Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Captured by Love Review

Jody Hedlund
     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 the 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 circumstances o 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 lie and how much they'll risk for love.
   To be honest, the first thing that attracted me to this book was the fact that the story takes place on Mackinac Island, which is the location of one of my favorite films. Also, I haven't read a lot of books that take place in America in the early 1800s, so I thought it might be a nice change from the usual cheesy westerns and Victorian romances that one usually sees on the Christian fiction market these days.
   I don't want to say that this book is a complete dud, because it's really not. It does have potential, but for me it was a disappointment. However, I don't think it was so much that the book on its own is boring that made me decide to not finish it. I think I'm just plain sick of the Christian romance genre in general. I read a lot of Christian fiction-- and I mean a lot. Especially since I began reviewing books. And while a lot of Christian historical fiction is amazing, most of it is just....boring. It seems like people are running out of ideas, and so many romance novels seem to follow the same pattern of events that you feel like if you've read one, you've read them all, and you feel inclined to quote Scarlett O'Hara.
  This is the first book of Jody Hedlund's that I've read, so I can't say I don't like her as an author in general, but I must say her style isn't my favorite. In Captured by Love, as with many romances I've read, I felt like there was too much emphasis on the physical attraction between Pierre and Angelique. There was too much description of how handsome Pierre was, how beautiful Angelique was, and how they couldn't resist each other. I don't want an author to tell me how good-looking the hero is-- I want to be able to know for myself just from reading about him. Let his actions speak for him. And no, I don't want to read about how he's constantly running his hand through his wavy dark hair.
   (Actually, on that note, I have to say that while I was reading this my sister was also reading another book by Jody Hedlund and the man in that book had the same habit of running his hand through his hair-- only, according to Sadie, he 'jammed his hand through his hair', sometimes so forcefully that it looked like he was about to pull it out. Well, I thought it was funny.)
   So I can't say I was impressed with Captured by Love. Like I said, the story had potential, but I'd rather spend my time reading something more powerful and not so common.
My rating: 5 out of 10
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.



  1. She looks SO much like Mary Smith in Cranford!

    The book doesn't sound too good, but still THAT cover makes me want to try it. COVERS are my one weakness.

  2. Oh my goodness, she does, doesn't she! That didn't occur to me until you said that, but yes, I can totally see how she looks like Mary. Yes, the cover is very pretty. Covers can be misleading. :-P

  3. I'm glad I found someone else who's a little tired of Christian historical fiction seeming to be all the same.

    "I want to be able to know for myself just from reading about him. Let his actions speak for him. And no, I don't want to read about how he's constantly running his hand through his wavy dark hair."

    I feel like this needs to be told to every Christian fiction author.

  4. This is exactly why I REFUSE to read most Christian fiction. Bleh. Usually I can predict the story just from the cover. . .so they have no appeal to me. (the covers, that is.) Um, airbrushed girl staring at horizon while handsome young man stands longingly in background. NO. :P Usually it's cheesy, cheap, badly written romance with shallow characters that love each other for their beauty. (hahaha, I cracked up at the "hair jamming." :P lol ) Sometimes for fun my sisters and I have actually sat around making up descriptions for Christian romance: (for ie) "When young Charlotte O'Donnell moves in with her crotchety grandmother, she realizes her fate: she is destined to be lonely, an old maid to the end of her days. Then the abandoned farmhouse at the edge of town is purchased by a quiet--but handsome--stranger. When flooding threatens to overrun the valley, it's up to Charlotte. . .and the man she secretly loves. . .to save the town." >cough< Not bad, eh? ^_^ Now to add a sappy cover (doesn't matter how poorly written the content is, I've captured everyone's attention. . .sure to be a best seller.) :P hehe Anyway--so yeah. I had some fun here. ;) But now you know that I HATE Christian fiction/romance. ;) Good review.

  5. One more comment, then I'll stop! ;) Like you said, I want to know a character for the person he/she is. I want to be drawn to them because of their struggles, their pain, their valor, their personality. Forcing the reader to love a character based on their looks is cheap. Plus its really bad writing. Really bad. 1) There is no character development. 2) There is no bases or foundation for the character or plot-line. 3) The story MAY have potential, but the hero/heroine is bland and boring. 4) Ugly people can do great things too. . .oh yeah, and they are worth marrying. :P 5) A character with nothing but looks is shallow. Conclusion? Poorly written, cheap fiction. :P Sorry, this is just a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I am attracted to very real, deep feeling, emotionally-drawing stories. I want the life sucked right out of me, crying on the floor in a mess of emotion. :P Not really. But I like "dark"--not in a morbid way, just in a very realistic way. I want to feel and know the characters, want them to be real people. People I can relate to, people I could sit and have a good conversation with. It's nice that so-in-so is handsome and has dark wavy hair. . .but he is passionless. He has no soul. Sure, books like this can be feel-good, but it's so dangerous, especially for a younger audience, to fall into the fantasy of a picture-perfect love story. I hope that most Christian young ladies aspire to more than just looks in a man. Whatever happened to heroes? I'm so hyped up right now (plus I'm drinking coffee. . .bad combo, :P ) I MAY write up a blog post. ;)

  6. Michaela,
    Your comments really made me smile, because you expressed SO many of the same feelings I have when it comes to Christian fiction. I really don't hate most Christian fiction-- actually, I have a kind of fondness for a lot of it (although lots of it is just plain trash, like you said). I like a lot of Christian authors, but I agree, lots of times they just come up with a cheap story and slap a pretty cover on it. Totally loved your story outline. ;-P My sisters and I do that sort of thing all the time-- we love to poke fun at the Love Comes Softly movies (known in our house as just 'the love movies') by switching around the words in the titles-- Love's Abiding Legacy, Love's Unending Dream, ect. It's really quite hilarious. Sometimes Sadie and I look through the CBD catalogs and laugh at the titles. :-)
    I first got hooked on historical fiction at the tender age of twelve, when I read Lynn Austin's Candle in the Darkness and discovered my favorite author, which literally changed my life. Since I hadn't read anything else in the genre, I thought all Christian fiction must be as amazing as Lynn Austin's books. Well, it's not. There are only a few Christian authors who are really good storytellers-- Stephanie Grace Whitson and Siri Mitchell are some of my other favorites. But yeah, the word that I most often use to describe most romance authors is 'lame'. And all that Amish fiction makes me nauseous.
    The lack of character development is a HUGE pet peeve of mine also!!!! Oh my goodness! I'm never drawn to characters who are just 'nice' and stay that way-- they're just boring, and there's nothing to really draw me in to their stories. I love characters who are more edgy-- who have rough or painful histories, who've weathered bad times and seem like real genuine people. I just finished reading Lynn Austin's Hidden Places for the fifth time this morning, which is my absolute favorite book in the whole world and has some of the best character development I've ever read.
    East of Eden has possibly the best character development of any novel I've ever read-- you've probably heard me mention it a few times. :-P I tend to rant about it. It's just so awesome.
    YES, ugly people can do great things. I love reading about ugly heroines, because they're usually the ones with the most character. I can't stand it when the heroines are always described as being so gorgeous. And they always seem to have curly hair these days-- I'm going to write a book about a girl with ramrod-straight hair.
    But yeah, I really loved your comments! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me! And I would definitely love to read a blog post with more of your views on the subject. :-)


  7. Interesting conversation you are having here girls, but you must here my opinions on the matter! Emma is used to this. :P

    I understand what you mean! But for me... well, I love Christian romance books. Most of them anyway. Almost all the ones I've read, anyway. And well... about a pretty heroine and a handsome hero, I think it's romantic and I like romantic things. :-) I personally think MANY characters in these novels have great characters! Maybe that's because I read so much Lynn Austin, heehee.

    I just love a mushy, soppy as you call 'lame' book sometimes, even though it can be a bit... lame.

    I agree with you on Amish fiction though... that can really be nauseous. I could go on but I've got to go because Mrs Patmore is calling me... um, yeah... I just have to go now.

    ~ Naomi

    PS Perhaps if I'd read more than basically only Lynn Austin I would agree on more of your points Micheala. But you should try Lynn Austin and I'll bet you'll change a little!

  8. One more point: I agree, I hate it if they just love each other for their beauty. But pretty people doesn't matter to me. Ugly people neither though. :-) I like them all, as long as they are well written!


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