Laura Frantz is an author who is gifted with a distinctive voice. Her prose is stunning and creates a storyworld that is rich in colors, smells, textures and sounds. Her words are almost effortless to read, which means she has taken great pains to bring them to life.
As I read her newest novel, Love's Reckoning, I didn't even notice the passage of time. I was transported to the year 1784, to a rural town in Pennsylvania, on the tail of the Revolutionary War, where a domineering father, and a cruel sister, contrive to harness the future happiness of young Eden Lee and the strapping Scotsman, Silas Ballantyne.
Even amidst deception, manipulation and great loss, Laura is able to spin a tale that is rich in warmth and love. As the seasons changed from winter, to spring, to summer and fall, I felt temperatures rise and fall and watched the rolling Pennsylvania landscape change. Laura's setting is one of the things I always look forward to in her books and she delivered beautifully once again.
Silas Ballantyne is a strong hero, with enough wounding to make him vulnerable. His love for playing the fiddle, sharing Holy Scripture with Eden and dreaming about a prosperous future, in the wilds of Pennsylvania, left me cheering for him, chapter after chapter. Eden was also a strong heroine, but not in the way of the modern woman. Eden's strength was in her quiet and gentle spirit. Her heart was to serve and she did it with gladness that defied her circumstance. I also rooted for Eden. I wanted her to break free from the bonds of her home life and experience freedom and joy, far away from those who would selfishly steal it from her.
I loved how Laura wove Eden's growing faith, and Silas' steadfast beliefs, into the fabric of her story, bringing the tale to a deeper place within my own heart. As the story unfolded, their spirits were knit together through their shared love of Scripture and their secret meetings on the stairwell. During those scenes, I often felt like an observer from the corner of the dark passage, watching their love grow and their faith deepen, even when people and things conspired against them.
The characters in Love's Reckoning are varied and unique, from the lilt of Silas' Scottish accent, to the dialect of Eden's Quaker Friend, Margaret, and all the Pennsylvanians, both kind and evil, in between, there is no shortage of personalities and flesh and blood people. They jump off the page and demand to be noticed.
Even though I have closed the cover on Laura's book, and the final sentence has been read, her characters live on in my heart and mind, along with the story of faith, and the promise of hope, in the sweeping saga of the Ballantyne Legacy.
Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Have you read Love's Reckoning, or any of Laura's other books?
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Please join me on Wednesday when I host Laura Frantz for a fun interview and book giveaway!