Book Review by Elva Cobb Martin www.elvamartin.com 3/30/13
Forsaken Dreams – author MaryLu Tyndale
MaryLu has done it again! If you’ve read any of her other series like Legacy of the King’s Pirates, Charles Towne Belles, or the Surrender to Destiny series you will know exactly what I mean. Forsaken Dreams is Book 1 of another exciting series, Escape to Paradise.
The heart-tugging story of Widow Eliza Crawford and decorated, war weary southern Colonel Blake Wallace begins somewhere in the Caribbean in May, 1866, just after the Union won the Civil War. We find Eliza on Blake’s ship, the New Hope, along with a cast of interesting characters, colonists-to-be, all preferring a new life in Brazil versus life in Charleston under the Yankee yoke.
Eliza and Blake are attracted to one another from the start. But both harbor secrets and painful pasts they want to forget and which threaten any dreams of a new beginning.
Eliza has been rejected by her southern family because she married a Yankee officer and by his family because she was southern. The only peace she found was serving as a nurse on the bloody field of battle. Since the war, and the death of her husband, she has suffered great distress and ostracism. She dreams of a new life in Brazil where no one will know her sad past. But one person on board remembers who she is and who she married.
Blake suffers from war nightmares and the loss of his entire family to Union soldiers’ cruelty, something he will never forget or forgive. Wanted by the Union for supposed war crimes, he organized the expedition to Brazil, and longs for a new life far from the horrors of war.
The two seem to be finding new love until a foolish, drunken young woman reveals to the shipmates Eliza’s marriage to a Union soldier. Then hatred like Eliza has seldom experienced breaks upon her, even Blake’s attitude toward her changes immediately.
The emotional wars Eliza and Blake both battle are further complicated by many troubles, hardships and even demonic attacks at sea. Will they survive and be able to forgive and love again? You are kept on the edge of your seat as wave after wave of challenges, interspersed with tender romantic interludes, separate them again and again.
In addition to the central story of Eliza and Blake, the other colorful characters have their own stories the reader wants to hear more about. This is a crew with a medley of their own problems to solve, not so different from human troubles in any age. I look forward to MORE in this Escape to Paradise series.
Besides an engrossing read, MaryLu’s creative writing gifts are so evident in Forsaken Dreams. Once again she proves her skills with deep point of view, endearing characters, emotional description, and movie-scene plotting that keeps you glued to the pages.
And like icing on the cake, by the end of Forsaken Dreams, you’re left with the warmth of the powerful spiritual messages of forgiveness and how active love and servant hood wins out over the hardest hearts. These two are woven throughout the story and renew your faith in God and man. And it may even prod you to pursue again your own Forsaken Dreams. Get the book! You’ll be glad you did.