In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburgh only to find that her parents are away on a long journey and her siblings don’t seem to want her to stay. Determined to stand her ground and find her place in the world, Ellie fills her time by opening a day school for young ladies.
But when one of her students turns out to be an incorrigible young member of the Turlock family, Ellie knows she must walk a fine line. Slaveholders and whiskey magnates, the Turlocks are envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly entangled with the rival clan–particularly the handsome Jack Turlock–she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future. Will she betray her family and side with the enemy?
Readers of The Ballantyne Legacy series met Ellie’s parents in the first novel, Love’s Reckoning. Silas and Eden have been married for over 20 years, and Silas has made his fortune in ship building and the transportation of goods along the three rivers of Pittsburgh. But they’re unable to completely escape the past and now their adult children are confronted by it. The issues of business and slavery are the dividing issues between the Ballantynes and their Turlock neighbors, but the Turlock matriarch has her own reasons for wanting to see the downfall of the other family. Envy, jealousy, bitterness and pure hate all play a part in relations between the families. But can love bring them together?
Falling in love might be easy, but Ellie and Jack are convinced a relationship is impossible. As a result, they make other plans for their lives, some of which have lasting consequences. Jack appears to be on a quest for redemption, well aware of his family’s reputation. His pivotal scene is not only dramatic, but I could also see how it might play out on screen. As a former resident of western Pennsylvania, I loved the descriptions of early 18th century Pittsburgh and how the issues of liquor and slavery were addressed locally. Although some of the plot points were predictable, have a Kleenex on hand for one scene. Also, be prepared for a humdinger of a cliffhanger that sets the series up nicely for the next book.
Thank you to Revell for my free review copy of Love’s Awakening, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 15 September 2013
Page Count: 416