I have several favorite authors depending on the genre of book I am reading. Lori Benton is quickly becoming one of my favorites in historical novels. I previously reviewed one of Lori's other novels, Burning Sky, and absolutely LOVED it. These two novels take place in the early years of our nation's history, but those are the only similarities.
Tamsen Littlejohn is of marriageable age and her step-father is trying to marry her off to the highest bidder, and he has no scruples on the choice of man. His choice at the moment is Ambrose Kincaid, the grandson of a plantation owner and a definite step up in the society circles. When Ambrose mistreats one of his slaves in her presence, Tamsen does what she has to do in such a case, she runs away--straight into the arms of Jesse Bird. Before she even gets out of the stable, she is found by her step-father and she has to rethink her plan. Her step-father's drinking and temper bring about a tragic disaster--the death of Tamsen's mother. With nothing but a box that her mother has given her, Tamsen leaves in the middle of the night--again, with Jesse Bird.
Jesse takes seriously the task of keeping Tamsen safe, because he truly believes this is the woman God has for him to be his wife. For Jesse it was love at first sight. To Jesse's credit and to his honor, he gave Tamsen the time to process her grief over her mother's death, to see that he would protect her, and to fall in love with him as well. Because Tamsen's step-father is pursuing her to force her marriage to Ambrose, Jesse and Tamsen have to keep on the move, living in a remote cabin, in a Native American village, in a cave, or wherever they can stay ahead of their pursuers.
This is a well-written, edge-of-your-seat type novel with a lot of action, suspense, humor, and God's grace shown throughout the storyline. Lori Benton's writing reminds me of one of my other favorites--Laura Frantz. Her historical narrative is well researched and well represented. The plot line is completely developed with several cliff hangers before the climax and denouement of the book. There is a twist in the plot I did not see coming and it is thoroughly satisfying when it is revealed. This is one of the best books I've read this year.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and "Tag, you're it!"