Monday, June 8, 2015

Review - Love's Rescue by Christine Johnson

Love's Rescue
By Christine Johnson
Keys of Promise series, Book #1
Published by Revell
352 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance
About this book:
"Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle?

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws you into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.
As a South Floridian, the summary of this book immediately caught my interest. A Christian historical novel set in the Florida Keys? Yes, please! It is so rare that I see historical novels set in Florida, especially novels set in the 1800s. While I've never been to the Florida Keys, I could picture the plant life and ocean shores described in the book quite well as it's not too different from the coastal areas of the part of Florida that I'm from. Oh, and let me not forget to mention that the story started with something us Floridians despise - that's right, the dreaded hurricane!

Set in 1846, the story starts with Elizabeth having to leave Key West in a few days to travel to Charleston where she is expected to secure a prominent match. But Elizabeth loves a man in Key West who her parents don't approve of: wrecker Rourke O' Malley. In her last attempt to change her future before she must leave for Charleston, Elizabeth and her brother Charlie venture out into a storm to try to find Rourke. However, Elizabeth's choice to go out during the storm ends with consequences she never expected.

Four years later, after her mother's death, an unwed Elizabeth journeys home with her aunt after her long stay in Charleston. On her voyage home she finds herself in a situation from which she needs rescuing, and her rescuer is none other than Rourke, than man she left behind. However, her homecoming is not a happy one. Her brother resents her, her father still does not approve of Rourke, and her aunt is trying to turn her into someone she doesn't want to be. While her father and aunt try to force her into a marriage to a man she despises, Elizabeth discovers family secrets that shatter everything she knows about her family. Will Elizabeth do what is expected of her, or will she follow her heart and her dreams?

Love's Rescue drew me into the story from the very beginning and it had enough action and mystery in it to where I did not want to put it down. I thought the author did a good job with the characters and I wanted to find out what was going to happen to them. I enjoyed the unique setting and I learned about some new things, such as wrecking in the Florida Keys and how the wreckers were seen as not being much better than pirates. The story had good themes of forgiveness, redemption, and self-sacrifice. Overall, I really liked it and would be interested in reading the next books in this series when they are published.

A couple notes on the content: There are mentions of an affair in the book. Also, as this book does take place before the end of slavery, there is prejudice against slaves and free black people by some characters, and the term "darkie" is used more than once.

*I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review.