There are some authors that you enjoy from the get-go. But you also know when their books take a decidedly different turn. One that propels their work from the “books I enjoy” category to the “books I must read.” With the advent of the Ballantyne Legacy series last fall, Laura Frantz has made that turn. With the second book in that series, Love’s Awakening, arriving on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago, I know that she just continues to up the bar of excellence.
In Love’s Reckoning, we met Eden Lee and Silas Ballantyne in a smithy in York, PA. (This book was a Christy Award finalist!) In Love’s Awakening, we meet Ellie Ballantyne, their youngest daughter, in Pittsburgh. I loved so many things about this book. The depth of the characters, the historical dealing with the slave issue in Pennsylvania, most of which was new to me (and to Laura, apparently, from her author’s note!). I love when a novel highlights historical fact that I didn’t know–or that I assumed I knew but was wrong because I hadn’t delved into that specific time and place. I also loved how she dealt with a fairly large cast of characters, and yet each one was distinct and three-dimensional.
I highly recommend delving into the world of 1820s Pittsburgh as Ellie and Jack deal with their family issues, their own issues, and their growing love for one another. It’s a story that is at once sweet and deep, a book to be savored in the reading and considered long after the cover has been closed. And of course if you haven’t yet read Love’s Reckoning, you’ll want to be sure to get that one, too!