Wednesday, September 14, 2011


There are few things I enjoy more than wandering through a bookstore, searching for the next jewel to add to my beloved collection. It’s hard to explain the feeling when you’ve started reading a book and realize you’ve discovered something really special. I’ve had some really good finds this year, and this past weekend I discovered another.

When my best friend came to visit me earlier this year (sheesh, was it really way back in January?!), I was making up time waiting to pick her up by strolling through CUM (my absolute favourite store in the whole wide world – Christian merch plus books = nothing better!) when this beautiful cover caught my eye. I read the back of the book and my heart soared when I realized that it’s a historical novel. You know by now I’m a total nut for those! I bought it, and being the diligent student that I am (a pain, I know), I put it away to read another day as I was getting a head start on my university assignments for the year. Needless to say the year picked up speed, and I never got around to actually reading it. So last weekend I submitted my final assignments, and thought I’d treat myself by reading a book before I delve into exam prep. Going through my unread pile, my eye again caught this one, and I thought “Perfect”. And perfect it is!

“Swashbuckling romances anchored in faith” is what Marylu Tyndall promises on her website, and that is exactly what she delivers!

Surrender the Heart is the first book in the Surrender to Destiny series. The story is set in Baltimore in 1812 and follows Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, acquaintances who have very negative opinions of each other based on terrible memories of each other as children, now betrothed by the will of their fathers and against their own, but both unable to object. Upon the death of Marianne’s father she desperately needs to marry in order to unlock her inheritance, her only chance of caring for her ill mother and younger sister. Noah, a merchantman carrying the guilt of his brother’s accidental death, is desperate to please his unreasonable father and must marry Marianne to obtain her inheritance to support the family business. While Marianne realizes Noah only wants to marry her for her money, Noah has no idea that the Denton fortune is not a fortune at all, but only stands at seven thousand pounds, everything else having been gambled away by Marianne’s father prior to his death. Noah, however, decides to set sail to England and sell enough merchandise to make a year’s worth of profit in one trip, ensuring he would not have to marry Marianne at all. Noah deserts Marianne at their engagement party, and rushes to get his cargo to England before war between America and England breaks out. Desperate to unlock her inheritance to buy much needed medicine for her mother, Marianne realizes Noah’s intent and undertakes to do whatever it takes to ensure he has to marry her. Unbeknownst to Noah, Marianne follows him aboard his ship, but an accident leaves her unconscious and Noah sets sail to England only to discover Marianne aboard his ship the following day. He is, however, unwilling to waste any time by first returning her to Baltimore, leaving Marianne stuck aboard his ship for months to come. Noah is desperate to succeed, Marianne is desperate to see him fail, for if he has no need of her money, he won’t marry her… right?

A clash of wills and motivations sees many stubborn games that soon get Marianne and Noah captured by a British warship. Let down by every man she’s ever known, a mistrustful Marianne believes that God also has deserted her. Guilt ridden by his brother’s death, Noah thinks God simply doesn’t care about him. These two question their place in God’s universe even more as they are forced to serve the enemy, danger and malice surrounding them daily. Working aboard an enemy ship Noah realizes that Marianne is not the spoilt little rich girl he always thought her to be, and Marianne begins to see that Noah is not the mean spirited bully she always thought he was. Forced to put aside their differences, depend on each other, trust each other and work together to escape the British Navy that holds them captive, the question arises whether Marianne and Noah can surrender their hearts to each other, and to the God they both desperately want to believe in.

Surrender the heart is a beautiful story about destiny. It emphasizes how God uses the most seemingly ordinary of people to accomplish great acts (I especially loved the book’s dedication; I believe it is To everyone who has ever felt ordinary”), and how God uses everything, even the most terrifying situations, to set in motion miracles that change the lives of thousands.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose ~ Romans 8.28


  1. Oh, Nastassja, what an incredibly wonderful review! I'm thrilled you loved Marianne and Noah's story so much! Thank you for posting about it and for including me in your Recommended Reading. I see I am among a great company of authors. God Bless....

  2. Once again a great recommendation! I will be adding this book to my wishlist right away.

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