The Captain's Lady
by Louise M. Gouge (website)
Inspirational Historical Romance (Love Inspired, March '10)
Book Blurb: "He devoted his life to his country... and his love to a British lady." From the book cover.
On a scale of Vanilla to Dark Chocolate, this book is very Vanilla. Exactly what audiences of Steeple Hill Love Inspired expect from their books.
Eye-Roll Factor: 7/10
Some of the God-interactions were frustratingly unemotive and unnecessary. At times, it felt like faith was an unnecessary addition to the narrative, instead of the foundation undergirding it all. However, there were glimmers where the characters' interactions with God were believable and engaging, and drew me farther into the story instead of pushing me away. In general, much better than I expected.
The Cosmo Factor: 19/25
Marianne, as a heroine, shows signs (at times) of Anne Elliot's brilliance (from Austen's Persuasion), and in general, this book felt very Persuasion-esque. With the characters obviously in love from the beginning, but kept apart by outside circumstances and inner perceptions. Where Marianne failed as a heroine, she also succeeded. Her persistence was both endearing and slightly annoying. So while I appreciated her in the areas where she mirrored Anne Elliot (truly my favorite sea-faring heroine of all time), I don't think I could stand to sit down at a table with her for very long. In the Persuasion language, she was more of a Mary than an Anne. Not quite an Elizabeth. But definitely not Anne. All in all, she was engaging and readable, but did not make me want to know her on a personal level, nor read the book again.
The Dining Room to Bedroom Factor: 22/25
Jamie Templeton might be my new favorite sea-faring hero (although, if I"m honest, my heart will always belong to Frederick Wentworth). I so appreciated his character, his integrity, and his struggle. He was engaging as a hero, and on a level that I appreciate. There's nothing that frustrates me more than when romance novel heroes lack substance (i.e. they are nice to look at, but not much fun to be with). This was definitely not the issue with Jamie Templeton. He is a man of substance, and a man that I would as easily want to have staring into my eyes as I would want to listen to him talk (or talk while he listens to me). This is the kind of hero that really makes women want to read romance novels, in my opinion. The one that you want at your side as much as in your bed.
The Braveheart Factor: 9/10
Definitely consistent with what I know of this historical time period. I appreciated that it wasn't the same-old-same-old Regency story. I loved that it was set in England during the American Revolutionary War. A new twist for me, as a reader. One thing that really (and I mean, really) bothered me was that in a book with a main character named Marianne, there was also a character named Emma. I realize that not everyone is a Jane Austen freak the way I am, but as I saw those names, I immediately went to Austen. It's not like Persuasion, which is relatively unknown. I could read a story about an Anne and a Mary without immediately thinking Persuasion. But Marianne and Emma are just such unique names and are so attached to specific Austen characters... it was a distraction for me. Perhaps not for everyone, though.
The Nostalgia Re-Read Factor: 7/10
I may end up reading this again to get to spend some more time with Jamie Templeton in all his interpersonal hotness. But in general, this is not a book I plan to read again. I will, however, pass it along to my local library so others can have the pleasure of reading it. It was a good book, after all, so I give it points for that.
The Skim Factor: 9/10
Not much skimming going on. I will admit to skimming toward the end, out of impatience to find out what happened, but what I really appreciated about this book is that there was always something at stake. I never got lulled into a sense of boredom that necessitated skimming. That's a hallmark of good writing. Nice work to Ms. Gouge. It's difficult to hold someone's attention for 279 pages entirely, especially when you know from the beginning that they're both in love. Or mostly from the beginning. But it was great.
The Little People Factor: 8/10
Unlike the shorter Steeple Hill books, the Love Inspired Historical line has about 25,000 more words to it, so that tends to provide for more development of the minor characters (which is usually my biggest complaint about the shorter LI lines). I appreciated the extra length in this book. I still felt like it could have benefited from another 25,000 words to be really well-developed, especially when it came to some of the minor characters who played major roles in the plot. But all in all, I felt like this category was well-done. None of them stick out in my mind, though... which is not a good thing. Still... Jamie... aaaahhh... :-)
Overall Evaluation: 81/100
What really made me stop and look at it in the supermarket was the cover. Isn't that beautiful? Sometimes when you pick up books with beautiful covers, it's like buying a new computer because it looks pretty... you end up with a really beautiful-looking lemon. But that was definitely not the case with this book. This was a good Christian Historical Romance novel. For those of you who don't subscribe to Love Inspired Historicals, and instead pick them up randomly at Wal Mart, KMart, Target, or the supermarket or bookstore, I would suggest going out and getting this one. It's a very cool spin on a time period that I don't see much in historical fiction. If you enjoy this type of book, I think you'll spend a few good hours with Louise M. Gouge in The Captain's Lady.