Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review: Love's Reckoning

Available @
Fishpond AU 

& Amazon | Kindle
Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz
Revell, 01 September 2012

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege's daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other's jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. Love's Reckoning is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.

Love's Reckoning is the first book in The Ballantyne Legacy. Here we meet Silas Ballantyne, an older-than-usual apprentice blacksmith who has come to the household of Leige Lee to finish his training. Liege Lee is an unpopular man with two daughters - Eden and Elspeth, who are as different as night and day, and Liege is determined that Silas marry one of them.

As always, Laura's writing is beautiful and elegant, painting pictures with words and making reading effortless.  Love's Reckoning is a slower paced novel, best savoured in languid chunks of time.  There is plenty of mystery, and secrets are rife - some made plain to the reader, and some a complete surprise.

Eden and Silas are quieter characters.  Eden's strength is evident through her persistent and enduring nature. Silas is a man who will not be deterred from his values or his plans.  His heroism is defined by his steadiness as opposed to dramatic gestures.  

There are some nasty characters in Love's Reckoning.  Elspeth is a spiteful piece of work.  Her viciousness shocked and riled me!  I feel like she may have gotten off a little too easy.  But when I read the epilogue, a shiver ran down my spine.  I have a feeling she hasn't been completely dealt with yet.  I'll have to wait and see what the next book has in store.

Love's Reckoning is a slow building love story, written against a backdrop of secrets and punctuated with heartbreaking tragedies.  I particularly liked the beautiful romance between Eden and God - her thirst for God's word and His love are touching. 

I'm looking forward to seeing where the Ballantyne Legacy takes us.

Helen's favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She's not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.

Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.


  1. Great review, Helen! Me and this book have a date on a cold, snowy day in December, and I'm really looking forward to it. :-)

    1. Oooh Gwen, sounds like a lovely way to read Love's Reckoning! I read it all on the train - half on the way down to my course, the other half on the way back :) I had been saving it for a good time too!

  2. Helen, You have a wonderful way with words! Thanks so much for taking time for Eden's story - I liked to think of you reading on the train, etc. It's true historical fiction, this one, though they're calling it historical romance. I think I broke all the romance rules with this one;) Thanks so much for the care you put into your book reveiws. Your heart for godly fiction and your passion for writing sure shows!

    Waving at dear Gwen, too:) Oh, if only we could all get together for tea and Vegemite (did I spell that right?!) and talk books!! And swap WIPs, lol!

    Bless you so much.

    1. Thanks Laura for your encouraging words about my reviews! I have to tell you it can take me quite a bit of time and agony to write my reviews. I wonder why I stress so much sometimes! But I want to do the books justice, and most importantly enable our readers to make an accurate assessment as to whether the story is right for them.

      Yes Laura, I could definitely tell this book is an historical fiction! I love historical fiction. I love learning about the ways in the past :) And it's clear in your writing how thoroughly you conduct research!

      Oh it would be fabulous to get together with Gwen for tea! But let's leave the Vegemite for breakfast lol. Tea and lamingtons would be very nice for chatting over about books! God willing one day - we never know what the future holds :)

  3. Oh, especially love your summation of Elspeth. I totally agree;)

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  6. Sounds good! I'm always up for a bit of historical fiction. My email address is: