Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review of "Love's Reckoning" by Laura Frantz

Rating: 5 Stars
~  ~  ~
Summary from Revell: On a bitter December day in 1784, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania. Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship quickly and move west. But because he is a fast worker and a superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in York by appealing to an old tradition: the apprentice shall marry one of his master's beautiful daughters.

Eden is as gentle and fresh as Elspeth is high-spirited and cunning. But are they truly who they appear to be? In a house laced with secrets, each sister seeks to secure her future. Which one will claim Silas's heart--and will he agree to Liege's arrangement?

In this sweeping family saga, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

Review:  I spent a recent rainy Saturday morning lost in the pages of Laura Frantz's latest novel, Love's Reckoning.  The first novel in the Ballantyne Legacy series has left a lasting impression on my heart and mind.  In many ways it reminds me of the British period movies that leave me reflecting on the intricacies of the plot long after the last scene fades to black.  Frantz demonstrates her mastery of the writing craft in each of her novels, and I always find myself captivated.  

Love's Reckoning pulled me in from the first chapter with the secrets and pain that reside in the Lee household.   Eden is a lovable heroine, a sparkle of light and innocence, especially when compared to her sister and father.  It is nearly impossible not to sympathize with her from the start, which makes certain circumstances in her life all the more heartrending. This novel is truly a drama, with sorrow, tension, and the slow revealing of secrets to propel the plot forward.  There are times in Love's Reckoning when love and happiness seem to be defeated and torn apart by life's evils. 

From the moment Eden meets Silas, it is clear that they are meant for each other.  One question lingers until the conclusion: "Will the circumstances fighting against their union claim victory"? Frantz builds a gentle and powerful love story between sweet Eden and noble Silas. Their interactions are full of romantic tension, but their feelings are not limited to physical attraction.  The small acts of kindness between Silas and Eden as their love grows is more pure and poignant than any embraces (though the embraces come in due time).  

Growing up in a household devoid of faith, Eden is very hungry for spiritual nourishment.  Silas shares his faith with Eden in moments that are particularly touching and sweet. They are the essence of a perfect union, each helping the other to grow spiritually and emotionally.  Eden's interest in and reverence of verses of scripture and church helps Silas to reconnect with his beliefs. Ultimately, Eden learns to rely on faith to see her through the heartbreaks that lie ahead.  

Love's Reckoning is a powerful story of everlasting love. Laura Frantz transports readers to 18th century Pennsylvania, from York County, to Philadelphia, to Pittsburgh. She brings the scenery and the characters to life through her words. The Ballantyne Legacy is off to a memorable start. After reading the preview at the end of Love's ReckoningI am already looking forward to the second novel.

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

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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