Sunday, June 15, 2014

Review: A Place in His Heart

A Place in His Heart
By Rebecca DeMarino
The Southold Chronicles #1
Revell, 2014


Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother.
With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas’s secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary’s world is upended. How could she possibly leave her Papa and her dear sister?
And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband’s broken heart?

Horton's Point Lighthouse, Long Island

My thoughts

A Place in His Heart is a love story based on Mary and Barnabas Horton, Rebecca’s ninth great-grandparents, who traveled from England and settled in Southold, Long Island. Spanning the years 1630 to 1640 and including rich historical detail, Rebecca obviously writes from her heart in this story of love and loss, faith and despair. The action is not fast paced, so the story may be a little slow moving for some readers, but I enjoyed the deeper characterization and struggles Mary and Barnabas faced  - both physically as they sailed to the New World to escape persecution, and emotionally in their marriage. In fact, telling the story of her ancestors with historical accuracy and authenticity is an element that I loved. It is also interesting that there is a Horton's Point lighthouse and park on eastern Long Island today.
Barnabas is a Puritan with a strong belief and will to serve God, but is torn to the core with grief over the loss of his wife - yet he dearly loves his two young sons and knows he must marry to provide a mother for them. Mary, a young Anglican woman, is giving, selfless and courageous. She is passionate and believes in love, but has given up on finding it.

"I cannot seem to reach the secret places of your heart.
There is a place you hold deep inside, that I cannot touch.
I am left so hopeless, so alone."
- Mary

My heart goes out to any character who faces unrequited love, and Mary is a heroine that I cared about from the very beginning.  She couldn't have loved Barnabas and his children more as she endured physical hardships, followed without complaint, and continually gave selflessly of herself - and her character traits speak to us today. Barnabas, on the other hand, is hard to like through most of the book. He seemed cold and self-absorbed much of the time, and the emotional distance between them is as wide as the ocean. A lot seemed to hinge on the fact that Barnabas refuses to hand over the care of their home through the "passing of the tongs" - a symbolic gesture where the husband presents the tongs to his new wife, signifying that she is now mistress of his home. Although their hearts are in the right place, their relationship exemplifies what happens when we don't look to God and surrender everything in our lives to Him.

Two supporting characters add richness to this story - Jeremy and Winnie. Jeremy, brother of Barnabas, is a warm and outgoing sea captain. And the friendship between Wauwineta (Winnie), a Corchang Indian with deep spiritual understanding, is one of my favorite parts.

A Place in His Heart is the story of love lost and found, of learning to live in God’s grace and goodness during good times and bad, for better or for worse. I've always thought of Puritans as being stern and rigid in their faith, but this story helped me to relate to them, seeing them more as devout men and women of faith, but with tender feelings and emotions. I recommend this story to those who enjoy historical fiction, especially during the Colonial period.

Don't miss the exciting giveaway below!

A Place in His Heart can be purchased online at CBD, DeeperShopping, Amazon, and B&N.

Rebecca DeMarino

Rebecca DeMarino is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and The Southold Long Island Historical Society. She was a 2011 Genesis Award semi-finalist. Rebecca is retired from a major airline and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Tom.

Meet Rebecca online at, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads.

Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Through June 16th, Rebecca DeMarino is hosting a giveaway with $250.00 in prizes! Open to anyone with a US shipping address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Replies
    1. Melissa, thanks for always being so supportive. We just ned more time to read!

  2. Thanks for your review, this sounds like an interesting book, and it has a beautiful cover!


    1. I agree with you about the cover, Patty. It just draws me in and this is also my favorite period of history. Hope you earned several more entries through Rafflecopter!

  3. Thanks for this giveaway and for your detailed and intriguing review! I would love to read this book; this historical period is one of my favorites to enjoy through the lens of a good book! :)

    1. Sarah, the Colonial period through the American Revolution is my favorite historical setting, and I also liked that Rebecca based the story on her ancesters. I hope to do an interview with her soon. As I said in the review, the narrative moves pretty slowly, but I enjoyed the pace and learned a lot. Thanks for dropping by, as always, Sarah.

    2. It certainly sounds like a fascinating and wonderful novel! I love the Colonial period too, as well as the 19th century!