A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino
The Southold Chronicles, Book 1
When I first saw Laura Frantz’s endorsement for this debut novel from Rebecca DeMarino, I knew I wanted to read it.
Rebecca DeMarino’s debut novel follows the lives of Mary Langton and Barnabas Horton through the early years of their marriage and the struggles they faced together as they traveled to the New World. This novel is enriched by Rebecca’s personal connection to Mary and Barnabas, as they are her ancestors. She tells their story with close attention to historical accuracy and a distinct sensitivity towards the real emotions her characters experienced.
While this story is inspired by Rebecca’s heritage, I had a difficult time enjoying this book. Barnabas marries Mary after his wife dies because his sons need a mother, and Mary quickly falls in love with him. However, Barnabas desperately clings to the memory of his late wife, Ann. He can’t let her go, which I understood in the early pages of the book. However, this goes on for the entire length of the novel, which spans roughly ten (?) years, which became quite frustrating for the reader, much like it upset Mary. She so quickly learns to love Barnabas, yet he can not, will not, return her love or even try to. This dynamic between the couple made it difficult to like the characters.
Throughout the book, readers catch glimpses of Mary and Barnabas’ lives together. (Almost) Every chapter jumps a few months or years into the future. This was jarring in the beginning; however it served the story well. It gave the reader the ability to see how the characters’ lives were progressing and moving forward. In the end, this book fell short for me, but historical fiction fans should give this book a try!
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*
Book Synopsis (from the publisher’s website):
She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?
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?