Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: Loves Awakening

Love's Awakening (Ballantyne Legacy - Book 2) by Laura Frantz

Publication Date: 09/15/2013
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Revell
Genre: Christian Historical
Pages: 416
ISBN-10: 0800720423
ISBN-13: 978-0800720421

(Received for an honest review from Revell)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, IndieBound

Laura Frantz on the WEB: Website, Journal, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Love's Reckoning (2012), Love's Awakening (2013)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Love's Awakening, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future--and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family's violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?

Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love, loyalty, and the makings of a legacy. With rich descriptions of the people who settled and civilized a wild landscape, Frantz weaves a tapestry of characters and places that stick with the reader long after they turn the last page.


Laura Frantz continues her sweeping saga of the Ballantyne family in Book 2 of the Ballantyne Legacy series, Love's Awakening. A master storyteller, Frantz is able to weave history and inspiration into her stories with ease and grace. Her characters epitomize the strength and determination needed to survive the tumultuous times leading up to the Civil War. The historical detail in this novel is mesmerizing, as well as, the heartfelt tenderness with which Frantz writes. Readers will be swept away by this gripping tale of family, love, and freedom.

What can I say about Laura Frantz, she is a writer after my own heart. Her stories are steeped in history and carry such an atmosphere of grace and elegance. With Love's Awakening Frantz is able to show the opulence and grandeur of the plantations of the time, while also showing the seedy underbelly of slavery and sedition. Frantz does not steer away from the dark side of the era and takes readers on a journey that will stay with them long after the last page of this novel is turned.

The Ballantyne family is a beckon of respect and religious fervor in early 1800's Pittsburgh. Their reputation is impeccable, the children well learned and behaved. Their enterprises and businesses thriving and bringing opportunity and refinement to their community. While the Turlock family has a less than stellar influence. Their contributions to Pittsburgh are in the form of Whiskey and all that it entails. These two families are polar opposites, in everything from how they raise their families to their leanings on the question of slavery and freedom. Frantz develops a the relationship between this families that borders on a feud and gives the reader the feeling of enmity between them.

When Ballantyne daughter Ellie returns from finishing school she expected to marry an upstanding, acceptable man, not Jack Turlock. Ellie and Jack come in contact with each other through the day school that Ellie begins for young ladies. Jack's sister Chloe is one of Ellie's students. Frantz starts to bring these two characters closer together through Jack's love for his sister and his interactions on her behalf. Ellie begins to realize that Jack has changed. His convictions are not those shared by his family and she begins to fall for him despite the vast differences in their upbringing and families. Frantz is able to convey to the reader a deep sense of family and the desire of both Ellie and Jack to live up to the expectations of their families despite their growing attraction. Frantz does a fantastic job of showing just how different they are and what their love is facing.

This book is at it's core a historical romance. Frantz is using the backdrop of pre-Civil War Pittsburgh to show the conflict her characters are facing. The historical detail is absolutely remarkable. Frantz has certainly done her homework. But I think more importantly she has instilled her characters with a deep sense of right and wrong and the question of slavery helps to illustrate that. I thought she did a fantastic job of showing both heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. This was not an easy time to live in and any story about the time period should reflect that. This happy ending comes with a cost and I liked that because it was realistic.

I loved all of the referencing to the Underground Railroad and the sense of urgency that Frantz is able to imbue to the reader. This was a time in history when people had to fight for their beliefs and sometimes they paid dearly for it and Frantz really gets that point across. In short, I really loved this book and it will probably make my top ten Christian/Inspirational books of the year. A great example of inspirational writing for readers of mainstream and Christian romances.

Available September 2013, at your favorite bookseller, from Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Laura Frantz is the author of several books, including The Colonel's Lady and Love's Reckoning. A two-time Carol Award and INSPY Award finalist and a recent Christy Award finalist, she currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.

Giveaway Details:

Hop on over to Christian Bookshelf Reviews for your chance to win a copy of Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz. The giveaway ends on September 27th so you don't have much time.