With two very different horizons stretched out before her, one young woman stands on the cusp of an unknown future.
I’ve heard so much about Laura Frantz’s novels and have an e-book I haven’t gotten to yet. So why has it taken me so long to become acquainted with this talented author? Well, I’ve rectified that error with Love’s Fortune, the third book in The Ballantyne Legacy series.
Rowena—call her Wren—Ballantyne is perfectly happy in Kentucky helping her father, Ansel, make violins. But when he receives a letter that calls him to the Pittsburgh home of his family, her world changes to the point of being unrecognizable. She’s no longer able to run barefoot and corsetless across the hills. Now it’s the dictates of high society and being laced to within an inch of suffocation.
In this excerpt, Wren is comparing the sooty, smelly Pittsburgh to what she knew in Kentucky:
Beneath a polluted autumn sky, she took a last look at the sprawling factory with its No Trespassing signs and inhospitable fences and wanted to lift a hand and block it. But it loomed too large, too proud, edging out other, kinder memories of Indian-summer days spent gathering nuts and making apple butter, tending leafy bonfires, and going barefoot a final time till spring.
These beloved things seemed to belong to someone else, to another woman in another time and place. She’d already begun to look back on Cane Run as if it was nothing more than a story in a dusty, hastily shelved book. Almost a fairy tale.
Her thoughts reeled and her heart wrenched.
Papa seemed a world away, Kentucky even farther.
The Lord more distant still.
Wren mourns the loss of the life she’s always known. Her only solace is the music she makes with the violins she and her father brought from Kentucky.
James Sackett uses his occupation as a steamship pilot to ferry slaves north. He’s a man with a dubious heritage, but one the Ballantynes are fortunate to have on their side in any situation. His loyalty and sense of responsibility stand in the way of acting upon his feelings for Wren, along with the fact that a pro-slavery faction is out to kill him.
This is a story of loss: body, home, and dreams. Wren is the proverbial “duck out of water” who must decide between adjusting for the sake of family or waddling back to the pond.
While it was never slow to read, it did require some time to get to what I felt was the meat of the story—that time when it takes off and the reader can’t put it down. The writing is beautiful, the story compelling, the antagonist creepy. Everything you want from your reading experience.
Just an aside: I’m big on covers, and there have been some gorgeous ones popping up lately. This is among the best. To see a bit about the making of this cover, here’s the video.
What do you think about covers? Do they make or break your desire to pick up a particular book?
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Revell, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.