When news reaches the Southold settlement that Captain Jeremy Horton's ship has crashed off the coast of Barbados, his devastated family and friends gravely accept the report of his death. But Patience Terry has waited and prayed for years that Jeremy would eventually return and make her his wife, and can't bring herself to believe that Jeremy has actually died. In a twist that no one-- except Patience-- expected, a British Naval gunship rescues Jeremy from the ocean and returns him to New England the very day of his memorial service.
Without a ship to command, Jeremy finally seems ready to move home and settle down with the woman who has waited for him for so long. Jeremy believes God has spared him for a particular reason, but can't seem to find contentment among the friends and family he has always loved. Will Jeremy's reluctance to plan their wedding, and the delays he constantly produces finally force Patience to give up on her dreams?
In To Follow Her Heart, Rebecca DeMarino concludes her Southold Chronicles series based on her own ninth great-grandmother's story. DeMarino includes truly fascinating historical details and vividly portrays life in the New England of the 1660s. While intriguing, the novel does not stand well on its own. The relationships between the large cast of characters are well developed, but difficult to understand without having read the series' previous 2 novels.
Jeremy's reluctance to actually marry the woman he professes to have loved for years is truly aggravating, and the reader can't help but feel deeply for poor Patience. Unfortunately, DeMarino never sufficiently explains his reluctance-- at least in this novel-- which makes it difficult to root for Jeremy as a romantic lead. His status as a dashing and dreamy ship captain just couldn't quite make up for his infuriating inconstancy. This reader was ready for Patience to kick him to the curb and move on.
That said, the story of Jeremy's brother Barnabas and his wife Mary is beautiful and compelling. As the subjects of A Place in His Heart, they surely make for a much more satisfying story. Additionally, perhaps knowing more about Jeremy's history would help explain his otherwise frustrating behavior. The conclusion, then, is that the Southold Chronicles is most likely only worth reading as a set.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.