Monday, September 15, 2014

Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz

Love's Fortune
Love's Fortune
I’ve enjoyed this series. I appreciate how Laura provides a behind-the-scenes look at the process for her book's cover art.  (see video link after my review)

Let’s begin with the summary:

Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.

And now, my review:

Our heroine feels out of her element and without options. Her foreign-to-her family have many expectations of her. She’ll have to face the social season, transforming from a free country woman to a stuffy, guarded socialite among the city’s elite.

Her escort, James Sackett, has been a family friend/employee for years. But since he’s not New England nobility, he rules himself out where Wren (our heroine) is concerned. I enjoyed watching them grow close through the trials of this story. I felt for Wren having to change her personality in order to oblige her family. She’s a musical person, who feels deeply. When she performs with her first class violin, she lets the music move her. But society feels any show of emotions isn’t acceptable. James can’t display his true feelings because he’s her escort, tasked to show her how to present herself in a stoic way. They both have much to overcome.

One theme in the story was courage. Both the hero and heroine display it throughout. After cooperating with her elders for each preparation of the “season,” Wren insists on wearing her grandmother’s dresses, remade—an unpopular decision, but one that is honored. James, though faced with threats outside of genteel society, doesn’t back down. He will not be intimidated—an admirable quality.

The author keeps readers guessing as to who will end up with whom, while we witness a few romances unfolding.

The historical elements were well researched and enjoyable. The author included some pre-Civil War elements, which were interesting and provided additional tension to the story. At times I felt the story's pacing was a bit slow as the central romance lagged. I wondered why certain characters acted as they did, given their near decision to proceed in a different way. But characters, like real people, will do that. (smile)

Overall, an enjoyable novel. Fans who’ve read this series will have an advantage because they have the context of the earlier stories and especially the characters. I recommend reading the earlier books first in order to keep straight all the extended family and their households.

And now, for more fun!

Check out this video of how the cover image was made: 

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