fashionably late”...moreOk, I’ll admit it. I’m that person that …occasionally…..runs a little late. When arriving at parties it’s socially acceptable to be “fashionably late”, which I often am. However sometimes you might miss the best part of the party if you are too late. I have to say that I’m “late” in joining the party on those who have read and enjoyed A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert, and after reading this book, I feel like -wow- I wish I would have read this one earlier, it’s filled with great characters, an interesting storyline and so much- “wow, that’s so true” dialogue. So now that I am fashionably late to discovering this book, it does not diminish it’s enjoyment or impact for me, this was a good one.
The characters are as the book title suggest Broken and Beautiful- Ivy, an aging out supermodel - mind you she’s about to hit the ripe old age of 25- is a heroine unlike most you find in this genre, but there is something about her that you just really care about what happens to her. Her back story is a bit heartbreaking as the novel opens and she is at her estranged father’s funeral. She is a young woman who just never quite felt loved and so with her beautiful outside she would seek it out in all the wrong places leading to relationships with men that meant nothing. Her walls were way up and no one ever really knew the real Ivy. In a last ditch effort to try and revive her career, her agent and uncle, get’s her a shoot with her Stepmother Marilyn who happens to own a lovely little Bridal shop in Greenbrier South Carolina called Something New, which is a far cry from her usual stomping grounds in New York City. She is desperate though and out of work ,so off she goes to this job with her walls of armor up high and strong against anyone trying to get in. Next, we meet Davis Knight a former up and coming fashion photographer who had all the makings of skyrocketing to the top of the fashion industry, but left his big job in New York because of an accident to his sister that has filled him with guilt and a feeling that he should never pick up a camera again. However ,he does serve as the fashion photographer for Ivy’s shoot as the proceeds are going to go to directly help his sister with an art program for her at a local college. He rediscovers his love for photography and his amazing talent shows through his work producing the best pictures Ivy has ever taken. In all of this a relationship starts to brew between the two, although not in the normal way that Ivy is used to having with a man.
There are so many aspects to this novel that I absolutely loved- the power of forgiveness being one and the idea that God’s forgiveness covers it all and all guilt can be laid down right at the foot of the cross. The pacing to this novel was flawless as we see the character of Ivy develop and grow- her journey from the beginning of the book to the end was one that pulled the reader in and by the end the tears were flowing. I also loved the fact that the “hero” of the book had his issues to sort through as well. In a manner of speaking, “Miss Abandoned" meets “Mr Guilt-ridden” and because of who God is in their lives, they can find the love and the forgiveness they need through God to heal. And for those of you that are “fashionably late” like me to discovering this book- I truly hope that you will enjoy this as much as I did. This one goes on the favorites shelf and I look forward to reading more great books like this one from Katie Ganshert.
I was graciously given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.(less)