Embark on a seafaring adventure in a brand-new series from best-selling author MaryLu Tyndall. After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new Utopian community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret—and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for?
I really enjoyed this book. There’s an ensemble cast, but they are all written really well! Eliza has a past that, if found out, could make life dangerous for her. Yet she is determined to make a new life for herself so she sets out with this rag-tag group all hoping for a new world.
Along the way they hit problem after problem. Something suspicious is going on and those on the ship are looking for someone to blame. It’s going to get ugly.
I enjoyed this story a lot. I loved the action!! There was always a twist or something new on the horizon to keep you sucked into the story. Each of the characters are richly written with great back stories!
Eliza and Blake have definite chemistry from the beginning. I thought Eliza was wonderfully written. She was strong and brave, while still being so vulnerable and feminine. There were times I was urging Eliza to do sometime and when she didn’t I would groan at the book. I liked how strong Blake was portrayed, yet I honestly wanted to smack him upside the head numerous times. I was yelling at the book at one point and nearly walked away since Blake was not at all acting like I wanted him to. Yep, I get some awkward looks from my family. Overall, this is a wonderful book. Full of twists and turns and I had no idea how it was going to turn out!
I felt like I was sailing on the ship with the crew. I could almost smell the salt water and feel the wind and waves. MaryLu can write an awesome nautical adventure!
I give this book a 4/5!
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M.L. Tyndall (MaryLu) grew up on the shores of Southern Florida dreaming of romance and adventure upon the sea. She now lives with her husband, six children, and four cats in Northern California where she writes inspirational adventure romance novels. MaryLu’s novels have been praised for their fast-paced action, strong inspirational messages, and incredibly vivid settings. Her first novel, The Redemption was nominated for the prestigious Christy Award for Best Christian Fiction.
You can sign up for her e-newsletter on her website, and blog where she posts all sorts of things from book giveaways and book information to articles and devotional thoughts. She has a Facebook group called MaryLu Tyndall Swashbuckling Romance, and she’s onTwitter!
MaryLu agreed to answer a few questions I had on the book and a few to get to know her better!
1) Have you always been interested in ships? Even from a young age?
The answers are Yes and Yes! Well, pirates and explorers mostly when I was young, but as I grew and studied history, I fell in love with their ships as well. I really can’t say what it is about ships exactly, but there’s something so majestic and romantic about them. To me, they represent adventure and exploration, new worlds and freedom. The men and women who sailed them sought all those things as they cast off the conventions and restrictions of civilization and sailed off to find greener shores. I suppose you could compare them to the horses of cowboys or the motorcycles of today in that these ships were the vehicles which enabled a person to leave everything behind and head off to freedom and a new life.
2) What inspired this series?
Escape to Paradise was inspired a piece of history I came across that I never knew existed. I had no idea thousands upon thousands of Southerners fled the South after the Civil War and immigrated to other countries…some to Mexico and some to Brazil. Some estimates say that up to 20,000 Southerners moved to Brazil where they hoped to recreate the Southern Utopia they used to enjoy before the war. Anyway, it is such fascinating history, I couldn’t pass up writing a series based on it. In addition, as a former TV Show LOST fanatic, I saw all sorts of possibilities for combining the facts of history with a group of survivors struggling to survive in the jungles of Brazil.
3) Who was the most difficult character to write?
Blake Wallace, or Colonel Blake Wallace, the hero in book 1. He is a decorated war hero who is very commanding, decisive, authoritative and smart. (Everything I am not!!) As the leader of the expedition to Brazil, he bears the burden and care of nearly fifty colonists who leave everything behind and trust him, to not only get them safely to Brazil, but to help them create a Southern Utopia. But Blake has a secret. He has PTSD from the war. Of course it wasn’t called that back then, but men suffered from it just the same. He has nightmares, visions, and blackouts. These moments when he can’t function affect his leadership. I loved writing his character, but since I’ve never been in the military or in command of anything but my kids (and they don’t even listen to me!) and because I’ve never had PTSD, it was a real challenge to get inside Blake’s head and write his character in such a way as to make him real and believable.
4) When you began, did you have the whole plot planned out or did you just see where it went as you wrote?
I definitely do NOT have the entire story plotted out in the beginning. I know other authors who have every chapter and scene figured out in great detail before they start writing, but I don’t work like that. It is too restricting and really stifles my creativity. I spend a lot of time developing my characters, and I generally know the beginning, middle, and end of a story. I also am very familiar with the theme I hope to get across or the moral of the story. But usually that’s all I know before I start writing. Normally around chapter 10, my characters start to take over and they end up telling the story. It’s weird, but it works for me!
5) Do you have a favorite paragraph or line from ‘Forsaken Dreams? (if it won’t give away too much)
I just adore this scene. The ship the Southerners are on has been stopped and boarded by a Union ship, seeking war criminals. The heroine Eliza is hiding one of them below decks when two Union officers barge into the cabin
The door swung open and two men entered. One a lieutenant and the other an unrated seaman.
“Well, look what we have here.”
Settling her nerves, Eliza slowly rose and stared at the tall, lanky officer. “What can I do for you, Lieutenant?”
He laughed, took a step inside, and planted his hands at his waist. “In case you aren’t aware, miss, your ship has been captured and boarded by the U.S.S. Perilous.”
Perilous, indeed. Eliza raised her chin. “In case you aren’t aware, Lieutenant, we are no longer at war.”
“In case you aren’t aware, miss, we are searching for war criminals trying to escape their due justice.”
“In case—” Eliza snapped her mouth shut. This was ridiculous. “As you can see, Lieutenant. There are no war criminals in here.”
The man took another step inside, his lackey nipping at his heels. “Sir,” the lieutenant shouted in the colonel’s direction. “You are to go above at once!”
“Any fool can see this man is ill.” Eliza huffed.
“Rather bold tongue for a defeated enemy, miss.” His sordid gaze raked her. “However, ill or not, he must go above. Along with you.” Snapping his fingers he gestured toward the door.
“Very well.” Eliza raised a brow and stepped aside, hoping they didn’t notice her trembling legs. “If you want to be exposed to the pox, be my guest. Pick him up and take him above.” She tossed the rag into a basin of water. “No doubt you’ve already been exposed just by coming aboard.”
The lieutenant halted.
“Oh?” Eliza went on. “Captain Barclay didn’t warn you?” She gave a sweet smile and clicked her tongue. “How uncivilized of him.”
6) Has writing this book impacted you in any ways you didn’t expect?
It has opened my eyes to the continuing bitterness that still exists between the North and the South. We lost over 600,000 men in the Civil War. It was a horrible, horrible war and both sides suffered terribly. Thank God slavery came to an end once and for all. I’m just sorry that the price came so high. However, I’ve learned that the war was more about economics than slavery and even after the war, many freed slaves were treated even worse by both the North and the South. Also, the North committed many atrocities upon the South after the war, terrible things that would cause any people group to be bitter and angry and filled with hate for years to come. If Lincoln had lived, I believe he could have stopped the bleeding. It was his intention to forgive and mend wounds, but with his death, that was not to be.
7) What is the one thing that you would like us readers to take from this story?
That God doesn’t cause wars, people do. He gives us free will and He will not interfere in our choices.
Also that if we align our choices with His will, everything will work out in our favor!
A few just for fun questions:
8) What do you love most about writing fiction?
I love everything about writing. I love it when a new story idea starts to form in my head. I love coming up with interesting characters. I love trying to figure out how I can torture said characters! I love the whole process of creating and using my imagination to create a world and do anything I want with it. It’s so cool! What I don’t love about writing fiction: Deadlines, edits, bad reviews, and marketing. L
9) Do you still get nervous when you release new books? Even though you’ve already published so many great books?
Absolutely!! I don’t think there’s an author on the planet who doesn’t get a little anxious with a new release. After all, we’ve put months and months, sometimes years into a book, sweating long hours over our computers, doing research, plotting and creating, sometimes crying and pulling our hair out, other times thrilled when a scene comes together. It’s our baby!! And we want others to enjoy it and take away the message we are trying to convey.
10) What is your favourite book (yes, you can say your own!)? Favourite movie? Favourite TV show?
Book: Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini
Movie: The Count of Monte Cristo
TV Show: Once Upon a Time
11) Where is one place that you would like to visit?
Israel!! And the Mediterranean !
12) Name 5 things you can’t live without! (Faith and Family are a given) This is just for fun.
Hot bubble baths
Thanks MaryLu for taking time to answer my questions! I really appreciate it! 🙂