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!
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.
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!