Baltimore, 1812--people are getting fed up with Americans being impressed into the British navy, and the grumblings are of war. Marianne Denton loves her country--and hopes she can somehow find a way to fund a privateer to both help in the war effort and provide for her sick mother and small sister. Their father left them with a stack of debt, and Marianne can't access her inheritance until she weds.
Hence her betrothal to the awful Noah Brenin. She wants nothing more than to get out of the engagement--but as it is the only way to afford the medicines her mother needs, she intends to see it through. At least until the careless man walks out on their engagement party, saying he must set sail straight away. Furious at the spectacle he has made of them, Marianne storms after him, all the way to the harbor and its menacing dark waters. All the way onto his ship.
Noah Brenin has no use for the high-and-mighty Marianne who was always obnoxious in her wealth. Their fathers arranged the betrothal for obvious reasons--his wants her dowry, and hers knew no other man would ever come forward for the plump, unpleasant girl. But if he can get his cargo to England straightaway, he'll make enough profit that he won't need her wealth--and he'll be able to end the engagement. He doesn't believe for a moment that they'll soon be at war with the British, or that the British are really doing the monstrous the things others say.
At least, he doesn't believe it until a British man-of-war comes after his ship. Unable to get away, thanks to the stowaway Miss Denton and her nefarious schemes, he finds himself impressed--and his betrothed with him.
Only under the darkest of circumstances can both face their fears, and come to see the truth about one another. Only through pain and trial do they come to realize that faith is not about seeing evidence of God, but rather about hoping in those unseen things. And that He intends for them something great--something that could change the course of history.
MaryLu Tyndall never ceases to amaze me. I was intrigued right away, not only because of the awesome premise of the book, but because I loved the fact that her characters despised one another at first. Both found the other totally obnoxious--and both had good reason for their opinions, though they were all rooted in the past. I loved seeing how Marianne and Noah had grown and changed over time, and how their spirits shone through the circumstances as the unthinkable befell them.
As always, this author delivers adventure and romance on the high seas, with a knowledge of all things marine that makes it clear she knows her stuff without overwhelming the reader. She does a wonderful job of painting the horrors surrounding the War of 1812 without making all the British out to be monsters. And also as always, there is a touch of the supernatural within to leave the reader warm and fuzzy with how our awesome Father looks after us.
I have adored MaryLu's previous books, but I must say that Surrender the Heart is my new favorite. You just can't beat characters unaware of their own worth, an unparalleled romance, and the action I have come to expect from MaryLu. I am eagerly anticipating her next book, and may just sigh over the gorgeous cover of this one whenever I need to remember how wonderful a high-spirited, Godly romance can be. =)
And since you are all obviously totally in love with this book (mwa ha ha ha), I'll point out that it's one of the 190 being offered in the book signing bash. So click on that banner up top, and you can order a signed copy! Cool, huh? =)