The Captain Takes a Wife: Historical Fiction by Doris Durbin

Leah Courtney
The Captain Takes a Wife begins with a chance encounter. Set in the South at the end of the Civil War, it's a fast-moving story that involves love at first sight, gentlemanly bravery, and a young woman on the run from danger.

Historical fiction review

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From the book's description:

Sarah Franklin, a young teacher escaping an arranged marriage to a corrupt man, runs straight into the arms of Captain Harry Richardson as he prepares to board a train leaving Macon, Georgia, in 1875. She begs him to help her, and the captain soon finds himself in the midst of a ruse to hide her identity from her pursuers. When he impulsively kisses her in front of his amazed friends and some curious newspaper reporters, everything changes, and events soon spiral out of control.

Harry is a handsome man who carries his Bible and sidearm in a worn, leather valise. He fought on the side of the Confederacy until he was captured at Missionary Ridge; he spent time in a northern prison, but was released when he agreed to go west and fight the Indians with the U.S. Cavalry. Now that the war is over and he has earned his theology degree, Harry is looking forward to a new beginning as a circuit-riding preacher in the North Georgia mountains. But first, he must survive the train trip, protecting a woman he barely knows and putting his life in jeopardy to battle a determined band of hired gunmen.

In this inspirational historical tale, a soldier-turned-minister learns that even if you're starting a new life, there are some things you can't leave behind.

I was eagerly anticipating this read when I had read the synopsis above. I like this time period in historical fiction. And the idea of a dashing hero come in to save the day unexpectedly was one I thought would make a sweet romance and an interesting story.

Unfortunately I thought the story often fell flat.

The storyline was an interesting one, but the events unfolded in a pretty unbelievable manner. Sarah and Harry were falling in love before they had met when she attended a revival meeting at which he was preaching. He was drawn to her and she to him in such a way that when they actually ran into each other- literally- there was love at first sight. Harry was willing to believe everything she told him as she was running away, jump in and protect her, and then offer to marry her. In addition, all of his friends took all the events at face value and jumped to Sarah's aid as well, including Harry's buddies who abandoned all of their plans in an instant and jumped on the train Harry was boarding when they saw events unfold.

I wanted to like the story, and there were a few likable elements. Sarah and Harry were likable characters, but they weren't very much developed. I felt as if there was much action- a chain of events- but not much look into the thoughts and intents of the characters.

The book is a fairly light and easy read, and there is a tender romance that unfolds. If you're looking for that and don't mind events being a little unbelievable, you may enjoy The Captain Takes a Wife. I give the book 3 stars and a G rating for content. You can find the book on Amazon here and read a Kindle sample below.

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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