Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Love's Fortune, by Laura Frantz

May I just stop and sigh? As soon as the book covers appeared above, that's exactly what I did! Wrapped up in these three breathtaking images are journeys, relationships, and wonderful memories that have become a part of who I am, truly. I feel like I should be recognized as an honorary member of the Ballantyne family.

Over the past three years, as each book released in Laura Frantz's series, I devoured them like I would a decadent treat. I ached with the Ballantynes, I celebrated with them, and I fell in love over and over again, until their story became mine.

That's how much I love The Ballantyne Legacy and its author, my dear friend, Laura Frantz.

I'm thrilled to be sharing the third and final review for this series. You can find my reviews for Love's Reckoning here and Love's Awakening here.

But today is all about Wren and her Jamie, in Love's Fortune.

Love's Fortune is the story of Wren Ballantyne, the granddaughter of Silas and Eden from Love's Reckoning, and the niece of Ellie and Jack in Love's Awakening.

Wren grew up in the peaceful Kentucky woods, far away from the prestige and responsibilities of her Pittsburgh family. When her father is called back to Pittsburgh to help with Ballantyne business, Wren is thrust into a society she abhors, and finds herself a pawn in her aunt and cousin's scheme to marry her off well.

James Sackett is one of the Ballantyne's most trusted steamboat pilots, and a close friend of the family. When he is asked to act as an escort for Wren's debut into society, he is reluctant, but agrees. He finds Wren to be enchanting, but out of his reach. Embroiled in the Underground Railroad, his life in danger, James is in no position to take a wife--and even if he was, he has nothing to offer Wren Ballantyne.

As the Season progresses, and Wren wins a place as the most sought-after debutante in Pittsburgh, will she follow the plans carefully laid out for her--or will she embrace her heart's desire?

Love's Fortune is set in Pittsburgh in the early 1850s, when political turmoil, rapid industrial growth, and distinct societal roles add suspense and drama at every turn. The historical details in Love's Fortune are impeccable, and both educating and entertaining all at once. Laura artfully weaves three generations into one sweeping series, and includes secondary characters seamlessly throughout all the books.

As always, Laura's beautiful prose and lovely descriptions paint a captivating picture. The colors, smells, tastes, and textures are almost tangible. She adds enough detail to set you firmly in her storyworld, but leaves room to allow your own imagination to roam across the Pennsylvania and Kentucky landscapes.

From the steamboat, bringing Wren up the river to Pittsburgh, to the castle-like mansion being built by a neighbor, this beautiful story dances to life, and offers a fitting end to an exquisite series of books.

Your Turn: Have you read any of Laura's books? The Ballantyne Legacy spans many decades in American history. Which is your favorite decade, and why?

Be sure to check out Laura's Pinterest board for Love's Fortune here.


  1. Gabrielle! As I was reading all I could think of was the way YOU have with words! I'm really honored by the way you "got" every detail of the novel and how beautifully you expressed it here. It's a very moving review and I can't thank you enough. But I'll try! When your debut releases I'll be thrilled to do whatever I can to help. I know it's going to be an exquisite treat, too! Must pin this with great pleasure!! Thanks from the bottom of my heart for being there for not only Wren but all the Ballantyne books.

    1. Laura, it is truly my pleasure. Your books are a work of art, and as a reader, I appreciate the time and attention you give to your stories--but as a writer, I'm in awe. I hope everyone gets a chance to read your writing, and if I can influence even one more reader, I'll be thrilled. I can't wait to review your next story!! And thank you for the amazing offer. I hope to take you up on it. :)

  2. Such a beautiful review on a beautiful book - thank you, Gabrielle!!

    I have read all of Laura's books - the first 5 back to back - and am now reading "Love's Fortune". I yearn to have a constant new supply of her writing to read.

    I don't have a favorite decade of those represented in her books, and picking a favorite of her books is so difficult, however, "Love's Reckoning" nearly "did me in", so to speak (LOL). I shed many tears while reading it - both from sympathy and joy.

    I simply love everything about Laura's books - the emotion, characters, story lines, historical detail, descriptions, beauty and flow of her words, etc.. And I feel just as you do (especially with the series), I'm sad the book has to have an ending and the characters are like family members - loved, yearned for when the book ends, and joyfully anticipated with the coming book. I will truly miss the Ballantyne family!!

    I'm not a rapid reader, rather one who loves to savor and mediate on the words when reading - I also prolong coming to the end of a wonderfully inspiring book.

    Laura's books are truly too wonderful for me to describe adequately - they touch my heart so deeply. I learn so much about an author from his/her books - I feel they ARE their books, leaving pieces of themselves in each one they write. Laura is every bit as sweet and wonderful as her books and although she is a country girl, as am I - if I had to describe both she and her books in one word, the first that comes to mind - out of so many appropriately wonderful ones - is ELEGANT!!

  3. P.S. Shared post!!


Your comments are my favorite part of blogging!