A legacy starts in a small way. It’s on one cold December day in 1784 that Silas Ballantyne arrives to finish his apprenticeship with the blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania. His mind is set on keeping his head down, doing the work, and going west as soon as he’s completed his contract.
But Liege Lee has other plans. He has need for a strong, capable blacksmith to stay in York County with him, so he’s depending on an old tradition to keep the young man around – marriage to one of his beautiful daughters.
Elspeth, as the elder, is the favored choice. She’s bold, calculating, and finds a lifetime with the handsome Silas not unappealing. Her younger sister Eden is unobtrusive, temperate, and uncomfortable with being used as a pawn for her father’s business needs.
In a house full of secrets, half-truths, and manipulations, is it possible for Silas to find actual love – and if so, with who? And what consequences will his choices have on his legacy?
After loving Laura Frantz’s Courting Morrow Little (review here) and The Colonel’s Lady (review here), I knew there was a high likelihood of me being swept away by Love’s Reckoning. And I was right.
Eden’s quiet, gentle demeanor has been bullied and torn down by a family dominated by strong, hard personalities. She’s different as a character, and I rooted for her freedom immediately. There’s a subtle strength to her hopes, an unspoken desire for kindness among cruelty that creates a wrenching tone. Silas is also immediately human. Handsome and masculine, yes – but also humble and steady.
With these evocative characters, the lovely, atmospheric, richly period-detailed environment has a natural, unforced quality. Love’s Reckoning is quite simply heavenly romantic, taking it’s time to build something that feels real and genuine at a slow but entrancing pace.
As I read Love’s Reckoning, I found it to be deeply resonant, staying on my mind after I set it down. This was especially true when multiple tragedies suddenly occur, saddening Eden and Silas’ tentative happiness.
This is truly a jarring, heart wrenching epic full of life’s ups and downs and delays – full of yearning and emotion.
Love’s Reckoning is a memorable novel that is only the beginning of a legacy I desperately want to follow. I recommend this book to all historical fiction/romance lovers and those who love a sweeping drama, for sure.
* Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
*I received a copy of Love's Reckoning from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.