The greatest stories ever written are not just borne out of beautiful narrative arcs but by surviving time, retaining its vividness and taking the readers back in time through its pages. ReadersMagnet Review features the novel Captive Bride by Marjorie J. Hersom.

Captive Bride is a haunting story of a 15-year old girl who was abducted by two sailors, worse with the aid of her 17-year old married aunt. Maria never thought that her peaceful life in the small village of Hagatna in Guam, would one day be devastated by just a single deed from strangers and by a family member acting on what she thought was for Maria’s best interest. Marjorie J. Hersom’s Captive Bride follows the kidnap and rape of Maria. In this book, the author recounts the struggles of Maria and her arduous road towards freedom and redemption.

The Art of Spoken Narrative

Captive Bride’s uniqueness resides in the fact that this is a story that happened more than 180 years ago. Maria’s tragedy and redemption became a family narrative passed on from one generation to the next. Very few spoken narrative survive the test of time with its truthfulness intact and its dignity preserved genuinely. It is interesting to note the vividness of Maria’s recollection. We travel back into 19th century in Asia Pacific starting with the detailed descriptions of Bonin Island (Ogasawara), its background as well as the prevalent culture and practices of the time.

The Beauty of a Written Memoir

Hersom’s simple yet well-written chronicle transforms Maria’s journey into a timeless story. Leafing through the pages is as if anyone from Maria’s time had recorded everything that transpired. Marjorie J. Hersom writes in plain style and yet its vividness is ensured by it. It is interesting to note that Hersom, in her own style, and perhaps with the guidance of those who told the story before her, was able to paint a clear backdrop of the world in Maria’s time. Not only did the author write with fine detail her great great-grandmother’s ordeal, struggle, and transformation. Marjorie J. Hersom also succeeded in depicting the political times of Maria, the geopolitical changes that Bonin Island endured is not separate from Maria’s evolution. So wonderfully woven that one can almost say that Maria’s journey is a subtle metaphor that of Bonin Island’s history of conquests.

A Bittersweet Family Heirloom

Four generations of the Savory descendants wonderfully preserved Maria’s story.

The Story of Maria del los Santos y Castro-Savory is the story of the Savory descendants. Passed on through the family’s tradition of Sunday dinner table stories, Maria and her bittersweet life story lives on. Her story is of tragedy, betrayal, violence, countless heartbreaks, and complications, yet author Marjorie J. Hersom was able to come up with a pleasant tapestry of a family heirloom.

A Haunting yet Compelling Read

The Captive Bride takes off first as a tragic narrative, then as the reader travels through the pages, a series of pleasant moments pop from time to time. There is conflict looming over for most of the story, yet seeds of hope are scattered across pages. The Captive Bride is more than a story of the abduction and rape of one woman. It is also a story of friendship among the outcast in Henrietta and Hanna. It is also about a little island and the lives of people seemingly cut off from the rest of the world and its complexities. Lastly, Marjorie J. Hersom’s book is about coming to terms with life’s tragedies and finding serenity in one’s own time. It is a memoir that will leave readers appreciate life and the value of family. ReadersMagnet Book Review recommends this book.

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