Book Review: "The Redemption" by MaryLu Tyndall

About a month ago, while doing research for my current writing project (which stars a mermaid), I found out that I AM NOT ALONE... because I found the blog of MaryLu Tyndall, "The Cross and the Cutlass", in which she was discussing HER current project's research. Turns out, we both think that mermaids can find a place in Christian literature. Knowing I wasn't the only one crazy enough to try that was a great encouragement to me.

A week later, I exchanged several emails with MaryLu when I contacted her looking for an editor recommendation, the result of which was that I met the wonderful Lora, who is now MY editor, too! I could say lots of nice things about Lora, but this post is to review MaryLu's book, so I'll talk about Lora later :-)

The reason I mention all that is that I found out that MaryLu had begun her writing career when God gave her an idea for a story about Christian pirates. I can see that look on your face--it is the same one I had when I read that, myself.

Interesting combination, I thought, as I read the Amazon book reviews on her first book in "The Legacy of the King's Pirates" series, and added it to my wishlist. With the normal "free time" I allow myself for reading fiction, I had no idea how soon it would be before I actually got to dive into those alluring stories, but was intrigued enough to put them pretty high on my "want to read" list.

Fortunately for me, when I asked Lora for several books to read that exemplified the suggested changes in my writing style she was telling me about, MaryLu's first "Pirate" book, The Redemption, was on the list. I lost no time hustling my cyber-butt over to Amazon to get it. (Yay! Assigned reading!)

Before I proceed, I want to mention that I do not normally read romances.Most romances are too smutty for my taste, or too formulaic. The last one I read was about five years ago, a Nicholas Sparks novel called A Bend in the Road, and afterward, I only regretted the several hours of my life that were now irretrievably lost with so little return value. In general when it comes to fiction, I favour fantasy (mostly classic stuff that has stood the test of time--I am currently reading Robert Jordan), classic novels (think Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Danial Dafoe, and other long-dead literary greats), and if it is a modern novel then I prefer stories where there is a little mystery and a lot of personal growth on the part of the main character.

Ironically, I also tend to stay away from Christian romance novels, because although the ones I have experienced have all been clean, they have also been a little too... tame? Bland? I don't know... Unless we are talking about a romance that takes place in the context of biblical history. I have read several novels based on Esther, as well as Leah, and other women of the Bible where romance was a key part of the plotline. Don't ask me why... this post is to analyze someone's book, not the strange workings of my own brain.

From the first pixelated page, The Redemption had me hooked. There was danger, suspense, personal growth, and yes, a little mystery.

Charlisse is a realistic, struggling heroine, who didn't magically figure out how to survive on her own (which is a positive for me) when the ship she had bought passage on was destroyed in a storm and she was left alone on a tropical island. Her past, which has scarred her both emotionally and physically, presents real personal struggle that she must overcome in order to heal, and learn to love. If it weren't for the fortunate (?) appearance of a lusty bunch of pirates, she would have died on that island. At some points in the story, Charlisse wonders if that might not have been a better outcome.

Captain Merrick deals with the daily conflict of living out his Christian beliefs while captaining a much less-religious pirate crew as a privateer for the King of England. Like many men who are trying to become better than they once were, he teeters between moments of heroic bravery and tenderness, and struggling against the desires his old self would have given into without a thought. The reader is always wondering whether he will protect Charlisse, or whether he may be her biggest threat... Merrick himself is not even sure of the answer.

These two collide when Charlisse's quest to find her father conflicts with Merrick's commission from the British governor of Port Royal.

Unlike the feeling I had when closed the last page of Mr.Sparks' novel, I reached the end of Ms. Tyndall's with a feeling of regret to see it end so soon. Fortunately for me, there are three more novels in the series. :-)

Yesterday, I received notice that MaryLu has the Kindle versions of these books on sale until September 10 on Amazon. For $2 to $3 each (and the first one was free when I just checked), you could have more entertained hours than a Pirates of the Carribean movie marathon, with less cost per minute, and just as much fun. Once again, I hustled my cyber-butt to pick up the rest of the series immediately. Now that I've finished typing this review (while sitting in the passenger seat on a 7-hour drive), I intend to start reading them!