Friday, April 5, 2013

Forsaken Dreams



Title:  Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise #1)
Author:  MaryLu Tyndall
Pages:  313
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Barbour Publishing
                Set in 1866, this novel follows the sea voyage to the eventual destination of several Southerners shortly after the end of the Civil War to escape the devastation the war left behind.  This is the first book in a series titled, “Escape to Paradise.”  The paradise the travelers are seeking is the country of Brazil where they might continue their way of life, try to attain Utopia, or some just want peace.
The story begins with great suspense and action.  There are sea battles, storms at sea, and other harrowing events that will capture the reader’s attention.  The passengers are chosen to take this journey based on the skills they will bring to this new colony in Brazil.  They are selected by the leader of the expedition Colonel Blake Wallace, a decorated soldier in the Confederate Army.  He is wanted by the Union Army to stand trial for his role in the war, then execution.  He has changed his name and uses his own money to finance most of the voyage.  He loathes any and everything that has to do with the North.  The Union soldiers killed his brother in a battle and the rest of his family when Sherman made his way through the Confederacy, burning everything in sight.  He suffers from what we call today post-traumatic stress disorder wherein he relives devastating scenes of war.  Can he learn to forgive?
Eliza Crawford is onboard to sail away from her own misfortunes.  She is shunned, called vile names and has been disinherited by her Southern family.  She is dead to them.  Why?  She married a soldier in the Union Army.  She has never believed in slavery, but grieves the loss of all she has known.  After her husband is killed in battle, she returns to the South and serves as a nurse for the Confederate soldiers for three years.  However, she also comes onboard ship with a different name and tries to keep her past as secret as possible for she knows how she will be treated by everyone if they find out…that is the life she is escaping.  She and Blake are immediately attracted to each other, but she knows nothing can come of it due to her past, or should she dare to dream?  Can she rely on God to do what is best?
There are several other passengers on the ship who also are not who they appear to be, using either a false name, credentials or lying outright.  The roles they once played in their former lives continue for some, but completely change for others…kind of like real life.  There is definite hostility, anger, hate, deception and prejudice among the passengers.  There is also forgiveness, love, friendship, and redemption.  These are just a sampling of the many emotions experienced while reading this story, which is what I liked.  I could relate to most of the characters’ actions and reactions, which is the sign of a good author.  I also had never heard of Southerners traveling to Brazil to begin a new chapter in their lives, which is another sign of a good author…to have the reader learn something.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and the author did a good job of making history exciting and adventurous.
My rating is 4 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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