Welcome to the FIRST month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the COLONIAL Period, and my choice of story was Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment with what you read to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
THE WINNER OF THIS MONTH’S GIVE AWAY IS: Kathy Anderson! Check your email, or email me at Crystal (at) Crystal Caudill (dot) com to tell me where to ship it!
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form.*
Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz
I had the wonderful chance to meet and listen to Laura Frantz speak to my writing group several years ago, and her sweet personality and personal writing journey story drove me to pick up one of her books. I’ve not been disappointed since. She has a way of transporting readers into deeply developed and painted worlds that bring history to life in ways few authors have mastered. The research is impeccable, the story realistic and sweet, and the characters fascinating. You can actually learn a ton about the true history of the story by listening to Alison Treat’s Podcast, Historical Fiction Unpacked where she did an interview with Laura Frantz. You can check that out here: http://alisontreat.com/2020/12/23/the-faith-and-grit-that-founded-our-nation-with-laura-frantz/. I’ve recently discovered the podcast and have fallen in love with it.
As far as Tidewater Bride goes specifically, I loved the look at early Jamestown life and the reality of the day-to-day life they faced without relief. There were so many facets of struggle I hadn’t realized, and Laura brought them onto the page in meaningful and poignant ways. Her heart for both the Jamestown colonists and the Powhatans were evident throughout the story. Completely respectful and enlightening. Knowing exactly how much research went into this really gave me a new respect for both groups.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1634, “James Towne, Virginia Colony”
Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in the Virginia colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family’s shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.
Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.
Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?
What I loved: The historical picture this story brought to life. I really felt like I had a deeper understanding of Jamestown’s struggles and the fortitude it took for the colonists to live and thrive. It also helped me to understand how some of the pull away from England began just because the absolute difference in how lives were lived. I adored getting a glimpse of the Powhatan culture as well. The only way to understand someone else’s perspective is to walk in their shoes for a while, even if only mentally.
Favorite Character and Why: Watseka was a fun, adventurous child who brought a lot of levity to the story. She is quite the little scamp, too. 😉
Who would like this? Anyone interested in learning about colonial history, especially Jamestown and a touch of the Powhatan culture. Those who like stories that comprise of political and social struggle, and those who lived through it.
Rating and Why: 4.5 Stars. I adored the way she brought history to life, but while I’ll likely read it again, I felt more engaged with learning the history than the romance line of the story. Not a terrible thing, but just something that knocked it down from being a five star.
Amazon Baker Bookhouse Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Christianbook.com Get It Local Indiebound.org
For your chance to win a copy of Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz and have an entry added to the grande-prize finale at the end of the year, comment below with what book you read for the reading challenge this month. The winner will be randomly selected and emailed on February 8 and announced on February 9th.
This will be open to international winners, but if the book is unavailable to ship to you through Book Depository you will receive a $10 (USD) Amazon gift card. You must have commented on the blog post or have emailed me to be eligible for the extra entries.
To earn extra entries, use the Rafflecopter link below. I decided I didn’t like how KingSumo sent you guys a ton of emails. That is not what I want for you. We all already get a ton of emails. Happy reading!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz
It’s already started out as another year of incredible busy-ness, so I picked up this audiobook from my library to enjoy while cleaning house and running errands. Let me tell you, this is one book you definitely want to hear on audio! Oh my goodness, I know reading it in print, as good as it was, would not have had the same impact as listening to the AWESOME narrator do all the Scottish voices and songs. AMAZING. I found myself even picking up a bit of the accent and rephrasing my speech to match for several hours after each listening session. Definitely, definitely get the audio.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1750’s – Scottland
Plot Overview: Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning–together.
What I loved: Honestly my favorite part was the audio narration. As far as the book itself, I loved Laura’s way of describing things and creating tension throughout the story, and of course the amazing ending which had me literally biting my fist as I anticipated when things might occur. She has such an amazing way about her writing that transports you to a different land and time. The historical details are phenomenal.
Favorite Character: Magnus. Definitely Magnus. I loved Lark, but Magnus was a mand who is not without faults but is a man that makes you swoon. His faith, encouragement, and protect are dreamy.
Who would like this: Anyone who loves stories with amazing historical details, romances wrought with tension and surprises, and those who are looking for something different from the typical romance.
Rating and Why: Five-stars because of the emotional rollercoaster and the voice narration. Seriously, I can’t say that enough. Get this book on audio.
If you’ve read it, what did you like best about it?? (And label spoilers, please.) If you haven’t read it, what intrigues you about this story?
Join the Discussion: Check out the Community Question below and comment.
The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz
In high school, I was obsessed with the American Revolution. I lived, breathed, and dreamed every detail I could find about the American Revolution. Stories that (thankfully) will never see the light of day were written.
As terrible as those amateur stories were, I am happy to report that The Lacemaker is no amateur story. Laura Frantz crafted a wonderful story that draws you so completely into the complexities of those first days that it is a shock to your system when someone *ahem – children I’m referring to you* interrupt your reading for something as trivial as being fed.
Who can eat when the balance of a nation is hanging on a lacemaker’s thread?
Genre: Historical Romance, American Revolution
Plot Overview: Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is days away from her arranged marriage taking place when she is abandoned by her fiancé and family. As daughter of a prominent British leader, she is suspected to be a spy and struggles to survive in her hometown of Independence Men. No one is willing to come to her aid, save the Welsh Independence man, Noble Rynallt. An enemy to the crown, he has his own struggles to contend with, but the former-lady-turned-lacemaker cannot be ignored. As tensions grow, Liberty must make a choice – join the Independence Men or turn her back on her father and country? Whatever the choice, the cost could be her life.
What I loved: I will say my absolute favorite part of any story that takes place during the American Revolution or Civil War is the complexities of how families were affected. The relationship between Elisabeth “Liberty” and her family is so complex that I just relish every detail. Her father so wonderfully reflected the Independence Men’s view of England while her mother was the independent spirit that refused to be broken. The broken family was such a wonderful symbol of Britain’s relationship with it’s colonies. I don’t know if she meant that symbolism or not, but I absolutely loved it.
Favorite Character: It is such a hard toss up between Liberty and Noble. Liberty is such an amazing young woman who really grows from the submissive daughter to a woman who learns to fend for herself without compromising her morals. She is brave, kind-hearted, and the woman I hope I would be under such circumstances.
Noble is the swoon worthy hero every romance needs. He is a man who watches out for the needs of others, has a strong sense of obligation and duty to bring this nation to independence, and Welsh heritage makes you want to cuddle up next to him in real life. I won’t give away the details, but he is a great leader and a man who will do anything for those he loves. Such a brave man.
Who would like this: Anyone who love historically accurate stories with love, romance, danger, and self-sacrifice (no one dies). Those who especially love the American Revolution and the complex relationships between the British and those seeking independence.
Rating and Why: I give this story 5 stars. I loved the complexities of the story, the romance that was exciting but clean, and all the historical characters. It was masterfully created and a pure joy to read.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story on #netgalley through the publisher for review purposes. The opinions above are completely my own and not influenced in any way.
Join the Discussion: What is your favorite aspect of reading books set in the American Revolution? Do you like the battles? Espionage? Relationships? Love between opposite sides? Romance against all odds?
If you read the book: Which character did you identify with most?
Christianbook.comBarnes and NobleWalmart.comAmazon.com