Monday, March 25, 2013

Forsaken Dreams - MaryLu Tyndall

Forsake Dreams book cover
Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall
Series: Escape to Paradise #1
Publisher: Barbour Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new Utopian community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret—and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for? (from Goodreads)

Historical fiction is always fun to read when it's done well. Though Forsaken Dreams has a few odd moments, it's a good example of the genre with its references to the Civil War and its effects on many people after the fact. I was unsure of how to feel when I started this, but by the end, I was definitely a fan.

Eliza is a feisty female character, which I enjoyed. I liked her a lot, because she was strong and steady in the face of trouble. She managed to show consistent empathy, kindness and compassion to everyone, in spite of how they treat her (which isn't always nice). It was very easy to see why Blake was drawn to her, in spite of her "dark secret" (which really is a secret that affected the entire ship). 

I also liked Blake! He's is pretty much the typical alpha male, except that he's suffering from PTSD after being a part of the Civil War. His bouts of hallucination and bad dreams make him feel weak, and it broke my heart to witness his suffering. He's a good leader, and does his best to keep everyone in good spirits. He acts very objectively, and is completely courteous to all the single women on the ship.

Speaking of single women, I was a big fan of the friendship between all three of them - Eliza, Angeline and Sarah. They were incredibly supportive of each other, and became such trustworthy companions, and I loved that. Their mutual respect and understanding was heartwarming.

Of course, there's a bit of romance in this book too, between our two main characters, and it was charming but also extremely frustrating. I was rooting for them to get together from the beginning, but they kept running into various problems and I just wanted to smack everyone and everything that got in their way! It was easy to understand Blake's hesitation at the revelation of her secret, really, but other than that, everything else that stopped them made me so, so angry because I just wanted to them to be together already.

Majority of Forsaken Dreams happens on board a ship. It was interesting to read about their adventures on the sea, both the good moments (the parties, the beautiful views) and the awful ones (seasickness, crazy storms and enemy attacks). The author certainly knew her way about a ship, as I felt the whole experience was described authentically while not being too bogged down by technical details. It was fascinating to read, but I definitely would not want to be on their ship because of all the crazy stuff that went on.

I also adored that this was set a little after the Civil War had happened, since I don't read too many books of that particular time. The reader gets to see the effects that the war has on most of the characters, and I think the author did a great job balancing fact (with information to be found in her author's note at the end) and fiction. The little nuances and each character's personal experience definitely helped me to enjoy the book more.
When I started Forsaken Dreams, I honestly wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy it. The first few chapters are a bit confusing, since the flashback method is employed. But once I had gotten past it and realized how concerned I was for these characters, I just knew that I was liking this book. Forsaken Dreams is an interesting, well-written foray into historical fiction (though more on the fiction side, than the historical side), with likable characters and a few crazy moments. I really enjoyed it, and I think that any historical fiction fan probably will too.

12 comments:

  1. I've never heard os this book, or the series, before. I kind of like books set aboard ships (no idea why), so I am definitely intrigued. I totally understand about wanting the two characters to just get together already. That's something that frustrates me in a lot of romances. I just want to shout "Oh my gosh, talk this out and just get together!"

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    1. Quinn, you TOTALLY get me! I do love it when I can sense the tension between two characters - but it also frustrates me when obstacles stand in their way. This book did that really well!

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  2. Oh cool I don't think I've read a book that was set on the sea before. IT's also the first time I hear of this one I kind of adore the cover! And the character dynamics between the girls sounds great I love when there's awesome friendship in books! I'm over these mean girl stories >.< Great review, Alexa!

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    1. I'm definitely one of those people who enjoys seeing nice, solid friends between women, instead of all the fighting (although that does happen!). It's always refreshing to see them supporting one another.

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  3. Have you read The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook? It's steampunk, so I bring it up because the way you describe the elements of this book that you liked or frustrated you--the characters, the way their coming together kept running into problems--reminded me of what I swooned over in The Iron Duke. I think I shall have to look more carefully at this title! And that cover is so pretty, too.

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    1. I haven't, but I'm totally looking it up on Goodreads. I haven't read very many steampunk titles, to be honest, but I would be up for giving it a try. I do trust your recommendations :)

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  4. I noticed you were reading this a while back, and thought it sounded good! I love books set on ships, and I love historical fiction. You're right about this being a rare time period in books, so I'm also excited about that. I'm not a huge fan of frustrating romance, though, so I'm a little iffy about this one. :)

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    1. Oh, trust me, the romance in this one is SO FRUSTRATING. I wanted to clobber each of them over the head at one point - but it turned out okay in the end.

      I do hope you still give it a try though! It's a pretty fantastic book, even with the romance.

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  5. It's always nice when an author can give you a good sense of the location without being too technical. This sounds like a good read!

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    1. For sure! I think this is especially difficult with a boat, because of course, you're trying to explain all the usual processes and all. But she does it really well!

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  6. The Civil War was my area of focus in college & any book set during that time period instantly catches my eye. The fact that it's set during the aftermath is the icing on the cake: so often I've come across novels taking place during a particular battle, but it's rare to find one showing how the survivors pick up the pieces are find a way to carry on.

    Also: a ship? AWESOME.

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    1. Yes! I thought that was very interesting as well, since usually we read about what goes on during or before the war. Reading about the aftermath was definitely something different.

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