Rebecca DeMarino has written a trilogy of novels based on the 1600's history of Southold (Long Island, New York) and her own ancestors, Barnabas and Mary Horton. The three books include A PLACE IN HIS HEART, TO CAPTURE HER HEART, and TO FOLLOW HER HEART. Although any of the books can be read as a stand-alone book, there are connections among the books and I would recommend that readers plan to read all three books. The daily flow of life -- the ginger cakes, the way the women supported and encouraged each other, even the "dame" school and its lessons for the little girls -- captured my attention, and I enjoyed them more than the romances that are the essential plots of each book.
TO CAPTURE HER HEART begins in 1653 as Heather Flower, a Montaukett princess, is rescued from her captors, another native tribe. Having witnessed her husband tortured and killed by the kidnappers, Heather Flower must adjust to her life without him. As she begins to heal at the home of her aunt, she finds that both her rescuer Dutch soldier Dirk Van Buren and longtime friend Benjamin Horton are interested in her. Although this books begins with a heroic rescue and Heather's kidnapping is high drama, I found that the rest of the book read a bit slow. TO FOLLOW HER HEART begins on a similar point of excitement and drama. Word has reached the Southold village that Barnabas Horton's brother, ship captain Jeremy Horton has certainly died when his ship went down. While the family prepares a memorial service, his long time girl friend Patience cannot accept his death. Soon all will know that indeed he has survived, and although he vows when he returns home that he will finally marry Patience, he keeps giving other responsibilities priority. I am not sure what the difference is between these two books, but I found TO FOLLOW HER HEART read much more quickly. Both Heather Flower and Patience are likeable characters, but perhaps it is that I liked Jeremy so much that I liked the second book more.
Like the small things of daily life that intrigued me, De Marino excels at showing the great separation between Europe and the colonies. Families like the Hortons may still own land back in England, but most probably would never see their homeland again. And then there was the politics. While the British and the Dutch had a contentious power struggle across the sea and wanted the colonies to fight, the settlers themselves had found ways to co-exist.
I received copies of both TO CAPTURE HER HEART and TO FOLLOW HER HEART from Revell Reads for my honest review.