Tuesday, September 18, 2012
On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in Lancaster. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege's daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other's jealousy destroy their love?
In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. "Love's Reckoning" is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.
There are few books anymore that I am wildly eager to read, but hand me a book with Laura Frantz's name on the cover, and I promise you, I will go into hiding until I've read that book from cover to cover. When I had no choice at times but to place my bookmark inside this haunting novel, my heart just ached to be back within its pages.
That was my journey with Love's Reckoning--a breathtakingly beautiful tale of a yearning love between two gentle souls. Eden's sweet spirit was always in danger of being squashed under her father's stern manner, and Silas's quiet strength was the rock in an otherwise tumultuous household. But their love prevailed in spite of dangerous ploys, hurtful lies, and long distances apart from one another.
I could feel the tension lurking within the walls of the Lee house because of the secret they were forced to keep or the alienation they would face in their small town. I could sense the jealousy Elspeth felt toward Eden, even though she oftentimes got what she wanted anyway. And I could imagine that, if Elspeth was standing right in front of me, I just might be tempted to slap her face. There were so many feelings and emotions for me here...many more than I'm used to experiencing in a typical novel.
That, my friends, is what makes Laura's books so exceptional. Her characters work their way into my heart and mind until their like my friends and family. I want to invite them over for some tea or hot chocolate and talk for hours and hours. And quite possibly, the characters from Love's Reckoning may just be my favorite. Granted, I have loved Lael, Morrow, and especially Roxanna, but Eden and her loving soul will always leave a lasting memory.
So...bravo, Laura. You continue to impress this reader with each and every novel you write, and I know I'm not the only one. Our next journey with the Ballentynes can't begin soon enough.
**Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.