Barbour Books (November 1, 2013)
Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****
ELUSIVE HOPE showcases a magnificent kaleidoscopic portrayal of a misty and steaming jungle, teeming with dangerous animals and a plethora of beastly bugs and irksome insects. The darker side of the jungle contrasts deeply with the stark beauty of beautiful sweet-smelling blossoms and orchids, and with lofty palms parading a rainbow of birds flitting about in the above canopy. This incredible immersion into the Brazilian jungle is experienced by the reader as this exciting adventure takes us deep into the jungles of Brazil during the year of 1866, as the New Hope colonists all endeavor to either create or discover the path to a new and happier life for themselves.
Slithering snakes, thick-bodied spiders, and hordes of insects are just a few of the horrors the jungle offers to Magnolia Scott - a spoiled belle of the South more used to summer balls and slaves catering to her every need. Forced to come here by her overbearing parents after the Civil War, Magnolia can only think of finding a way home again and comes to see the handsome and considerably masculine Hayden Gale as a means to that end. However, as she follows him into the oppressive jungle on her way to hopeful freedom, she sees him as nothing other than as an obnoxious brutish toad! Likewise, Hayden finds her equally annoying, spoilt and whiny, and unpredictable, but cannot deny her alluring beauty and discovers along the way that there just may be more to the pampered princess than what he originally thought. Could love possibly triumph in their circumstances and shared deception?
While Hayden and Magnolia are trying to reach their goals, some of the other colonists are discovering more than they bargained for as well. A dark and heavy oppressiveness is felt by all on the island. Not helping matters is the half-gone mad Mr Graves who has begun exploring underneath an ancient temple, seeking to release the evil it’s rumored to contain. Wiley Dodd is on a greedy quest for gold and is also making one of the colonists very nervous. And Angeline and James are attracted to each other but will they ever be able to reach beyond their past and the secrets it contains?
As demonstrated, this novel is as bursting with intrigue and fascinating story-lines as the jungle is with life! Expect also to be swept up in the romance that MaryLu writes with such a skilfully expressive and passionate brush of the pen, that you’ll find yourself totally immersed in the jungle along with these multi-dimensional characters. Waiting with great anticipation for the next book in this series!!
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GIVEAWAY: We are giving away two copies of Elusive Hope this week (e-book to international winner) and we're also giving away a beautiful spun glass schooner ornament to one follower that watches the above book trailer for Elusive Hope. Make sure to leave in your comment that you have watched it! DON'T FORGET YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, we can't contact you without it should you be the winner!