I should probably change the title of this to a "Free for Me" Review. I bought this book for my Kindle app, and at the time I downloaded it, it was free. Probably a promotion by Ms. Tyndall, and in my opinion, a good one, because I'm a little bit considering buying more from her for my Kindle app. :) But let's get down to the review.
Today I'm into alliteration for some reason, so this may be the format you see for my reviews from now on.
The Point of the Plot:
Marianne Denton is being forced to marry her childhood tormentor Noah Brenin so she can access her inheritance and save her ailing mother. But Marianne's stubbornness leads her onto Noah's merchant ship and into one big adventure where Marianne and Noah discover what the really think about each other. (Read: Yay! More adventure on the high seas, albeit, without pirates--well, mostly.)
Basically Believable? * * * *
I'm giving this four out of five stars. First, why four stars? Because Ms. Tyndall's research and writing on the time period (War of 1812) is amazing. One of my favorite quotes (and you'll pick this out because I use it all the time) is from Emma Thompson on her screenplay for Sense & Sensibility. She said that if you get your reader involved with the plot, they won't wonder about the little things. This holds for "Surrender the Heart." If there are not so factual things going on, I didn't notice them. Believe me, that's rare for me. As a history major reading a romance, I expected to be saying, "Oh, no. That didn't happen. No, not like that." Not true at all. Okay, so why not five stars (because in reality, Ms. Tyndall deserved five for her research and realistic setting)? One little picky note on how her heroine reacted to a particular situation. A little SPOILER alert here: When Noah must leave Marianne behind on the British frigate, Marianne later blames him and believes "he abandoned her," when in reality she refused to trust him and follow him despite his begging. This reaction didn't feel believable to me.
Charismatic Characters: ***
I once read a writing tutorial that said when you're first in a new romance and you can't get that person off your mind, you're thinking about them all the time, that's a good thing. It's the same with characters in a book. If you're thinking about them in your time away from reading, that's a good thing. I was thinking about Noah, Marianne and the rest of the crew when I wasn't reading. So why only three stars? Because I didn't start needing to know until the second half of the book. During the first half I picked up and put down the book intermittently. But once I did get into it, I couldn't put it down. However, a note on the characters: only once in the book did a character act in a way that I didn't think was believable. People, this is hard to do. Kudos, Ms. Tyndall! All her characters acted in a way consistent with their actions throughout the book. I love it when an author does that right!
Yay or Yuck? (The Final Word): ****
Plot was totally believable, characters were lovable, reading was enjoyable. I would recommend it!
A Cautionary Tale: This is a Christian romance. My mom likes to categorize those into preachy and non-preachy. (You get the gist of what that means, right?) This one is a preachy Christian romance, so if you're not into that, beware. It's still good, though!
My favorite line: (Just after Noah has kissed Marianne for the first time) "But in that pleasure she also sensed a power that could rip her heart in two."
Buy "Surrender the Heart" on Amazon here. (There is also a paperback version available)
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I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.