Merrimon Book Reviews

Snowy Egret

Zebulon Pike

Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas."

Acta de la Independencia del Imperio Mexicano
Mexican War of Independence (1810 - 1821):  armed conflict between the people of Mexico (led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians) and Spanish colonial authorities. 

From Merrimon Book Reviews
Desires of Her Heart
 Desires of Her Heart by Lyn Cote
  by Lyn Cote

Freedom and honor: Seeing with the eyes of God
Dorritt Mott is a young woman who knows her mind.  She values her independence and has no desire to marry.  Dorritt is a sensible, practical woman who doesn't go in for the romantically exaggerated conversations of all the trappings of polite aristocratic Louisiana society.  The plans of her step-father, Mr. Kilbride, run counter to her values and the plans she wants for herself.  With the Panic of 1819 in the country's background and her step-father's own financial position threatened as well, the family heads west to Texas to join Stephen F. Austin's settlement.  Secretly, Dorritt and her maid Reva hope that Texas will bring them freedom and men of honor.  The journey brings her face to face with Quinn, a half-breed scout, a man whose integrity and honor inspires Dorritt.  As they travel westward, the dangers mount.  If the perils of terrain and climate were not enough to threaten their success, the historical background of the 1821 Mexican revolution in Spain is moving forward to the Texas Revolution of 1836.  Whatever security Dorritt has before the journey is now overturned.  She faces never-before encountered challenges.  Racial prejudice and attitudes limiting women threaten both Reva and Dorritt.  Can the two of them maintain their faith?  Amidst all the difficult cirmcumstances they face, can they find the desires of their heart?

In THE DESIRES OF HER HEART, the first of the Texas Star of Destiny series, Lyn Cote sets her characters in a period of American history which has an uncanny relevance to today's issues in terms of the challenges faced by individuals even though the exact circumstances are different.  Unsure of her own economic welfare and often unable to change the direction of her step-father's ways, Dorritt focuses on the things she can change and maintains her faith in God. Dorritt has steadfastness and compassion for others despite the troubled times surrounding her.  Quinn has a mysterious appealing side that attracts her.  He listens to her and values her.  But can he have enough faith in himself and in God to reach for his deepest desire?

THE DESIRES OF HER HEART sets the historical stage for the series.  Lyn Cote details the complexity of different policies on slavery in Louisiana and Texas as well as the difficult alliances between Spain, Mexico, and the anglo-americans.  She details both the possibilities of freedom and the racial and gender prejudices that influence human relationships.  The story is fast-paced and full of action.  In the first part of the romance, Quinn might seem less developed and yet, the focus on Dorritt feels appropriate as it marks her as different than many of the other characters who rely mostly on others to define their self-worth.  As the narrative progresses, the focus switches to Quinn with several moving twists that define his character.

The beauty of THE DESIRES OF HER HEART comes from the manner in which Lyn Cote brings faith to this inspirational romance. 
First, the heroine Dorritt is a brave character with a
sense of herself.  Even though her family situation is not all hunky-dory and she often finds herself surrounded by some rather unsavory characters, she has a strength from within. She is a woman who reads, is comfortable in the quiet of aloneness, relying on her faith rather than the latest fashion.  Lyn Cote presents an image of faith that is prayerful rather than preachy.  Dorritt's prayers are quiet and persona, showing her close relationship with God.   Even when she talks to Quinn about her faith, her words are born from within and one senses a deep sharing between them rather than the kind of somewhat forced conversion often seen in inspirational romance.  As a Christian woman, Dorritt is a refreshing character.  She has a lot of spunk and isn't just wishy-washy nice or clothed in an unrealistic sense of perfection.  She calls things like she sees them and yet she is full of compassion too --- and she is able to revise her opinion when more information becomes available. Lyn Cote doesn't gloss over the difficulties of family relationships.  Lyn Cote's use of natural imagery, like the egret, reinforces the prayerful inspirational element of this romance.  Instead of preaching down to readers, Lyn Cote inspires the imagination with images to see and meditate on the presence of God.  Throughout the romance Dorritt listens to God, to herself and to others.  For its prayerful tone, Lyn Cote's romance THE DESIRES OF HER HEART is likely to appeal to a wider segment of the inspirational romance circle than the traditional target audience. 

Publisher: Avon Inspire  (Feb. 2009)
Series: Texas Star of Destiny

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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