Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

A Research Trip to Mackinac Island (Part 2) {Guest post and book giveaway!}

Note from Caroline: I’m thrilled to have author Jody Hedlund on the blog today sharing a bit about how she researches for her historical fiction novels. I recently finished reading her newest release, Captured by Love, and reviewed it earlier this week. Jody is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, and one of my favorite aspects is her obvious detail in research. Read on for her ideas, plus a book giveaway at the end!

To read Part 1 of this post about Jody’s research trip, visit Julie Musil’s blog here. To see all the posts from Jody’s Behind The Scenes of Captured by Love blog tour, click here.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

In the last post, I shared about the importance of research for historical novels. One of the ways historical novelists do research is by going on location to the setting of their books.

While research trips may not provide the best information about how life was like long ago (since SO much has changed over the ensuing years), the trips are still informative. And let’s face it, they’re FUN!

During my research trip to Mackinac Island, I took some time to learn about the island in general (see Part 1). But then I also spent an afternoon visiting Fort Mackinac which is a military post that was built in 1780 on the high limestone bluffs overlooking the town.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

The island (then known as Michilimackinac Island) offered a defensible location, especially with its deep sheltered harbor and limestone bluffs.

As I walked up the steep path that lead to the South Sally Port (a technical term for the south entrance of the fort), I could picture the soldiers scurrying up to the fort and stopping now and then to turn around and take in the magnificent view. If I’d been a soldier, I would have been sight-seeing during my climb to the top!

Once inside the stone walls, I took my time visiting all of the various historical buildings that comprise the fort, including the block houses, the stone officer’s quarters, and the soldier’s barracks. I even watched a rifle firing demonstration on the center green.

My favorite view was from the top of the stone wall at the front of the fort, the place where the cannons were placed to protect the island from any ships that might attack. Again the view is absolutely spectacular!

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

Since Captured by Love took place during the War of 1812, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be in the fort, firing at enemy ships, waiting for an invasion, and wondering if I’d live or die.

I was especially fascinated with the Black Hole, an infamous hole in the ground that was used as a place to hold prisoners. Without air or light, the hole was basically a death sentence to prisoners who had to languish in it for any length of time. Of course the picture I took doesn’t do justice to the cramped quarters. A full grown man wouldn’t have been able to sit or stand comfortably. And there weren’t any stairs to get out.

Research trip to Mackinac Island (guest post from Jody Hedlund)

Photo Credit – Jody Hedlund

I definitely had to make use of the Black Hole in Captured by Love! It seemed like the perfect place to have one of the characters have their blackest moment. I put the character in the hole with literally no way out. I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out if the character gets out alive!

So there you have it! A brief version of my research trip to Mackinac Island. Of course I had to end the trip with buying fudge. A person simply cannot go to Mackinac without buying their homemade, mouth-watering, world-famous fudge!

How about you? What’s your favorite flavor of fudge? (Mine is the either turtle or toffee!)

Do you want to win a signed copy of Captured by Love? Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below! This giveaway is open through the end of the day on Friday, July 18th (EDT).Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

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Author Jody HedlundJody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher’s Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.

Where readers can find me:

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Trust, Risk, and Growing in Faith {Book Review – Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund}

I’ve been a Jody Hedlund fan for a few years now. She creates interesting plot lines, weaves historical facts seamlessly within, and focuses on themes we can all relate to.

Her newest historical fiction romance release, Captured by Love (Bethany House, 2014), continues that tradition. Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Angelique MacKenzie lives on Michilimackinac Island off of the Michigan coast in 1814, during British rule of the island as an effect of the War of 1812. Angelique lives in poverty and cruel conditions because of the war and her misguided guardian. The harsh Michigan winters are even more so with the British forcing the island’s residents to sell their own food for the army. When Angelique’s childhood friend, Pierre Durant, returns to the island after years away as a fur trader, he sees the rough conditions and has to come to terms with the way he left he family and Angelique. The book follows their efforts to overcome the conditions and grow beyond their pasts to a brighter future. Will that future be together?

Jody’s analogies help set the tone and setting, rather than just exist to be unique for sake of being unique. Take this analogy on page 8 as an example:

“Her heart raced; its pounding rivaling one of the duty calls of the fort drummer.”

From that analogy alone, we can feel the bass of the drum translated to what that feels like when one’s heart is pounding so hard and deep. We also get a sense of the surrounding environment with a fort so close by.

She includes enough description for the reader to get a feel for the surroundings while still allowing the reader to create his or her own images while reading. She explains the realities of surviving a Michigan winter at that time through the character’s actions, perspectives, and reflections, and it’s intriguing for a reader to read and imagine how he or she might react in such situations.

This book covers themes of trust, risk, following love, and growing in faith. I love that both of the main characters, Angelique and Pierre, experience growth in their faith as well as their character. The characters both struggle (in their own ways) with dealing with failure in their decisions. Jody discusses the theme of growing in faith, not having to be perfect in faith – an important theme for all of us to consider.

"If God was her Rock, then she could be content anywhere." - quote from Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House, 2014)

One of my favorite parts of Jody’s books is to read the Author’s Note after I’ve finished the story. Jody highlights what portions of her story are taken directly from historical accounts. She lets the reader know what she modified for the sake of the story and what aspects of life during that time affected people similar to those in her story. Jody definitely does her research!

Stayed tuned for a guest post from Jody on how she researches for her novels coming this Friday! See the rest of the posts from her blog tour here.

Captured by Love provides a solid read with “awww”-inducing moments, a captivating plot, and an interesting setting.

How have you grown in faith and trust through trying circumstances?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher as a member of the author’s launch team. All opinions expressed are my own. I received no other compensation.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

Shop Signing Time, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Using Picture Books to Prepare for a Family Trip {}

Prepare for a Family Trip with Picture Books

Many kids with special needs thrive on a routine. (And, really, so do many typical-developing kids…and adults!) When the routine needs to change for a family trip, it can help drastically to prepare in various ways.Using Picture Books to Prepare for a Family Trip {}

Of course, picture books can help with that!

Read my post at The Library Adventure today for ways that picture books help transition, understanding, and retention better before, during, and after a family trip. I’d love to hear your ideas on how you prepare for a family vacation or road trip in the comments at The Library Adventure!

NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers (Zonderkidz)

For Your Reading Adventurers {Review – NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers}

Our kids are really into reading by themselves right now, particularly picture books and early readers. They both love to pick up their The Beginner’s Bible for reading on their own, as well as thumb through a few other Bibles we have around.

The updated version of Zonderkidz’s NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers (Zondervan, 2014) offers a great “next step up” for young Bible reading. NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers (Zonderkidz)

We all (adults and kids) love the full color aspects and the fonts used in this Bible.

The introduction is written towards the young reader, rather than the parent or teacher who might be reading with the child. This tactic lets the child know this Bible is for them to read, learn, and love. We love both the application and study pieces in this Bible, and it might have quickly become a favorite in our house.

Study Aspects

  • Each book begins with one page offering an introduction to the book itself. These introductions answer who wrote the book, why the book was written, what we learn about God from the book, who is important in the book, when the events in the book occurred, where they occurred, and some of the highlights in the book. I love how this offers a “first” version of a study Bible.
  • Each book offers numerous “Did You Know?” features that define a term or phrase or explain a historical tidbit.
  • The “Life in Bible Times” sections describe cultural history in about a paragraph to help the reader understand some Scriptural references and cultural differences.
  • The “People in Bible Times” sidebars highlight a person within that chapter and summarize who he/she was and his/her actions or status.
  • I love that this Bible includes a subject index, a dictionary, and eight full-color study maps (not simplified version). These tools help kids learn how to use a study Bible.

Application Features

  • Through each book are “Words to Treasure” sidebars highlighting a verse from within that chapter. These verses would be great to study deeper as a family or memorize.
  • The “Live It!” sections within each book offer the most reflective application. Each feature summarizes an event the reader just read and asks questions or gives activity ideas to help the reader decide how he/she might respond in a similar situation. Particularly when paired with parent discussion, these activities can foster reflection and growth. Most of the activities seem to be geared towards early- to mid-elementary ages.
  • In a few places, readers will find special sections that emphasize key themes of the Bible and questions for application. In the OT, a 4-page section summarizes the ten commandments, refers to various Bible themes (and accompanying verses), and highlights famous prophets. Another section talks about how to pray. Another section shares a poem on the twelve disciples.

We love the NIrV translation, and my husband and I even compare this version to our “adult” versions at times to gather new perspectives. This Bible is beautifully presented and filled with helpful and interesting resources.

How do your younger children study the Bible? What tools are their favorites to use?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this Bible from the publisher and BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

Shop Signing Time, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Learning Activities for Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

Learning Activities for Books

We love book-based activities. With most of the kids’ units, I plan activities on a theme based on two to five books. The kids love learning about a topic through a book, then completing a few activities right after to help cement that knowledge.Learning Activities for Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

At The Library Adventure today, my book-based post is linked up with The Poppins Book Nook, a link-up filled with book-based activities.

Join me at The Library Adventure today for learning activities to accompany Look Up! Bird-Watching In Your Own Backyard.