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 a superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in York 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’s heart–and will he agree to Liege’s arrangement?
In this sweeping family saga, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.
I love it when I have a hard time putting a book down, when I look longingly at it but know there are other things I have to do first before picking it back up. Such is the case with Love’s Reckoning. When I read the above description, I was reminded of the Biblical tale of Jacob, with Liege filling the role of Laban. I wondered if Silas was going to be tricked as Jacob was and, if that happened, how would the plot be resolved?
This historical romance is set during turbulent times in both the newly formed United States of America and Great Britain. Silas has fled the Highland Clearances that took place in Scotland during the 18th century. Eastern Pennsylvania is an important area in the newly formed nation. Philadelphia, where Eden longs to escape to, is the capital city at this time. The final section of the book includes mention of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. Silas’s plan is to move west to the new city of Pittsburgh. The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s was centered in western Pennsylvania. Laura Frantz has expertly woven these events into the narrative in a way that brings the past vividly to life.
Of course, a historical novel must also have realistic characters and Love’s Reckoning has several of those. Liege is an emotionally distant man with behavior developed from events in his past. His wife, Louise, endeavors to keep the peace while conscious of the part she’s played in Liege’s troubles. Eden and Elspeth wrestle with their roles in the family and society in general. Silas is caught up in their struggles. All are caught up in events beyond their control. Until the end of the book I couldn’t tell whether or not there would be the ending I desired.
Love’s Reckoning is the first book in The Ballantyne Legacy series. Book two should be available this time next year.
Publication Date: 01 September 2012
Page Count: 432
Thank you to Revell for my free copy of Love’s Reckoning, which I received in exchange for an honest review.