“Love’s Reckoning” by Laura Frantz A Revell Blog Tour

Two sisters. One man.  When he chooses one, will the other 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.

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?

Love’s Reckoning/By Laura Frantz/978-0-8007-2041-4/$14.99 Paperback/432 pages

Available September 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About Laura

I was born and raised in Kentucky, but my heart has always been in Berea, Madison County, the place my family has resided since the 18th-century.

My earliest memories are of the public library, standing in front of shelves filled with those little biographies of famous historical figures like Daniel Boone and George Washington and Sacajawea. I began scribbling stories at age 7 and thankfully never stopped. My passion then and now is history and all the wonders of past centuries.

I attended college at Denison University in Ohio and also in England, living in a manor/castle and studying the American Revolution from the British perspective. Shakespeare and 18th-century literature form the backbone of my English degree. I only took one creative writing class. Thanks to that magical time, I love creating heroes of Scots and Irish descent!

It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing – and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  She is, however, the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel’s Lady.

Currently I’m living in Washington state with my real-life hero, Randy, and our two sons, Wyatt and Paul. It’s a beautiful, rainy place – perfect for penning stories…

Endorsements:

“Stunning. Heart-wrenching. Breathless. Not since Gone with the Wind have I read an epic novel that has stolen my heart, my breath, my sleep to such a jolting degree. Love’s Reckoning marks Laura Frantz not only as a shining star in Christian fiction today but as a shooting star who soars skyward to the glittering heights of Rivers and Higgs —Julie Lessman, award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series

“You’ll disappear into another place and time and be both encouraged and enriched for having taken the journey.”—Jane Kirkpatrick, bestselling author of All Together in One Place and A Flickering Light

“Laura Frantz portrays the wild beauty of frontier life, along with its dangers and hardships, in vivid detail.”—Ann H. Gabhart, author of The Blessed

“Frantz paints a vivid picture of the tough life out in the wild, and yet her characters demonstrate that it was possible to have a wonderful life.”—RT Book Reviews for The Colonel’s Lady

My Review:

December, 1784.  York County, Pennsylvania.  Little did Silas Ballantyne know that when he arrived at Leige Lee’s home to finish out his blacksmith apprenticeship, he’d have to wed one of Lee’s daughters as part of the deal.  First offered was Elspeth, a smart, yet brash, conniving woman with secrets galore. And the second, Eden, a gentle and kind-spirited young woman.  Sound a little like Jacob choosing between Leah and Rebekah from the Old Testament?  But, oh, the story is just beginning!

Questions abound.  Will Silas agree to the marriage arrangement?  And if so, which woman would he choose?  Will his choice cause the other to wreak havoc in their lives?

Love’s Reckoning’s cover can easily depict a typical love story of girl meets boy, falls in love, contemplates marital compatibility, marries, and then lives happily ever after.  The author’s descriptions of the two women, one conniving and one gentle, completely destroy that image through the multiple scenarios and circumstances that transpire. Jealousy is a wicked theme in any household, but even more so with two sisters desiring the same man, and one is vindictive enough to try to get her way.  However, it’s not just the sisters’ descriptions that are richly depicted, vivid and graphic.  All the characters are realistic in their own specific way.

The suspense of what would occur daily in this dysfunctional family held me captive throughout the whole novel.  Just when you think things have come to a head, something more treacherous abounds.  You will have much to learn from the choices made by each woman and man.

Tragedy befalls both women, and is enough to trample your heart.  Yet you find hope through the faith and commitment shared by Eden and Silas.  Even when God doesn’t answer their prayers in the way they expected.

Laura’s novel so impacted my life because the quality and depth of her writing drew me deeply into the whole of the story, both good and bad, through each of the characters–the hope that prevails and the treachery that still abides.  The author has such a deep tenderness and wooing in her writing that I have fallen in love with her books.  They are deep, touching and real, just as you will find in Love’s Reckoning.  Her lyrical writing comes alive with phrases such as “her laughter as infectious as influenza” and “tobacco-colored map on his desk.”  The Gaelic language added a wonderful essence to the story as well.

This book was provided free by Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing Group for a Revell Blog Tour in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

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