17 July 2014

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

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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.

I love reading novels that bring to life periods of history I had previously neglected, and Jody Hedlund’s Captured by Love certainly does that. In my history classes, I do not remember learning all that much about Mackinac Island or the War of 1812, but Hedlund’s depiction surpasses anything I might have found in my generic history textbooks. She writes the history vividly, interestingly and authentically and doesn’t shy away from the hardships of the time, like the starvation, the quick punishment and mistreatment, the dangerous battle. At every turn, I felt captivated by this look into the past and I learned quite a bit.

In the midst of her fascinating historical representation, Hedlund seamlessly integrates and engages her fictional characters. Almost immediately, I liked the two main characters, Angelique and Pierre, who are well-developed, dynamic and real. The obstacles the war continually presents shapes the course of their relationship, and their banter is fun and witty, their embraces sweet and passionate, their circumstances challenging and complex. Full of unpredictable drama, action, adventure and romance, this story is wonderfully written and perfectly paced.

Overall, Captured by Love kept me captured from beginning to end, so I thoroughly enjoyed my first adventure into Jody Hedlund novels. If this novel represents the quality of her other work, I will most definitely be reading more from Jody Hedlund. Needless to say, I recommend Captured by Love to lovers of history and romance and thank Bethany House for providing me with the novel and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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