Author: Laura Frantz
Source: Publisher (via Life is Story)
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Genre: Fiction; Historical Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review: Historical fiction, no matter the market or genre, is hit or miss for me. I enjoy history, but certain periods in time do little to capture interest. Perhaps it might have something to do with having seen a period drama visualize a period in history that didn’t appeal, or maybe it’s simply the aptitude of the characters effect. Whatever, many historical novels just aren’t my cup of tea. Laura Frantz’s writing has delighted readers everywhere and her latest has been met with no less enthusiasm. It’s not difficult to understand why.
Independent (relatively so) of her renowned Ballytyne Legacy novels, opening these pages will introduce readers to Sophie and Seamus. Sophie is the unmarried daughter of a “traitor” in the revolutionary war, a war that is only just over. With her father back in Scotland, Sophie is left behind, trying to make a go of their home as she awaits her brother’s return. As his former commander, Seamus hears the rumors of Sophie’s brother and his return to Scotland before his neighbor hears news of her brother’s whereabouts. But for now, life moves on following the turmoil of a war. Seamus is back at Tall Acre with a small daughter who barely knows him. As relatives attempt to take her away and Sophie nearly loses her home, the most logical solution seems for the two to marry and present a united front… but at what cost will this marriage of convenience come?
Anyone who picks up this novel will find it impossible to put down. The story that begins to take shape is like a master painting as Laura brushes each layer over top of another in a masterful artist rendering of these characters and their lives that come alive in the most vivid of ways. To begin with, the story is a poignant one. Having two people fall in love post-marriage allows some liberties that, if rendered well is sure to produce some of the most genuine love stories there are in fiction. Laura’s novel achieves this and then some. Sophie and Seamus’ relationship is absolutely beautiful. Even that lone word seems inadequate. Every moment, progressive act or conversation is full of every emotion it needs to be in order to fulfill the reader. Adding a young child to the mix enhances rather than detracts from any of the story cues.
If any potential flaws do creep into the elegant narrative, it’d be the eventual climax. Some may find it either too “contrived” to be believable for the story or perhaps a bit too horrid for their liking. Lest I give away spoilers, this is all I’m willing to say, but I will also clarify, I didn’t mind the direction the story took. It was really all very interesting and for a time, the expected conflict keeps the reader guessing. Combining elements of mystery (almost “gothic” in nature, albeit not in a scary way) and genuine romance coupled with a setting rich in history is the trappings of Laura Frantz’s latest novel. The historical aspects seem expertly woven into the fictional portions, marrying the two in a most attractive fashion. From the language to the dresses, the author seems to know her stuff. It was a 400+ page book I was hard-pressed to put down, so lost was I in the wonderings of what else was about to visit these characters and challenge them, only to end up never breaking their spirits and instead, making them stronger.
This review first appeared on Life is Story.
Sincere thanks to Revell Books for a complimentary copy of this novel.