Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: The Captive Heart

The Captive Heart
By Michelle Griep
Barbour, 2016


Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a brute of an employer. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met.

Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer.

My thoughts

The Captive Heart is a thoroughly entertaining and engaging story that captures the emotions. It contains two of my favorite things – Colonial America setting and marriage of convenience. My opinion of this book can be summed up in one word: more! I want more of the Colonial era, more of these characters, and more from Michelle Griep. The Captive Heart stands out in the areas that matter most to me …

Setting – The South Carolina backcountry of 1770 is so vividly portrayed and is such an important part of the story that it becomes a major character. The CBA doesn’t publish many books set during my favorite period of history, the American Revolutionary era, so I was eager to read The Captive Heart. Michelle’s writing is somewhat lyrical and the multi-faceted characters spring off the page. In a time where the loyalties of families and friends were split between the Crown and the Sons of Liberty, this is the first novel I’ve seen that focuses on the role played by the Cherokee nation. I’ve visited Cherokee, NC and seen the play, Unto These Hills, so this theme touched me.

Characterization – Samuel and Eleanor are richly-drawn, appealing characters. And what an unlikely pair! Eleanor fled England for America with the promise of employment as a governess awaiting her, only to find herself forced into indentured servanthood – and then marriage to a stranger. To me, she is the perfect blend of intelligence, femininity, strength and vulnerability. Samuel is a backwoodsman, half Cherokee, a man who “wore authority like a second skin.” And he has the most precious daughter! 

Romance – I loved watching their relationship build over several months’ time, growing from strangers uncomfortable with each other, to mutual respect, to undeniable attraction. The chemistry between them is so real and heartfelt. Michelle certainly knows how to write scenes that make you melt!

Spirituality – Both Eleanor and Samuel had backgrounds that colored their present thoughts, behaviors and attitudes, and their relationship literally opened a floodgate in both of them. Samuel had come to Christ at the end of a sinful past before the story opens, and I loved seeing redemption played out in his life – more through action than words. But although he had accepted God’s forgiveness, he couldn’t forgive himself, as many of us can relate to.

There’s so much to enjoy in The Captive Heart, including Eleanor’s two friends from the voyage, Biz and Molly. As I said at the beginning, I really want more of everything, so I hope this is the beginning of a series.

Highly recommended.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher.


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.

She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle.



  1. Oh, Carole, this just sounds like exactly what I love in a read! I hope to read this one in my next few reads. :)

    1. Beth, there's no predicting what you or anyone else will think, but I can recommend The Captive Heart based on my personal feelings. I hope you get to read it soon and enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you for keeping up with me, Beth!

  2. Thanks for the sweet review! Awesome to be on your blog.

    1. It's awesome to have you here, Michelle! Some of your historical novels incorporate my favorite settings - England and Colonial America. Looking forward to more enjoyable reading from you.