Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall – My Review

Barbour Books (August 1, 2010)
Once again Tyndall has provided lush descriptions of both characters and places that entice not only the imagination but the physical senses of readers. We are transported to the seas disputed amongst the British and their now former colonists in America during the early 19th century (War of 1812). British military practice of “taking innocent prisoners” and forcing them into slave laboring as additional crew people on Navy vessels as well as recapturing “suspected deserters” exhibit the true sentiments of Britain towards their rebellious overseas subjects. Freedom and independence often prove elusive to the Americans since British authorities still consider these rebellious expatriates as vassals to their harsh dominion.

Marianne is convinced her father’s suicide proved his lack of care and love for his family. She refers to his leaving them repetitively throughout the book. His desertion left the family nearly destitute while her mother’s illness and needs demand attentive care as well as forcing Marianne to take on the role of caretaker for both her mother and younger sister. Since Marianne views herself as plain and unattractive to males she either rejects their attentions or assumes they prefer others to her so chooses not to subject herself to their consistent rejection. Her father and Noah’s have been close for years so the two of them spent a large amount of time together as children and carried unflattering opinions of one another due the sibling like rivalries and personality conflicts of their younger days. Despite the deep antagonism they harbor for one another their fathers’ were determined their children must form an alliance of the families through their marriage. Between Noah’s drive to prove himself to his father and Marianne’s need of funds to continue providing for her remaining family their fathers have forced them to consider the untenable prospect of a union for practical reasons. Marianne’s father has lost the majority of the family coffers through imprudent and lavish disbursements. Only Marianne’s dowry remains which will only be liberated from an inaccessible trust upon her marriage. Without the remainder of funds in this dowry the family needs can only be covered for a year at best. They eventually realize that a marriage in name is their only option though neither realizes that the money to save Marianne’s family from poverty and the loss of their remaining property as well as the funds for Noah to save his father’s merchant shipping operation are expected to come out of the Denton “fortune”. In order to preserve their own positions neither reveals their intentions for the money or their true financial status. Noah wants to preserve Marianne’s honor and prevent hurting her by convincing her to dissolve their engagement before a wedding ensues. Marianne attempts to maintain the appearance of an amicable relationship and prevent the ultimate tarnishing of the family name. Neither of them cares for the other with an honest concern yet as their paths are forced to intersect after over a decade apart they discover much that refutes their former views of one another. Within these revelations a more intimate concern evolves between them though both wish it were not so. Selfish motives soon are confessed to the other and naive expectations burst by truth. God also becomes the only refuge when they have no one left to talk to and discover they can only find fulfillment in the path He directs them to. (ISBN#9781602601659, 368pp, $12.99)

Visit MaryLu’s website and blog. Click the cover for more info and to purchase a copy. See what other FIRST reviewers are saying. Read an excerpt. Thanks to Barbour, MaryLu, and Camy Tang for a review copy.

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