Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review (ARC): Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

Title: Prize of My Heart
Author: Lisa Norato
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House
Category: Christian Historical Romance
Type: Kindle/Paperback


Book Blurb:

An unsolved mystery separates ex-privateersman Captain Brogan Talvis from his lost son--his only living relation, his only family. Shortly before her tragic demise, his wife abandoned their infant to strangers, refusing to reveal the child's whereabouts. Now, three years later, Brogan has discovered the boy at the home of a shipbuilder's daughter, Lorena Huntley.

Lorena guards a dark secret about her young charge. She finds herself falling for the heroic captain who has come to claim his newly built ship, unaware his motive for wooing her is to befriend the boy he plans on reclaiming as his own--until the day another's evil deceit leaves her helplessly shipbound, heading toward England.

As the perfect opportunity to reclaim his son unfolds, Brogan is haunted by thoughts of Lorena in her dire circumstance, and he is forced to make a heartrending choice between his child and the woman who has begun to capture his heart. But only his unselfish sacrifice can win him the greatest prize of all--love.


Duxboro, Massachusetts, 1815

Captain Brogan Talvis rounded the stern of his newly-constructed, square-rigged ship, when from across the shipyard the sight of a young woman took him aback.
He’d ventured out for an early, private inspection—his first sight of the 880-ton merchantman—and what a beauty she was!  Soon she would be christened the Yankee Heart.  Until then, she rested complete and ready to be launched on a pair of stocks that sloped down the bank into the Bluefish River.
All he’d wanted was a few, solitary moments alone with his precious ship.  An opportunity to reflect on all that had brought him to this seaside town on the south shore of Massachusetts and the mission that still lay ahead.
Brogan had fully expected the yard to be deserted at this early hour—only moments ago he’d caught his first glimmer of the sun behind a horizon of bay inlets and calm waters—but there, in the flat stretch of marshland beyond, among the tall, gently-swaying grass, sat the girl on a broad, flat rock.
He found it odd that she should be alone in such a place.  Her legs were drawn up, spine curved in a long, slim arc with her forehead resting on her knees, her face concealed from view.  Lengthy whorls of ginger brown hair escaped a white cotton kerchief knotted atop her head.  She wore a checked, gingham dress the color of mustard seed relish and Boston brown bread.  From beneath its ruffled hem, the toes of a pair of serviceable shoes pointed toward the river.
Brogan stepped forward, the soles of his black leather Hessians crackling over a clutter of wood chips—golden new chips scattered and heaped over faded, aged ones.  A summer breeze stirred the air, hinting of salt and carrying the fragrances of fresh lumber and pine tar.
As he looked more closely, he noticed the girl’s muslin apron stained with spots of a deep berry red.  A kitchen maid, no doubt, but what business had she, idling about a shipyard at this hour of the morning?  Her presence annoyed him.
Why should he feel so drawn, so curious about her, when a matter of far weightier import occupied his head and heart?

Dialogue Highlight:

“Were you about to leave? My apologies, Miss Huntley. I came as quickly as I could, which is the reason, I fear, for my hurried and ungainly entrance. I hope I haven’t startled you … again.”
“Certainly not.” With a shake of her head, Lorena dismissed his apology as unnecessary, but the captain’s steady gaze told her he’d heard the breathlessness in her voice.
“No?” There was mischief in his eyes, and a smile played at one corner of his mouth. “Dare I hope I’ve redeemed myself and now have your trust? Or are you simply playing the brave girl? This time we are  most certainly alone, Miss Huntley, for when last I saw Drew, he was listening to one of Mr. Smith’s yarns. And I can assure you, Mr. Smith does not release a captive audience in quick time.”
He advanced with long strides, with the heavy clunk of is bootheels, his laughter echoing throughout the room, until all that separated them was mere inches, a this passage of soundless summer air and a few floating dust motes.
Lorena found herself once again at eye level with his strong jaw.
She glanced up to meet his gaze. It got her hot with exasperation how he endeavored to best her in their encounters, always with a confidence to overshadow hers. Make no mistake, she wasn’t foolish enough to believe she was a match for the likes of a privateering war hero. No, what got her dander up was the little boy inside who enjoyed watching her fluster. Well, not this time. Lorena had plenty of experience with little boys, and she saw through their games.
“If you’ve lured me here simply to bait me again, I shall leave,” she announced.
He chuckled, eyes bright, and removed his hat. The heat and sunshine had dampened his brow, and his sandy hair clung to his forehead where the brim had been resting. She found his shaggy hairstyle to be more roguish than fashionable, and yet it seemed to compliment him.
“Not at all,” he said. “I realize the inconvenience of meeting me privately, so I thank you for coming. The truth is, I have no excuse for my behavior in the shipyard except to blame my high spirits and an eagerness to make your acquaintance. As a lady, you were undeserving of my forwardness. For that, I beg your pardon. Also for any ill manners I may have shown the evening I dined in your home. Your identity took me by surprise, to say the least.”
He regarded her humbly. In his eyes shone a sweetness of expression.
“I accept your apology, Captain.” Lorena felt warmth in her cheeks. “As for myself, I am ashamed of the way I ran off. I was frightened. I thought—“
“You made the wise decision. I did not offer my name, and you had no idea what sort of man you were dealing with. I take full responsibility and pray Drew does not bear me any ill will. Perhaps you could help me in that respect. He is such a fine lad. It would please me greatly if we three could become friends.”
Lorena contemplated him a moment, surprised by his request. “How is it, Captain, that a famous privateersman, a man both feared and respected, displays such amazing tenderness towards a child? Most men do not concern themselves with little ones, finding them more nuisance than not. But not you, sir. Why, your face fairly glows whenever Drew is near. One minute I find you an arrogant fellow and the next quite surprisingly … sentimental.”
She watched him absorb this information, his expression grave, then thought better of herself and said, “Forgive me. I speak to personal.”
“Nay, I respect your honesty. May you always feel this free to share your opinion. Which makes me wonder myself how a refined young lady finds the courage to be outspoken. It seems we are like most people whose characters are more complicated than what first appears on the surface. It takes time to get to know the heart of the person within. And is that not what we are doing here? Getting to know one another? In which case, it would please me greatly if you’d call me Brogan.”
This pleased Lorena also. “Very well … Brogan.”


This is the first book I have read by Lisa Norato. I checked her website and saw that she had a couple of others out, so I will likely be reading them in the future. When I first read this blurb, I was intrigued. A pirate *coughs* I mean privateer … a young lady taking care of a child known as her brother, though he is not … said privateer searching for his long lost son … all tied in as a Christian historical romance. Yeah, I wanted to read it after that. So I found myself returning to my roots and enjoying yet another Christian romance book.

For those of you who don’t know, my mother gave me many Grace Livingston Hill books to try and encourage my reading, but hopefully steer me away from the … errr …. Smuttier variety I preferred. At that time it was strictly Johanna Lindsey. And she was right. I was too young to be reading those books, but I did anyway. And here I am, still loving the smut. But … she did instill in me a love of Christian romance and I do occasionally return to them from time to time. That said, let’s get back to the book.

So Brogan is a former privateer – not pirate. Although the distinction between the two for many was a thin line barely there. For me, hey ~ I love me a pirate! Brogan always wanted to captain his own ship. A difficult dream to obtain considering his harsh beginning in life. But he worked extremely hard and it finally happened. Prior to his captain position beginning, he married and had a son. But his wife was rather … ambitious ~ I guess is a good word for it. Though she had some other things going on as well. So while Brogan was away on his ship, she got rid of their son and told Brogan he would never find him. Soon after she perished in a fire and he never found out his son’s whereabouts. His purpose in life then became a focus of locating his son.

Enter Lorena. Brogan has found his son and he is living in the home of the Huntley’s as Drew. Lorena is Drew’s sister and has charge of him much of the time. Her meeting with the Captain does not begin on the right foot, but eventually the two become friends and Brogan’s world is knocked upside-down. He struggles with carrying out his plan to take his son back and the strong connection he feels with Lorena. Lorena too shares strong feelings towards Brogan. Eventually the catalyst occurs when Brogan admits who he truly is and not only one secret is revealed, an entire web of lies and deceit is unraveled. But will Brogan and Lorena be able to more forward from the devastating truth or will it destroy their delicate new-found affection?

What I really enjoyed in this story was the growth of all characters involved. Brogan starts out as a father desperate to get his son back. He hatches a plan to essentially kidnap his son away from the Huntley’s, but soon discovers a fondness for all of the Huntley’s. And when Brogan has to rescue Lorena, he realizes that fondness may be a bit more which pretty much throws a hitch in his plan. But this is not the only challenge Brogan will have to overcome, though I don’t feel I should reveal any more than I have. Lorena, too, has an epiphany of sorts when she realizes that someone she trusted was not as honorable as she had believed. She sort of blindly trust everyone and has a very good heart. But she also realizes that she should have understood signs that had always been present. But because of her nature to see the best in people, she denied existence of the negative qualities. The reader even sees growth in Drew and Mr. Huntley. Growth of character is one component I look for in a well written book.

The story was enjoyable and a pleasure to read. While lacking the physical intimacy that I generally read, I found that this story did not need such an enhancement. Prize of My Heart is beautifully written as it is and is easily a story of faith, perseverance, and inspiration. What one man holds as his greatest treasure ultimately leads him to the greatest treasure of all … the prize of his heart. I very much enjoy how Ms. Norato wraps the book up wonderfully with a sweet epilogue. I look forward to reading more of her stories in the future. 

(ARC paperback won from LibraryThing; provided by author)



  1. Thank you for the wonderful review! I'm thrilled to have Prize of My Heart featured on your blog and so pleased to know you enjoyed the story. I too began my love of romance novels reading Johanna Lindsey and others like her, but I was older than you and my mother actually encouraged me to read them. I very much enjoyed visiting and will definitely stop in again!

    1. Thank you so much, Ms. Norato! Johanna Lindsey rocks - she started it all for me and from there I was able to cultivate the love I have for authors and their stories today. How awesome that you mom encouraged you to read! Thank you so much for adding to my reading pleasure. I look forward to reading another of your books and would love to see you pop in sometime in the future. :) I thank you very much for taking the time to read my review and checking out my blog. :)


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