Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hope Westcott was ready for her fairy-tale life as the wife of Lord Falkland as she slipped aboard his ship to surprise him. She was ready to enjoy the prestige, but even more, the love that she had longed for all her life. Instead, he turned against her and let her be taken to the slave auction in this squalid port of St. Kitts. Being sold as a slave! How could she have ever sunk this low?!
Happily someone comes to Hope's rescue. otherwise this would have been a short or extremely dismal story. Her knight in shining armor is someone she often snubbed back in Charles Towne because he is just a common merchant, a hard-working man who was beneath her. Yet his Christian "duty" leads him to sacrificially pay for her redemption. So Nathaniel Mason undertakes a most exasperating adventure to return Hope to her home. Of course, along the way, he and Hope both are changed forever.
In her second novel about the Belles of Charles Towne, the lovely daughters of Admiral Westcott, MaryLu Tyndall scores big once again. Her historical fiction is spot on, as far as I can tell, anyway, in its authenticity and historic details. Set in the early 1700's she plunges herself and her readers deep into the culture of the day. You can feel the dust, the wind, the darkness; you can smell the sea, the rain, and the putrid garbage in the ugly sections of St. Kitts. You can also feel the emotions of the characters, from rage to deep love and compassion, from icy coldness to strong passion. Mrs. Tyndall is the whole package as a writer: her characters are well-developed, complex, and believable; the action is superb and often breath-taking; while we expect certain developments to take place (she is, after all, writing romance!), there are quite a few surprising events and changes throughout the story. And as is always true in her novels, the details, the descriptions, are the best I've ever read. I've already alluded to some examples, but this author appeals to all the senses in her stories. We as readers experience it all, good and bad; we are utterly immersed in this world.
She also succeeds in making us, or at least me, care about some characters that really didn't seem that lovable at first. Like Hope, who was a snobbish rich girl always throwing herself at men, embarrassing her family, and not seeming to care about anyone but herself. Then there's a woman on the ship with her, a very pregnant lady, who seems so cold and snooty at first. This is just one of the lessons of the book to make us look at things from God's perspective. The God factor is evident everywhere in the novel, another great point in my opinion. God and Jesus aren't introduced in a forced or preachy way, though; the spiritual is integral to the characters, their growth, and the plot itself. Lessons have to do with the true gospel, our need for God's love above all else, learning to love as God does, trust, prejudice, prayer, faith, and so much more. So many parts of the book struck me with the beauty of the truth that MaryLu Tyndall imparts through her characters.
In case you can't tell, I highly recommend The Blue Enchantress. It's an adult novel, but I know teenage girls will love it, too. Anyone who loves historical fiction or romantic novels will enjoy it for sure.
For more information on this book and much more, check out MaryLy Tyndall's website, and her blog, The Cross and the Cutlass . She has a lot of really great resources about ships, pirates, and all the other things she has researched for her books.
To buy The Blue Enchantress, you can try nearly any Christian bookstore or major bookstore like Borders. To order online, try Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble.