1653 – Heather Flower, Princess of the Montaukett tribe of Long Island, has been captured by a rival tribe, the Narragansetts. Dirk Van Buren, a Dutch lieutenant, has been sent by the English to pay the ransom and rescue her. The rescue is successful, but on the way back to her settlement, Dirk falls in love with Heather Flower.
Heather Flower is in mourning for her husband, who was slain by the fierce Narrangansetts during their wedding ceremony. Heather Flower and several other Montaukett young women are kidnapped and taken away. The Montauketts live in harmony with the English on Long Island, so the English Captain Gardner and Wyandauch, the Chief, send the bounty to free Heather Flower.
As Dirk and his company ready to leave Fort Amsterdam, they are met by Benjamin Horton and his brother, Joseph, who have been instructed to escort Heather Flower the rest of the way home. Dirk realizes, as she leaves, how deeply he has fallen. Benjamin and Joseph are friends of the family who are to bring Heather Flower to her father’s home in Montauk, but Heather Flower demures and insists on being taken to her Aunt Winnie’s house in Southold so that she will have time to mourn and heal. As they are traveling, we learn that Benjamin too is in love with Heather Flower.
How will Heather Flower recover from her mourning and how long will she take? What about Dirk and Benjamin? Are the Dutch and English at war or not at war? What about the other Indian maidens who were also kidnapped? How will this triangle play out?
To Capture Her Heart sums up what the entire book is about—the attempts of Dirk and Benjamin to win Heather Flower. We are reminded about their goals in every chapter if not more often. I eventually got irritated at the repetion and the “pining” the guys seemed to go through. The book seems to start in the middle. To know the full situation and background, you need to have read the first book in the series, A Place in His Heart. The character of Heather Flower was the most complex—we anguished with her in her loss and in her indecision about what to do with her two suitors, both of whom she cares for. DeMarino does present both of the men fairly equally, although Benjamin gets more print space. The customs of the time are pictured, but I felt the living seemed a lot easier than I would have assumed given the period of history. I give the book a generous four stars. If you like predictable romance in a historical setting, you’ll like this book.
Rebecca told me at our interview at the International Christian Retail Show last June that the books are based on her ancestors, several “greats” back. Heather Flower is a legend of the time and Ben Horton is based on an ancestor.
Although the DeMarinos live in Washington State across from Portland, Oregon, all of her detailed research was done in Long Island. She feels a strong connection to her ancestors and is very interested in genealogy. Her ninth great-grandfather, Barnabas Horton, whom we learn about somewhat in this book, was a Puritan who came to the New World with the goal of establishing a church and ministering to the Native Americans. The first book in The Southold Chronicles, A Place in His Heart, tells his story. Her forebears have kept a strong grounding in the Lord throughout their history. Rebecca says, “Who we are today is so based on our past—we don’t even realize how much.” Our struggles with race and diversity are not so different from past eras. “We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it.”
Rebecca was born in Florida, but as her father was a Navy pilot, they lived all over. He retired her sophomore year in high school. Her husband, Tom, was career Air Force, so they’ve lived a very nomadic life, including seven and a half years in Nebraska. She’s learned to “see the good in every place.” Rebecca worked as a customer service agent for a major airline for sixteen years.
She’s always wanted to write a novel, but thought perhaps the genre would be suspense. She got a job with a literary agent which allowed her to: 1) Study the craft of writing—she read over twenty books in the genre; 2) Take classes and read books about writing; and 3) Join a writing group. Through an “angel,” she got a contract in 2012. Her first book was published in 2014 by Revell and To Capture Her Heart in 2015.
The takeaway Rebecca would like people to learn from her books is “God created us all and came for us all.”