PUBLICATION DATE: JULY 1, 2012
lena Bissette’s family used to be wealthy, now they’re struggling to hold onto their livelihood and their home in Chicago. They also own a cottage on Mackinac Island in Michigan and are going to spend one last summer there before the place is officially up for sale. According to her mother, it’s their last chance to find Elena a wealthy suitor for her to marry. Even though, Elena is repulsed at the thought of marrying for money, her mother insists that Chester Darrington is perfect for her.
When Elena goes to a secret hiding spot late one night she meets a handsome laborer named Chase. Chase is everything she wants in a husband. He’s kind, smart, and interested in the things she is. She and Chase begin to meet at her favorite spot, an old abandoned lighthouse, and she can’t help but begin to wonder what a life with him would consist of.
With her mother constantly trying to marry her off to the first wealthy man that comes knocking and society always finding something to gossip about, Elena feels like an actress in her own home and the lighthouse is the only place she can be herself and get closer to God. She now feels like she can be herself around Chase and can’t help but to start to fall in love with him, but he’s not rich, at least she doesn’t think so. Marriage to Chase wouldn’t help her family’s financial woes, but marriage to Chester would. She now must choose between her duty to help her family and her want to marry someone who loves her.
Elena’s story is something that I believe everybody can relate to at some point in their lives. No matter how much or why you feel trapped, the author’s portrayal of Elena’s story and her feelings resonate to the core. The fact that the author makes the character relatable because of how well she portrays the struggle that Elena feels shows just how well this author can capture emotions and paste them on paper. Whether or not you’ve experienced the feeling of being trapped yet, this author has a gift for making you feel what the characters feel, all with a few words.
Another thing this author is great at is description. She took a tiny village that I had never heard of and made me want to travel to a place I had no desire to go to before, Michigan, just so I can explore this island that’s lost in time. She vividly describes the island in such detail that I feel like I could describe it to you like I’ve been there myself. Also, the passion that Elena has for the little island adds to the intensity of how beautiful this island really is and adds to my desire of visiting this gorgeous island. This has got to be one of my favorite parts of this book.
One of the things that wasn’t one of my favorites about the book, was the romance. I did enjoy it, though. It’s a typical Christian genre romance, so it’s an innocent romance where the romance really doesn’t include a lot of intimate gestures like kissing, hugging, etc. This type of romance isn’t my favorite, but I’ve read a few books that are some of my favorites, this one included. The way the author wrote the romance wasn’t particularly different than a lot of authors, but the thing that made this romance special was the way it was portrayed and blended into the story, making this a memorable one.
The faith aspect in this book was something that tends to be sorely overlooked and often barely mentioned in other books, this one isn’t filled with a lot with mentions of faith, but definitely mentioned a lot more than a lot of other books I’ve read. It was an aspect that I missed more than I realized. It was refreshing to have a Christian author actually write about God, something that’s becoming harder and harder to find.
My opinions of this book when I first started it probably weren’t too high. I wasn’t expecting a terrible book, but neither was I expecting a book of the caliber that I got. Because I was slightly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, I’m now a fan of Melanie Dobson and look forward to trying to get my hands on any new books by her.
n 1894 everyone who was anyone in Chicago and Detroit left the hassles of the city to summer on Mackinac Island. For Elena Bissette, it is also an opportunity for her mother to ‘marry her off’ to the most eligible bachelor. Though she knows that her family’s financial troubles will most likely not allow it, Elena’s heart holds out the small hope that she can marry for love.
When Elena meets Chase at an abandoned lighthouse on the island, they discover a shared love for the night sky and God’s creation. But Elena doesn’t think that Chase will live up to her mother’s demanding expectations. Setting her sights on the wealthy Mr. Chester Darrington, Elena’s mother does everything she can to arrange a courtship, and Elena is caught in the middle.
Set on the beautiful and unique Mackinac Island, this latest title in the Love Finds You series tells of Elena’s struggle between duty to her parents and true love. The discovery of an almost one hundred-year-old diary also lends to the story as Chase and Elena puzzle over things that once took place on the island.
This is my first foray into the Love Finds You series of books. I’m not sure why it took me so long to read one of these, especially now that I have read the one set on Mackinac Island. What I appreciated most about this novel was that the setting was almost an additional character. The author obviously did her research, and I felt that she really captured the history and the novelty of this famous island of the Great Lakes.
The plot of this book has been done many times in Christian Historical Fiction – the daughter torn between love and what her parents want her to do – especially the aspect that she must save them all from financial ruin. But I didn’t mind that the plot was somewhat recycled. There were enough interesting characters and side plots to keep it fresh and enjoyable. I especially liked Chester Darrington’s mother and her attitude towards the society in which she lived. The theme of not caring what others think about you and instead knowing who you are in Christ takes center stage, and this made the novel come to life more than others of the same type.
The addition of Elena and Chase’s interest in the heavens also set this novel apart from its counterparts, as did Chase’s investment in the latest inventions. It was fun to read about these things through the eyes of someone in 1894, and I liked how their intelligence and respect was what mostly attracted them to each other in the first place. I did think, however, that they fell in love awfully quickly. I think they only met at the lighthouse twice before they were both thinking those thoughts about the other.
Although I eventually settled in and enjoyed this novel, I did think that it started slowly. It was nice to be able to really get to know the characters, but once I felt comfortable with them, it was still a while before the story really gained its momentum. There was a lot of back story that was told about even minor characters that was kind of dull since I wasn’t experiencing it myself. While that was in keeping with all of the gossip that was going on in the society of that time, I still found it a bit tedious.
I also would have liked it better if the mystery with the diary at the lighthouse had come into play earlier on and had taken more of a major role in the novel as a whole. I liked that part of the story, and I was disappointed to not have a bit more of it.
Overall, though, I enjoyed this novel. It was a nice read that, once it got going, kept my interest and had characters that experienced growth and were endearing. The main characters were good, but I thought the minor characters great – very much true-to-life, whether in 1894 or 2012.
I have to mention one quote from the novel that, as a reviewer, I found very interesting. Elena, as a daughter of high society, constantly pictures herself as an actress on a stage, playing her part to please her parents and everyone else. After discovering one of the other girls gossiping about her, she wonders if she should set the storyteller straight, but then she realizes that it probably wouldn’t do any good. Then she thinks this thought: “A good actress never let the reviews bother her anyway.” Ha! I laughed out loud when I read that and wondered if this might just be a thought that the author has had at one time!
Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan, was my first in this series of novels, but it won’t be my last.