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.
Coming into reading this book I already knew a handful of things. One, I already consider Laura’s previous books to be on my keeper shelf and consider her a favorite author. Two, Courting Morrow Little was an incredible read and perhaps one of my ultimate favorites. Three, The Colonel’s Lady has a palpable romance (like Julie Lessman good!) that keep me turning pages even soon after having a baby (and many distractions). Four, this is a new series and I love series beginnings! Five, have you seen the cover image?! Now, here’s the problem (for one it is just after 2:30 in the morning!)… At about 125 pages in I did not have a clue where the story was going to go. Usually after reading so many novels I can take my little guess and then nicely see things unroll before my eyes as I turn the pages, but not here. I was tense, I was sad, I was elated, I was so angry, I was ridiculously giddy as if in on a secret myself, I was hopeless, and then I was so full of hope I was ready to scream outloud (but it’s two am by this point and the little blossoms are sleeping…). The fact that there were so many possibilities kept me completely enraptured with pure (delightful!) agony that I just had to turn and see what might happen. What’s coming next? — This was just as engaging a read as Rita Gerlach‘s latest series is turning out to be!
Now seriously. Could you authors quit trying to keep vying for my favorite book position, I shouldn’t have to keep changing! This is enchanting with a hint of Jacob’s wives and Cinderella. My heart screams run runaway! Who needs sleep when you have novels such as this?! Eden is such a character and so real. She is seemingly a perfect good girl, but watching her grow through over the course of the two parts of this story is incredible. As a reader it is very easy to get behind her and cheer her on, and want to shake her silly at times. Silas Ballantyne is just wonderful as well. Already I have become very fond of Scottish heroes in my fiction through other authors and Silas is just, *sigh* fabulous.
This one is not a light read, not just something to waste time with, but this is a read that will enrapture your heart and hold on. It brings through a wealth of emotions and the characters and their lives come off the pages and into your imagination and their story unfolds. Reading the epilogue and then the sneak peek into book #2 in the end of the novel just leave me antsy. How in the world can my heart stand to wait for 2013?
“Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
*Thanks to Revell Books for providing a copy for review.*
Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel’s Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.
- Coming Soon from the Pen interview post
- Read my review of Courting Morrow Little HERE.
- And my review of The Colonel’s Lady HERE.