In the opening chapters of Beloved Captive, Emilie Gayarre finds herself traveling home to New Orleans in 1836 to tend to her dying father and hopefully obtain financing for a new schoolhouse for the island where she now lives. While home, she discovers a family secret that upends her self-perception; her travails increase when the ship upon which she’s returning to Fairweather Key is taken by pirates and Emilie finds herself kidnapped. Meanwhile, Caleb Spencer, a young Washington lawyer returning briefly to his mother’s plantation, comes upon the pirate ship and works out a plan to rescue Emilie. The tangled relationship these two embark upon from this point revolves around mistaken identities, mistrust, and denial of attraction.
This novel is the second in the Fairweather Key series of Christian historical novels. Not having read the first, it took me a while to understand Emilie’s motivations. Neither of the main characters inspires sympathy; both were at times short-tempered and standoffish, then righteously pious. The ending is incredibly rushed and unbelievable; after being set up for a showdown between Caleb and Emilie’s captor, the whole scene is over in less than a page. While this novel isn’t a chore to read, it certainly won’t lead me to more in the series. I was left with a decidedly “ho hum” feeling about the entire story.