Laura Frantz

Laura Frantz Book Reviews

2012-05-15 22.44.43

Bella in her NICU bed, April 2012

Before I begin my reviews of Ms. Frantz’s AMAZING books, I need to begin with a personal story. Five years ago, my beautiful child came into this world 11 weeks early. Isabella was born at 29 weeks! My husband and I were terrified to say the least. I lost interest in a lot of things that I once took such joy in, namely reading. I was so consumed by my daughter and her struggles, and still working full-time, and still being a wife in an incredibly difficult moment in our marriage. It seemed like everything that could go wrong was going wrong at that time. This period lasted about two-three years. I was fading — I just didn’t have any interest in anything but sleep. The fog of depression that I was under was intense, and I didn’t know how to pull myself out. The Nicole I had been was gone, replaced by someone I didn’t even recognize. It was horrifying.

 

2017-05-20 21.15.54

Bella, 2017 — She is playing Dracula! I have a literary child, what can I say?

Then, one day about two years ago, I was perusing the Amazon Kindle sales when I came upon the novel Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz. It sounded good and was free (LOL!), so I got the book. Fast forward to today, two years later, where I am now nearing my 200th book read since I read Love’s Reckoning. I credit this personal awakening to that day when I picked up Frantz’s novel and devoured it. Life came back to me in a big way. On that day, God led me to the realization that life is full of amazing things: a good book, a laugh with my husband, my sweet daughter’s hugs and kisses, a great conversation with my best friend. Somehow, in the trauma of life, I lost sight of that. She may never read this or know this, but I do credit Ms. Frantz’s writing and her beautifully stunning novel, as being the kick in the pants that I needed to get back to life, to reading, to enjoying my family and friends. God has blessed Ms. Frantz with an incredible talent. Her books will always have a special place in my heart. I hope that you read them all, and they find a special place in your heart, too!

Check out Ms. Frantz’s website at: http://laurafrantz.net/.


13115556Love’s Reckoning (2012) — book 1 in The Ballantyne Legacy series — 5,000 STARS (LOL!) — this is a Christian Historical Romance novel set in America in 1785. There is a rape scene near the last quarter of the novel. Ms. Frantz deals with this scene respectfully.

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege’s daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other’s jealousy destroy their love?

I rooted for Silas and Eden the whole time, and I honestly was not sure how this novel would end! There were moments in the story line where I wasn’t sure this book could have a happy ending — it is that true to how life can play out. What these two characters go through over the course of this novel ripped my heart out and stomped all over it (in a good literary way). These characters are so incredibly well written, it was like I was there in the story watching them deal with the issues life threw at them. I was utterly swept up into this novel, and I love the nod to the Biblical story of Rachel, Leah, Jacob, and Laban. Buy this book, and a box of tissue, and enjoy every second. This is a story that sticks with the reader for a long time!


16109328Love’s Awakening (2013) — book 2 in The Ballantyne Legacy series — 5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance set in America in 1822.

“Some matters you have little control over. Love is one of them.”

Love’s Awakening is my favorite book in this series. I love Ellie and Jack so much — so much I have read this book several times.

Ellie is Silas’s daughter, and Jack is the son of Silas’s nemesis. What do you do when the man you love comes from a family no one likes? This is Ellie’s problem. This story is so engaging,  I read this book in one day. I could not put it down. While this book is no where near as sad or gut-wrenching as Love’s Reckoning, there is something about the love between Jack and Ellie that is so captivating. I may have to go read this book again!


20665227Love’s Fortune (2014) — the final book in The Ballantyne Legacy series — 5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance set in America in the 1800s.

Rowena Ballantyne has been sheltered since birth. She has heard of her famous grandfather, Silas, but has never met him or anyone else in her father’s family. One day, her father receives a letter, which then finds Rowena making a journey to New Hope where she will come face-to-face with her father’s family. Rowena feels completely out of her element; she is used to running barefoot through the Kentucky wilds, but now has to learn dances, wear uncomfortable dresses, and act proper in a society she isn’t sure she could ever really belong. Enter a gorgeous steamship pilot named James who definitely carries the key to Rowena’s heart.

This book is not as intense as Love’s Reckoning, but it is still seriously good. Rowena is a sweet, well-developed character. Jack is handsome, and a few times I wanted to reach into the novel and shake some sense into him! There are some very sweet, endearing moments in this novel. There are some moments where the characters act quite frustratingly. But, it all ends well. This is a great book in a great series. I cannot recommend this series or this book enough!


6052079The Frontiersman’s Daughter (2009)  — this is a stand alone novel, not part of any series — 5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance.

“You were not much afraid when I went after you,” he said with a little smile. “Oh, I was afraid,” she confessed, picking up some pine knots. “But then I saw that it was you.”

This novel gives readers a glimpse into the simple yet harrowing lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians. Specifically, the reader follows the life of Lael, a young woman learning the healing powers of the local herbs and roots from a distant relation, Ma Horn. Along the way, Lael will deal with family secrets, Shawnee warriors, and the new man in town who just so happens to be a Doctor.

This is Ms. Frantz’s debut novel, and it is really well done.  The characters are beautifully written, the story completely engaging, and the outcome delightfully satisfying. I highly recommend this novel.


6973752Courting Morrow Little (2010) — this is a stand alone novel, not part of any series — 5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance.

Here is the Goodreads summary to give you a little of what to expect in the novel:

Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men–ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable–vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones–and garner suspicion from her friends–by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn’t love? This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop readers as it takes them from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness to the west in search of true love.

This novel is a very quick read — quite a page turner. The characters are excellently written, and I did have a hard time choosing who to root for in terms of a love match. There are some really good options for Morrow in this novel. This story did bring tears to my eyes, so I recommend some tissue near by as you read.


9467341The Colonel’s Lady (2011) — this is a stand alone novel, not part of any series — 5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance.

The Colonel’s Lady is one of my most favorite of Ms. Frantz’s stand alone novels. First, I have to address the cover. This may be one of the most exquisite covers I have ever seen on a novel. The colors are phenomenal, and it is clear Roxanna is a beautiful heroine. I love this cover. As one who totally judges a book by its cover, this one pulled me in and compelled me to read this book!

In this novel, Ms. Frantz uses words SO well that the images leap off the pages. It was like I was there experiencing the incredibly hard life of those men, women, and children living in a military fort in Kentucky. To say that life in this time period was arduous would be a gross understatement.

Here is the Goodreads summary to give you a little of what to expect in the novel:

In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father’s place as scrivener. Before long, it’s clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own—some of which have to do with her father’s sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?

Ms. Frantz is an excellent writer. I specifically appreciate her attention to detail. The sheer amount of research she must do for her novels is evident. But, what I truly love the most in this book is the character interaction between Roxanna and Cassius. The two overcome so much together in this novel, and it never feels formulaic or forced. Their interactions feel believable and authentic. The end to this novel is highly satisfying and romantic. This novel has it all: adventure, edge-of-your-seat, tense moments, great highs and very sad lows. There is not a dull page in this book. I highly recommend this novel.


24933985The Mistress of Tall Acre (2015) — this is a stand alone novel, not part of any series — 5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance.

This novel is amazing! There were several scenes in this book that literally stole my breath. Not joking, I literally gasped! Something happens in this novel that is kind of unexpected, and how it affects Sophie, the main character, is heart wrenching.

Here is the Goodreads summary to give you a little of what to expect in the novel:

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

As with her other novels, it is clear that Ms. Frantz conducted thorough research into this tumultuous time period in American history. How Sophie is treated by others in this book was a real shock to me, and definitely highlighted aspects I never learned in school. What struck me the most in this novel was character internal struggle. These characters get under your skin and really make you feel for them. This is a novel where bad guys are bad, and it feels like maybe they will win the day, BUT I guarantee a great, satisfying ending.


30259135A Moonbow Night (2017) — this is a stand alone novel, not part of any series — 4.5 STARS — this is a clean Christian Historical Romance.

Here is the Goodreads summary to give you a little of what to expect in the novel:

After fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River. It’s a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucke–men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew looking for an experienced guide. When his guide appears, Sion balks. He certainly didn’t expect a woman. But it is not long before he must admit that Tempe’s skill in the wilderness rivals his own. Still, the tenuous tie they are forming is put to the test as they encounter danger after danger and must rely on each other.

This is a good book with a great cast of characters. I think what impressed me the most in this novel were the settings and the main character, Tempe. The settings are gorgeous. Ms. Frantz truly has a way with words! I could feel the dirt under Tempe’s bare feet, I could feel the spray from the falls where Tempe sees a moonbow (check out a the Cumberland Falls moonbow here), I could feel the hardness of the ground where Tempe slept. The diction in this novel is excellent.

Tempe, in my opinion, is the best part of this novel. She is brave and courageous. She is SO intelligent and resourceful. And, she is genuine and realistic. I never doubted she could do the things she does in this book. Silas is a good male lead, but the reason I give this book a 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because it felt like it took a while for feelings to develop between Tempe and Silas. There were moments where the action in this book slows down a bit. But, then it would pick up and move into some seriously intense, page-turning moments. Overall, this is a great book. I do highly recommend it.

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