Rebecca DeMarino’s debut novel, “A Place In His Heart” (Revell Publishers), is a touching work of historical fiction that weaves a true account of the author’s ancestors with a fictionalized tale of their migration to the New World in the 1600s. I’m sharing this review as a part of the current blog tour & giveaway – there’s over $300 worth of prizes available! To participate and enter, visit Rebecca’s blog: http://www.rebeccademarino.com/a-place-in-his-heart-giveaway/.
Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Puritan Barnabas Horton is still in love with his deceased wife and needs only a mother for his two young sons. And yet these two very different people with very different expectations will take a leap of faith, wed, and then embark on a life-changing journey across the ocean to the Colonies. Along the way, each must learn to live in harmony, to wait on God, and to recognize true love where they least expect to find it.
This heartfelt tale of love and devotion is based on debut author Rebecca DeMarino’s own ancestors, who came to Long Island in the mid-1600s to establish a life–and a legacy–in the New World.
The story of Mary and Barnabas is told over several years’ time, cataloging their trials and travels to the uncertainty of the New World. After establishing the characters and their initial relationship, the book jumps months or sometimes years ahead in the story, with a journal-like feel. This fact never takes away from the story or leaves gaps, but instead allows the story to flow while the characters grow. It reveals snippets or snapshots of Mary and Barnabas’ lives settling in to their new relationship and then making the voyage to America – all while Mary longs for Barnabas to truly love her.
Mary clings to her faith as she finds her place in her marriage to Barnabas and as a new mother to Joseph and Benjamin. Traveling to the New World is arduous, dangerous, and requires that they leave behind their parents and relatives. It is a great sacrifice and commitment on their part, to join in with their fellow man and establish a community in the New World. Mary and Barnabas’ main purpose in leaving is to escape the mounting religious persecution of the “non-conformers”, who simply with to read the Bible for themselves and follow God’s Word.
My only (slight) issue is that some dialogue felt unnecessary. A few times I noticed, the conversations between the characters could have been shortened by less “telling” and more “showing” – what the characters’ expressions and gestures could communicate instead of speaking. This in no way took away from the message of the story, however, and the beauty of God’s provision through trials.
This story emphasizes the importance of faith, perseverance, and trust. It shows that God’s love for us is immeasurable, and that He can work through circumstances that feel impossible. Rebecca’s author’s notes at the end of the book enhance the story. It’s so awesome that Mary and Barnabas were her real ancestors. She was able to research and learn their stories (mainly Barnabas’) before transforming it into this novel. I look forward to what’s next in The Southold Chronicles series!
Note: Thank you to the author for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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