Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz

Back Cover: 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 superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in Lancaster 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' heart - and will he agree to Liege's arrangement?

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

Review: One well known author stated about Laura Frantz that she is a "shooting star who soars skyward to the glittering heights of Rivers and Higgs." To anyone who reads Christian fiction, this is an incredible and rare complement but one that I will agree with. "Love's Reckoning" was fabulously well written in a style that was purely delightful, the characters were so real, and the story masterfully told - I didn't want this novel to end.

When Silas shows up at the Lee doorstep to finish off his apprenticeship, Liege Lee (the father) and Elspeth conspire to force the talented tradesman into a contract much more permanent than an apprenticeship: marriage. Elspeth is no stranger to men and with her sultry looks she is used to having whatever man she pleases. Though she has ensnared every heart she's gone after, she's never truly been interested in a man for a husband until Silas Ballantyne. Expecting him to fall sway to her charms just as every man has in the past, Elspeth is infuriated to find out that this is one man that appears to be immune to her every womanly wile - but yet cannot keep his eyes off her shy little sister. 

As for Eden, she cannot deny that she is secretly drawn to the tall Scotsman, but fear of her sister and the desire to flee her family home make loving him a very dangerous proposition. The web of lies, deceit,  and abuse in the Lee household creates a dramatic setting for the majority of Eden's story. Right from the first few pages, you can literally feel the tension that permeates the home. Even Eden's purity, love for God, and goodness does little to bring light into the situation. Her papa is not a good man or a father, and though the book does not go into it, he appears to be a very poor husband as well. Raised under his tyrannical rule and observing her mother's plight, Eden has no desire for marriage. Worked hard and constantly under the manipulative abuse of her father and elder sister, Eden wants nothing more than to join the church before her father has the opportunity to sell her off to the highest bidder. By keeping her head down and working hard to do both her and her sister's share of the household duties, Eden clings to the desperate hope that she can avoid becoming ensnared in her father's and sister's plots and that, come spring, she will be gone.

For his part, Silas wants nothing more from the Lee household than to finish his certificate and be on his way. Trapped on either side by his stubborn and easily angered master and his beautiful though dangerous eldest daughter, he has no desire to tie himself to this family for a second longer than his apprenticeship requires. Unfortunately, there is Eden... a woman that he should be able to ignore but cannot. From her shy smiles to her sweet innocence to her hesitant questions about the Scripture he reads, Silas cannot ignore the one person of true beauty in the house.

When Silas and Eden realize that they cannot ignore the love that is growing between them, events take a dramatic and ugly turn as Elspeth shows them exactly what she is capable of.

"Love's Reckoning" is a dramatic, breathless, heart-wrenching story that shocked with both its portrayal of the worst and best of human nature and love. I would certainly recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of Christian romance.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

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