I love when I look up a book on Amazon and the website tells me when I bought it. Okay, so I've had this book for a year, I've been busy! We've been taking out the carpeting and replacing it with hardwood flooring; we totally gutted the kitchen and replaced the cabinets, flooring, and appliances; and my husband has had one major accident, two surgeries, and another on the schedule. In my spare time, I've been sewing curtains and reading.
When I sign up to review books, I read them in the order they have been approved. When I saw the third book in the Ballentyne series was next up on my list, I had to read the second book. Had to. I was compelled. Love's Awakening has been on my TBR pile for a year. That's right, a full year (and a month, but we'll let that part slide).
Laura Frantz has been one of my favorite authors since I read her first book, The Frontiersman's Daughter. Her historical detail is one of the most engaging parts of her books. Her characters fit seamlessly into the settings she provides for them, and their stories are sweet without being cloying. In fact, her characters have a such a realness that they are completely believable while being sympathetic--at least most of them are sympathetic. She weaves redemption and spiritual strength into the warp and woof of her books in such a way that the story does not preach, but instead offers a depth to the story.
Ellie (or Elinor, if you want her birth certificate name), the youngest Ballentyne, has returned home from finishing school, tired of being in the Marriage Market and desiring to be with her family and to do something useful. With that in mind, she starts a day school for girls.
Andra is the elder sister, who would like to send Ellie back.
Peyton is the oldest brother, a bit of a wastrel.
Ansel is the younger brother, involved in most of the family's enterprises: boat building and hiding runaway slaves.
Silas is the patriarch of this family and a more loving father cannot be found.
Eden is the mother of this group, and well-loved by all of her family.
Jack is the younger son of Henry Turlock, of the Turlock Whiskey Distillers
Wade is the older Turlock son, a lover of the family product.
Chloe is the youngest child of Henry and Isabelle Turlock and loves Jack best of all. She plots and plans to get Ellie and Jack together, using the ruse of Ellie's day school as one of her tools.
I give this book Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a boat named after you.