Monday, June 15, 2015

My Review: Love's Rescue

I really like this cover, even though it isn't historically accurate.  It's still really pretty and I love the model's dress!


When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her crippled brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the upright man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to do her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

About the Author:                                                                       Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist for Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God's majestic creation. These days, she and her husband, a Great Lakes ship pilot, split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys. 

My Review: 3 stars
Love’s Rescue is the first book in Christine Johnson’s new, Keys of Promise series.  Having never read her books, I had no idea what to expect.  I was hoping for compelling characters, an intriguing storyline, and well-researched historical details.  Though I found all of those to some extent, my expectations weren’t exceeded, merely met.  

Christine has definitely done her research for this book and I loved the historical details.  Some might find them tedious, but I’m a detail person, so that was great for me.  Her descriptions and prose were also excellent.  I could almost smell the sea breeze and touch the tamarind tree that grew outside Elizabeth’s window.  Her depictions were so vivid and original.  For example, “Her emotions twisted and tumbled like a sheet in the wind.”  That is such an apt description, but not one I would have ever thought of using. 

I confess, I struggled to get into the story, at first.  The beginning seemed to drag on a bit and I kept finding reasons to delay reading any further.  It took until about a third of my way into the book before it really grabbed my interest.  Then I found I didn’t want to put it down.  The story actually does flow quite well, minus the beginning.  With some suspense thrown it, it sped up for a short time, then evened back out to a fairly satisfying ending.  I had needed a reason to cheer the characters on and I didn’t have one at the start, but found one later on, when their pursuits came to light.
Elizabeth Benjamin is the heroine of the story and I honestly didn’t like her very much.  She came across as spoiled and extremely selfish.  I really wanted someone to shake her and tell her to grow up!  She was supposed to be twenty in 1850, but she seemed so childish for most of the story.  She does grow throughout the story and learns to put others before herself (a large part of the moral), but I still didn’t connect with her.  Most of the story comes from her perspective and after so many pages of her self absorbed focus, I was ready to move on.  She had my apathy from the beginning and unfortunately, it never really switched to sympathy.   

Rourke O’Malley is a great hero: loving, selfless, strong, brave.  He doesn’t give up, doesn’t quit in his pursuit of loving well those around him.  There were a few times that I honestly wondered what he saw in Elizabeth.  He was everything she wasn’t.  I’m also still trying to figure out why he waited four years for her.  He supposedly fell in love with her before she left, but he barely knew her and right up to the day before her ship sailed, he had considered her a little sister.  I found that very strange and it made the romance rather awkward for me.  In return, her love was that of a besotted teenager, rather than a woman.  She wanted to be with him no matter what, but she hadn’t seen him in four years and had been mostly ignored by him in the years prior to that.  The highlight of the romance for me was when he opens her eyes to sacrificial love.  A line that is repeated several times and is the turning point for Elizabeth is, “Love does right even when it hurts.”  - Rourke O’Malley   I loved that line and the reminder of what real love is - not the sappy, happily-ever-after endings, but sacrifice.  Putting another’s needs before your own.  It also shows Christ’s love for us, His beloved.
Another overarching theme throughout the story is forgiveness.  Christine did a great job of highlighting it, without overwhelming the story.  I wish the ending would have been different, that Elizabeth had given her father the forgiveness he desired.  Though she does in an offhand way, I think it would have made a larger impact had the words been spoke in a straightforward manner.  I could be wrong, since that is simply my impression and opinion. 

Overall, this book was okay.  I’m going to be honest and say that it isn’t one I would reread.  It was good and had some important life lessons, but they were overshadowed by my dislike of the heroine.  I would recommend it to someone who is a huge fan of historical fiction and is looking for a thought provoking read. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given.  I was not required to give a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

*Please note, I own no rights to the book or the quotations used within my review.  No infringement intended. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!

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