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Friday, April 13, 2012

If It Weren't For That Big, Gaping Plot Hole ...

(Image from Deseret Book)

Bostonian Emmalyne Madsen thinks she's ready for a big adventure.  But when outlaws attack the train that's carrying the 22-year-old schoolteacher to Colorado, she realizes with a jolt that her "adventure" could very well end in her death.  Or worse.  Abducted at gunpoint, she's forced to follow grizzly Thayne Kendrich into the desert with no food, no water and no cover from the unrelenting sun.  Emma's parched, sunburned and beyond exhausted—if the gruff bandit's going to kill her, why doesn't he just get it over with already?  She can't understand the strange man who's dragging her away from his cohorts, deeper and deeper into the wilderness on some mysterious errand.  Thayne insists no harm will come to her, but how can Emma trust the man who's just kidnapped her?

Thayne leads Emma into South Dakota's Black Hills, which can only mean one thing:  he's going to sell her to a savage Indian tribe.  But, as she soon discovers, that's not it at all.  Thayne has an entirely different reason for abducting a schoolteacher.  As realization dawns, Emma must ask herself who the man beside her really is, what he really wants, and how far he'll really go to get it.  Can she escape his clutches, gain back her freedom?  And, more importantly, does she even want to?

I didn't expect to enjoy Captive Heart, a historical romance by Michele Paige Holmes, nearly as much as I did.  But, to my surprise, the novel offered an exciting, well-told story along with characters who sprang to life, quickly capturing my heart.  Holmes did the romance the right way, too, taking time to really develop the relationship between Emma and Thayne, so that it felt authentic.  True, the story itself gets predictable (it's a romance), contrived (Really?  Emma's mother just happens to be deaf?), even melodramatic at times (the ending), but I still found it enjoyable.  The main thing that stopped me from really loving Captive Heart is that I couldn't figure out why the kidnapping was necessary in the first place.  Considering what I found out about Thayne along the way, it just seemed like the most difficult, illogical way he could have possibly chosen to accomplish his purposes.  That gaping plot hole bugged big time.  Still and all, the novel kept me entertained.  If it weren't for that one little (okay, huge) problem, I would have really, really liked this one.   

(Readalikes:  Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly)

Grade:  C

If this were a movie, it would have been rated:  PG for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a PDF of Captive Heart from the generous folks at Covenant Communications and the Whitney Awards Committee.  Thank you!  

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