Saturday, October 8, 2016

My Review: The Captive Heart

Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a brute of an employer. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met. Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer.

About the Author:
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog "Writer off the Leash" or visit

My Review: 2 stars
I’m going to be honest: this wasn’t a book I enjoyed very much. I’ve been a fan of Michelle Griep’s work since stumbling across her blog over a year ago and laughing my way through pretty much every post, so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I was so excited! And it’s a marriage of convenience story? Yes, I most definitely want to read it! Unfortunately, it didn’t quite meet my expectations, much to my dismay. I struggled to get into it, actually looking for excuses to not read, and sighing with relief when I reached a rather suspenseful part and the storyline picked dramatically. I rarely find novels set in Colonial times in America, so I was looking forward to that aspect of it, but found it sounded so much like another series I had read, that I fought to keep the two separate in my mind. I found myself checking the cover a time or two in order to verify the author’s name, otherwise I would’ve sworn it was an addition to the previous series.

Having only read one of Ms. Griep’s previous books I can’t claim to be any sort of expert, but this book sounded nothing like the style I’m familiar with for her writing. It was neatly written, with all of the necessary historical detail and descriptions to bring the scenes to life, but the contrast was so blunt that I had to wonder: was this even her writing? The first few chapters started out with such promise, meeting colorful and quirky characters, but then it just seemed to fall rather flat. I struggled to connect with any of the characters and quickly lost interest in the story. Eleanor often came across as spoiled and easily frightened and too uptight to possibly survive in the wilderness. She doesn’t seem to really adapt much at all to her surroundings, a fact that made the ending rather unbelievable and left me feeling disappointed. Much of the story is spent hoping she’ll accept the challenges of her new life and thrive, but she doesn’t appear to succeed. Samuel is the character I saw the most growth in and I looked forward to the story coming from his perspective, because it is what kept things moving ahead. The suspense and climax of the story are of his doing, so I knew something interesting had to arise whenever it switched to his view point. Several of the chapters seemed to consist of Eleanor left at home, struggling to survive, while Samuel went off somewhere to hunt. I’m sure this may have been reality, but I found it slowed the story down significantly and I really wanted them to spend more time together, to see their relationship grow. It did pick up around three-quarters of the way through the book, but by then I really wasn’t interested in knowing what would happen and simply wanted to reach the end.

I also found it confusing that Samuel called Eleanor by a different name and I actually forgot what her real name was for a while, since the story came from his perspective so often.

Overall, I can say that I finished this book. I didn’t enjoy every second of it and I’m not entirely sure I would recommend it to anyone, but I did finish it.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book! I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

It's not often I review a book I don't care much for, but unfortunately this book is one of the rare exceptions.  I always feel like a dreadful person when writing a poor review, because I know how much time, effort, and love goes into writing a book.  So I do apologize for not loving this book, but I've seen many excellent reviews for it, so please don't let my opinion be the only one you read.  There are links below, if you find yourself curious about the story and care to read another perspective.
Thank you for stopping and I hope your day is filled with smiles!


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1 comment:

  1. I actually am glad you posted an honest opinion and didn't sugarcoat it!
    There is one particular review blog I follow and it seems every book gets five stars... to me this isn't realistic.
    All the other reviews I have read of this book have been positive, but we all don't like the same things.