Plot Summary: The story of the Ballantyne family continues with Silas and Eden’s youngest daughter Elinor. The apple of her father’s eye, Ellie grows up knowing only love and privilege in the bustling city of Pittsburgh. The Ballantynes are respected businesspeople, but also harbor fugitive slaves as they work with the Underground Railroad. Danger lurks literally right next door as the rival Turlock clan head up a posse of bounty hunters to stamp out the acts of the abolitionists. But Jack Turlock strikes Ellie as a more gentle soul, and his young sister looks up to her as a role model as she teaches Pittsburgh’s first finishing school. Where will Jack’s loyalties lie when his father pressures him to break the law?
My Book Review: “Love’s Reckoning” (read my review here) was my favorite read from last year, so I was really looking forward to Laura Frantz’s next in the series! Again, the book cover art is so vivid and gorgeous and it alone deserves 5 stars. However, I had mixed feelings about LA…
The Ballantynes come across as being a very real family, real characters and it was delightful picking up to read about them again. Their grace and faithfulness is wonderful—toward each other, their neighbors and even their enemies. Ellie has grown up watching her parents love each other and wishes for the same kind of love for herself. The trusting relationship Ellie had with her father was lovely; no doubt it helped her spot a good man when she saw one. I also enjoyed reading about the prosperity Silas and Eden had established at the time this book takes place. New Hope certainly sounds like a wonderful home in which to live and no wonder the escapees begged to live there at the risk of being recaptured!
He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)
LA has a very different feeling to it than LR. Whereas #1 felt gritty, wintry and tragic, #2 felt full of spring lilacs and roses. That’s not a bad thing, but for ¾’s of the book I wasn’t very engaged or interested. It felt like a typical Christian romance and I felt disappointed. But. Then there was a plot twist which I am now beginning to really appreciate from this author, and the waterworks started up. Just as I was reaching for my kleenex, there was another plot twist, and !
Unfortunately, the overall reading experience was not as good as the first, but I love how Frantz is able to leave you hanging at the end of her books (at least, the two I’ve read so far). I am definitely going to be reading the last in the trilogy and can’t wait to read others by her.
I think older teens could enjoy this series as well. The heroines are young women who grow in virtue and lovely character. These are romances, and Frantz doesn’t deny sexual tension. However, it is carefully worded (not titillating), nothing inappropriate happens between hero and heroine, and the curtain is drawn to keep the marriage bed sacred.
So if you are wanting something light and perfumed, I think you’re going to enjoy Love’s Awakening. Note, I don’t recommend reading this as a standalone without reading LR first.
PS- I found this on Laura Frantz’s Pinterest and loved seeing how she envisioned the characters. To be honest, Jack was hard for me to picture so this helps to “fill it in”, but at the same time it’s not even close to how I thought he might look. Ansel on the other hand looks very much how I imagined!
I also recommend…