Monday, September 23, 2013

Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz




Welcome to the blog tour for Laura Frantz's latest book, Love's Awakening! Recently, I’ve been watching Who Do You Think You Are and the mention of the Civil War and Pennsylvania’s involvement as a state—the divisions and violence. I didn’t know when I picked up Laura’s latest book in the Ballantyne Legacy series that this was one of her subjects. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future--and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family's violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?

Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love, loyalty, and the makings of a legacy. With rich descriptions of the people who settled and civilized a wild landscape, Frantz weaves a tapestry of characters and places that stick with the reader long after they turn the last page.

And now, my review:

I really enjoyed Laura’s first book in this series, Love’s Reckoning, so I was thrilled to read this book for review. Laura’s work never disappoints. Both character and plot layers made for a rich read, and I didn't want to put the book down until I’d finished it. 

As mentioned, she wrote of the pre-civil war unrest in Pennsylvania and of those who tried to help and those who were cruel in their pro-slavery methods. In her author’s note, Laura mentioned that the incidents she describes of the slaves in her story were taken from historical record, adding weightiness to the tales she told. 

There was sweet torment in the continued distance between the hero and heroine. A part of their romantic story—the misjudgments that kept them apart—don’t keep our heroine, Ellie, from falling for Jack. And though he believes the lies about himself, because he knows the sins of his family and feels the burden of the family name, we still see Jack act nobly. Yet, he wasn’t a saint and was therefore the more lovable. 

Our heroine’s sweetness and courage were also endearing, making her both a sympathetic character as well as one I could readily champion.

I also caught several wise truths in the story. Specifically, that our lives and the futures of our descendants can turn in a moment, based on one decision. So true! A weighty responsibility our noble characters took to heart.

I enjoyed seeing the ongoing life story of Silas Ballantyne and his family as began in the first book. I’d recommend beginning with book one, though readers would be able to read this novel without doing so. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Highly recommended!

(click for links to both print and e-book versions)

2 comments:

Laura Frantz said...

Annette,

It's a real pleasure to read such an insightful, detailed review.
Your words means a great deal as you're a fellow writer and avid reader, plus you really "get" the heart of this story.

Thank you for pointing out the importance of the legacy we leave either by our actions or inaction, and the explosive, tragic slavery thread. So interesting to find that you picked it up not realizing that was the gist of the novel. Since it wasn't back cover copy it would be a surprise!

Thanks, also, for your time and the care you take to craft such a thoughtful, interesting review. It means more than I can say.

Annette M. Irby said...

My pleasure, Laura! Can't wait to read the next book in this series. I appreciate your stories' layers, research, and characterization. You're such a pro! Write on!