July 20, 2015

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino - Spotlight and Giveaway

Published: July 7, 2015
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Southold Chronicles #2

In an uncertain time, Heather Flower faces a choice that will change her life forever

It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montaukett tribe, is celebrating her wedding feast when a rival tribe attacks, killing the groom and kidnapping her. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is bound by her captors and left to die—until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.

Still tender from her loss, Heather Flower begins to heal in the home of the Hortons, English friends of her people. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her longtime friendship with Ben Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice—stay true to her friend or follow her heart.

About the author:
Rebecca DeMarino writes love, legends and lore as a historical romance author and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She inherited her love of baking and gardening from her mother, a love of horses, reading and writing from her dad, and the wanderlust gene from both parents. Her travels have taken her from Alaska to Nebraska and Florida, from Long Island to England and Italy, and from Washington DC to Texas, California and Guam. But usually you can find her at home, enjoying her grandchildren and baking crisp little ginger cakes. From Publisher’s Weekly ~ DeMarino's … strong suit is recreating history and relating it to readers. You can also find her at www.RebeccaDeMarino.com, @RebeccaDeMarino, on Facebook and Pinterest.

He settled himself atop his own bedding, tucking his musket close to his side. The ground was hard and the night alive with cricket chirps. Somewhere an owl hooted. He propped his hands beneath his head and stared at the heavens. The night was warm and the ink sky a dance of thousands of winking stars. An astral display fell as if the sky had parted. Some Indians believed it to be a sign of travel heroes and he glanced over to the still form of Heather Flower and hoped she’d seen it. He asked God for travel mercies as sleep claimed him.


Heather Flower was awake before the sun rose. The crescent moon had set hours ago, but the crisp stars still illuminated the sky. She crept toward the glow of the fire and sat. She clutched the comb Dirk had given her the day before and began to pull it through the tangles in her hair. Strand by strand the snarls came undone. As the men began to stir around her, she finished a long braid over her shoulder. Cook came out to refresh the

Growing up, I always knew Christmas would soon be here when the ginger cookies baked by Grandmother Horton arrived by mail, carefully wrapped in a green Frederick and Nelson’s shirt box! She baked them for us each year and when she could not, my mother continued the tradition. I have tried to do the same, baking them each December for my three daughters and grandchildren. My 9th great-grandfather, Barnabas Horton was a baker from Mowsley, England, and I like to think the cookie genes came from him! The following recipe is Grandmother’s original. I use canola oil instead of the Mazola. These are delicious with a glass of icy cold milk, but I enjoy them with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, too!

Grandmother Horton’s Ginger Cookies 
Combine 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Mazola oil, 1 egg, 4 T. molasses, 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 level tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. ginger.

Mix well, roll into small balls. Dip in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove to rack and cool.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!


How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling? 
This aspect just amazes me. I always thought I would write contemporary suspense with a touch of romance and a Christian worldview. But when I sat down to write my first novel, it was a historical about my Puritan ancestors! Talk about getting into the thick of things. So while I think there is definitely a message that comes out in my writing, I write to entertain through story and To Capture Her Heart, like book one of The Southold Chronicles, is a love story I hope my readers enjoy. The spiritual thread that touched my heart as I researched the book is that we are all God’s children, no matter who we are or where we came from. 

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career? 
It was when I watched my dad, Howard Worley, type “The End” for his novel, The Stagecoach Murders. He began writing that book at age 87, because I was writing a novel. He would send me each chapter in a priority envelope as he finished them, and he was amazing me. Then when he was almost finished he required open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. Two days later he had a major stroke. His recovery is a whole other story, but I was able to help him type the last four chapters while he dictated, and then we published it through Create Space. Watching him autograph a copy for me was my second greatest moment, followed closely by his book signing at his 90th birthday party. He’s 92 now!

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from? 
I grew up listening to my mom’s stories about Barnabas Horton, my ninth great-grandfather and how he came across the pond from England on a ship called The Swallow, in the 1600’s. When my brother became interested in genealogy, we discovered there was a lighthouse named after Barnabas, located on Long Island. I asked my mom if she’d like to go there, and off we went. There was a lot of interesting information about Barnabas. He was a baker and a very recent widower with two young sons when he met my ninth great-grandmother, Mary, in Mowsley, England. But I could find very little about her, and I began to wonder about what dreams and motivation she had, and courage she must have possessed when she married and then left her family behind for the wilds of Long Island. A few years later, I began writing my first novel in a quest to give her a voice. While researching that book, A Place in His Heart, I uncovered a nugget of information about a Montaukett woman called Heather Flower. She is said to be the daughter of Grand Sachem Wyandanch, and I wanted to use the tidbit in book one. But the decade did not fit. So I took book two, To Capture Her Heart, up a decade and she became my heroine! The Hortons and Southold provide the backdrop of the story and sweet Ben Horton is all grown up. It was such a fun book to research and write!

What was the greatest challenge in writing this book? 
After time management (isn’t that a problem for us all?) the greatest challenge is also something I enjoy the most – the research! Though some documents exist such as Barnabas’s will, and some that pertain to his landholdings and tenure as a magistrate, I didn’t have any diaries or letters. And I found many controversies of “facts”. Heather Flower’s existence is an example. Some believe her to be a myth, others say she existed but was not Quashawam. Though that could be frustrating at times, it also afforded some leeway which is nice when you are writing fiction!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in? 
I was born in a car and have been on the move ever since. My dad delivered me, and my sisters can still remember standing in the picture window of our house with the babysitter and Dad holding me up so they could get a glimpse. He was a career Navy pilot and my husband a career officer in the Air Force. I retired as a service director from United Airlines in 2008 and settled in the Pacific Northwest. I’m blessed with three beautiful daughters, eight beautiful grandchildren, and when I married my sweet husband in 2006, he added a charming son and a beautiful daughter and three more beautiful grandchildren to the count. I should say we are empty nesters, with all of those kids happily settled with their own spouses, which give me time to be a fulltime writer!

What’s next for you? 
I just turned in the manuscript for the third book in The Southold Chronicles. It moves up another decade—to 1664—and Patience Terry, the young girl who sailed with the Hortons on The Swallow is my heroine. My working title was Pure Patience and I love her story! And I love the editing phase of a book, so I’m looking forward to that. To Follow Her Heart release next July! 

A fun fact from Rebecca:
Two Heroes, Two Sovereigns, One Island

A fun fact I discovered, and perfect for a story with two heroes, was that in the seventeenth century, Long Island was an island divided in half with two sovereigns: the Dutch on the West end and the English on the East End.

In 1621 the Dutch laid claim to Long Island, but by the end of the 1630’s the English challenged their possession with an attempt to settle Cow Bay (present-day Manhasset) on the West End. Construction of homes was barely underway when the Dutch arrested six of their company for trespassing.

The English’s nonviolent tactic of peopling and planting a settlement was not new to the Dutch. In 1635 they expressed concern that the Bay Colony should “so little care about their Netherland neighbors of the same religious profession, should so little respect their anterior possession.” The Dutch officials recognized the Cow Bay settlement as a first step to take over the entire island.

The Dutch could not afford a war in the colonies and released the six after they signed a pledge to disperse from Cow Bay. The pesky English did not tarry and left for the East End, far from the scrutiny of the Dutch. They commenced to remove the Dutch signs claiming “token of possession” and began colonization.

For years the two sovereigns bickered with each other, but in 1650 Dutch governor Petrus Stuyvesant signed a treaty in Hartford and traded Connecticut land claims for a clear border on Long Island. The line ran north to south, just west of Oyster Bay. And though Holland accepted the terms, England rejected all Dutch claims in the New World as illegal.

All the same, the boundary held (though frequently tested) until 1664 when the English warships came up the sound and took over New Amsterdam. Not a shot was fired and many of the Dutch inhabitants elected to remain peacefully under English rule, including Governor Stuyvesant.

The division of Nassau County to the west and Suffolk County to the east reflects the boundary even today. King Charles II gave New Amsterdam to his brother, the Duke of York, and renamed the fledgling city New York.

And the native people who inhabited the island thousands of years before the Europeans arrived? They were a kind and friendly people who without their expertise in farming, fishing and survival in the wilds of Long Island, the immigrants might not have survived. They traded with the Dutch and were loyal to the English.

It proved a perfect setting for To Capture Her Heart, book two of The Southold Chronicles. Two heroes, two sovereigns, one island: the home of Heather Flower, the princess of Montauk.


To Capture Her Heart Book Launch


  1. Thanks for sharing! I love all the fascinating history!

  2. What a lovely giveaway, beautiful feature and fascinating post about this author, her interests, writing and background. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Thank you for the opportunity, it's a lovely giveaway and I appreciate being able to participate in it!

  4. I love the historical facts in this book! :) It's so exciting to learn and peeks my interst in learning more!