What Inspired Me to Write Captured by Love | Behind the Scenes with Jody Hedlund

(All I gotta say to introduce this post is I AM SO EXCITED!! You can check out my review of Captured by Love here. I’m such a fan of Jody Hedlund and her books, so having the opportunity to be a part of her blog tour is wonderful! I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did! Be sure to hit all the other stops for the rest of the tour too. You can find them here!)

Behind the Scenes of Captured By Love
What Inspired Me to Write the Book

Captured by Love is another book set in my home state of Michigan. It’s actually Book 3 in the Michigan Brides Collection.

The first Michigan book I wrote was set in the 1870′s lumber era in the central part of the state (Unending Devotion). Then my second Michigan book took place in the 1870′s among a farming German immigrant community that lived in the Thumb (A Noble Groom).

As I began to plot out where I could set a third Michigan story, I wanted to find someplace unique and different from what I’d already done in terms of the era and the location. I also was looking for a “real” story, event, or person that might inspire a story.

In the course of my research, I scoured numerous biographies of women who lived in Michigan and influenced the history of the state. One of those women was Agatha de LaVigne who lived on Mackinac Island during the fur-trading era. Not much is known about her early background other than that her father was a French fur-trader and that she was Catholic, illiterate, and had a sister named Theresa.

Later Agatha married an independent fur trader and they raised four children together. Agatha is best remembered for her kindness and care to the poor and disadvantaged. She is known to have fed elderly residents from her kitchen. She died in 1873 and is buried at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Mackinac Island.

Immediately, Agatha’s story sparked my imagination. Even though I didn’t base my entire story around her, I did make the heroine of Captured by Love a compassionate young woman who helps others. Like Agatha, I made my heroine Catholic, illiterate, with a sister named Therese and a fur-trading father. And of course, it seemed only natural to set the story on Mackinac Island where Agatha had lived.

Today, Mackinac Island, is a very popular tourist destination in Michigan. People from all over the Midwest (and country) flock to the tiny northern island during the summer to enjoy the mild weather, beautiful rock formations, bicycling, horse-drawn carriage rides, historical sites, and of course, the fudge!

Mackinac Island-Jody-hedlund

Mackinac Island // Photo courtesy of Jody Hedlund

I knew there would be many eras of Mackinac’s history that I could develop into a good story. I even considered setting the book during the era when fudge was brought to the island and developed.

As I continued to research the island and Agatha’s story, I kept coming back to the dangerous fur-trading days when the island was overrun by voyageurs, soldiers, and Indians.

I was especially fascinated by the stories I read of the deprivation and difficulties during the War of 1812, when the island was taken over the by the British. It was an especially turbulent time for the island residents because they faced starvation-like conditions, isolation from other Americans, impending battles, and even deportation for not cooperating with the British.

All of the danger and action was exactly the kind of fodder I like for stories. So it was an easy choice for me to pick Mackinac Island during the War of 1812 as the focal point of Captured by Love. Very few stories are set in that era, so I hope with all the danger and drama that readers will find it not only entertaining but also love learning about such an exciting time in American history.

What about you? Have you ever read any books set in the early 1800′s? Or is that a new era to you? What is your favorite time period for historical fiction?


And now for the giveaway! Just enter below:
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Be sure to connect with Jody if you haven’t already!

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Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher’s Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund | Book Review

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’ll read anything Jody Hedlund writes. She could write about rocks and I bet it would be an award winner. Cloud formations? In!

But seriously.

You can’t go wrong with a book penned by her. Thus, let’s not be too shocked that I loved her latest, Captured by Love.

Michigan Territory, 1814

A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.


What can I say? It’s fabulous.

Hedlund has the ability to draw you so quickly into the story, where you’re hooked after a few pages and you’re thinking about the story the whole time you’re not reading it. Usually I have to finish her books in one sitting, but I had to spread Captured by Love out over two days and having to do that nonsense known as “a job” really got in the way of my Michigan friends!

Once you’ve meet Angelique and Pierre (and all the other characters of course!), you’ll understand exactly what I mean! These two remind me of so many things, whether it’s sacrificing to do what’s right, staying committed and fighting for what you love. They’re people I would know in real life. But sadly, they are indeed fictional. Whatevs.

Reason #578 I love Jody’s books? She takes historical eras and pieces of history that might not be known by the masses and makes it come alive. As in I NEED to visit Mackinac Island stat! While the main characters are fiction in this tale, many of the events and other characters are not and it was so interesting reading about them. I’m so so soooooo looking forward to Jody’s next release because I know it’ll be just as fabulous as this one!

Also, Jody is kicking off a blog tour starting July 7th for this release, where you’ll learn all kinds of fun info about the book and other awesome details. There will also be a chance to win a signed copy of Captured by Love at each stop. Woot! You can find all the details here and I’m excited to kick off the tour! So be sure to stop by on Monday!

Please tell me you’ve read at least one of Jody’s book! If you have, what’s your favorite? If not, I hope you get the chance to soon!

(Thank you to the author, Jody Hedlund, for the copy in exchange for my honest opinion!)

Where to buy: Amazon | | Christian Books

Giving Coffee A Chance | Guest Post by Denise Dykstra

Y’all. Today is the day I have my first ever guest post and I’m beyond excited! You see, it all started when I wanted to have some coffee-related posts on my blog (since I’ve had one beverage related post and I figure that needs to change in 2014), but I hate coffee, so that makes writing a post about coffee a little awkward, but as the Beatles have taught me I can do anything with a little help from my friends!

So please welcome Denise Dykstra from Life With Four Boys…Coffee Please on the blog today! She know’s a thing or two about coffee :).

I love coffee. A lot.

My blog is called Life With Four Boys…Coffee Please and I help with the ministry Praise and Coffee. Coffee is sort of an essential part of me.

My tastes in coffee have evolved over the years and I am sure it will continue to evolve. It’s as if I am on a life long coffee journey. When I was in high school, I began drinking coffee mixed with cocoa. My husband and I spent Sundays our first year of marriage in a coffee shop playing checkers and drinking mochas. When our first of four boys were born, I couldn’t stand coffee. Couldn’t even handle the smell. When our second son was born, my love of coffee returned and has only strengthened over the years.


My husband drinks Folgers coffee every day. In his to go cup is a mix of sugar and Folger’s mocha cappuccino mix. Once the coffee is poured and mixed, he tops it off with half and half or chocolate milk.

My husband used to bring me mug of coffee every morning but he tells me that my coffee is too complicated to make anymore.

He is right.

I have enjoyed my coffee heavy with flavored cream. Then my mom picked up some coffee for me from a little coffee shop. Once I had finished the two-pound bag of fresh roasted beans I could not go back.

Instructions to make my coffee sound like this… “Grind the beans but not too fine. You want some grit in it so that it isn’t so fine it floats in the coffee. Pour about this much in the French press. How much? I don’t know, I just guesstimate. Pour in the water. Not boiling, that ruins it, but close to boiling. Press down the press. Pour into the cup to, oh, about here and then top with half and half. No, sugar would ruin the smokiness of the beans.”

I have become a coffee snob.


So every morning he pours his pot of coffee and I press my coffee. It works well for us.

The one thing we do agree on is that coffee simply must be strong. Very strong.

I know there are coffee roasting shops all over the country. When you find one, visit it. They are thrilled to explain all the coffee’s, the blends, how to find the right flavor for you. I appreciate knowing my coffee addiction supports a little coffee shop called Water Street Coffee in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

There is something comforting about a warm cup of coffee. The way it greets you first thing in the morning. The way your hands wrap around a mug on a cold day. The soothing taste as you lose yourself in a good book. The various shops all around the country where you meet up with friends and share life together.

Give coffee a chance. Experiment with the various roasts (right now I am drinking Sumatra, in the summer I often choose a light “blonde” roast) and mixes until you find one that works well with you. Some of you don’t like coffee (Jamie!) and that’s fine. It means more coffee for me.


Denise Dykstra is a coffee drinking mama who blogs over at Life With Four Boys…Coffee Please any chance she can get when she isn’t helping her truck driving husband on their hobby farm, cooking up something to feed her ravenous four boys or working part time as Librarian Assistant. You can keep up with Denise on Facebook (Life With Four Boys, Coffee Please!) or twitter (@life4boys).

A Noble Groom | Jody Hedlund

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund was simply fantastic. Not that I expected anything different. Jody’s books are always awesome and this one was no different. I was hooked from the beginning.

Focusing on the German immigrants who made their way to Michigan in the 1880s, Hedlund paints a fascinating picture of what it was like to adjust to a different culture, life and what it was like for women in those families. Which was, spoiler alert, LAME. It’s hard for me to understand the mentality that valued sons more than daughters, but that was the way things were back then and A Noble Groom does such a great job portraying that reality.


Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can’t prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichart, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He’s been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn’t commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he’ll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa’s farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.

Annalisa senses that Carl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He’s gentle, kind, and romantic–unlike any of the men she’s ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love–but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

This was also a great story about family. I wished everything turned out great for each one of the characters, but just like real life, it didn’t. I loved Annalisa’s character, especially the love she has for her daughter. She’ll do whatever it takes for her little girl. And her little girl kinda reminded me of my Gabs, so I was smitten :). And Carl, sweet Carl. You’ll love him too.

Another reason Hedlund is quickly become one of my favorites, is her heart behind her writing. Here’s a tidbit she shared after the novel:

“As you close the pages of this book, I pray you will find the story of the immigrants inspiring as you persevere through the challenges in your life. May their courage give you fresh determination and help.

And most of all may you know God does indeed care for you. Even when He seems busy with more important matters, I hope you’ll have a new awakening of His nearness, Especially during your darkest moments of pain.”

I love that!

(I was given a copy for my honest review by Bethany House Publishing)

For those who have read this one, what did you think? I have so much more to say, but don’t want to spoil it in the post, so maybe I will in the comments!

Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan | Melanie Dobson

Let’s just say if I was born in any other era, I would have failed miserably. The rules of old society are ridiculous to me. I guess in some ways it isn’t much different than today in some circles, but it’s so insane to think of how many sons and daughters were married off to keep standing in social circles and society. Forget love, it was about family duty and name. I’m all about loyalty, but the back-in-the-day demands are too much for me. As Destiny’s Child would say “all the women independent, throw your hands up in the air.” (Blame that reference on the recent reunion of the R&B Girls Group of my high school days).

This refreshing story by Melanie Dobson takes place in just that era. Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan was such a sweet story that I seriously enjoyed!

It’s the height of the Gilded Age, but Elena Bissette’s family has lost most of its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, and they spend summers there in hopes of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls at the Grand Hotel, she spends her days walking along the island’s rugged coastline. There she meets Chase, a young fisherman who invites her to watch the ships from an abandoned lighthouse. The two begin to meet there in secret, hoping to solve a decades-old mystery. Meanwhile, Elena’s mother contrives introductions between Elena and the island’s most eligible bachelor, an elusive millionaire named Chester Darrington. When Elena’s two worlds unexpectedly collide, she will be in for the surprise of her life.

I really loved Elena’s character. She has a free spirit and wants to do her heart tells her to do, but doesn’t completely ignore the struggle she has with her duty. She loves her family, but longs for something more than what society demands of girls her age and in her station.

And was there some drama! No matter what era, you can always depend on a little scandal!

So if you’re looking for an entertaining read that leaves you smiling, I say go for it with this one!