Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

About the book:

North Carolina, 1793
Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again–into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona–beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.

A story of choice and consequence, of bondage and freedom, of faith and family.

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Lori Benton’s books since her first book, Burning Sky in 2013. I don’t even read the synopsis on the back of the books anymore because I know that if Lori Benton wrote it, I’m going to love it!

Reading this story was like taking a trip back in time. I felt like I was in North Carolina in 1793. These characters wrapped themselves around my heart, flaws and all. This story has unapparelled depth, both in the characters themselves and in the very fabric of the story. I took my time reading this story, and I loved every moment. My heart may never be the same after finishing this story, and I am really excited to see what will happen in the next book!

(I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists and/or authors, including netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

LoriBenton2

  Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori’s debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

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The Heart’s Stronghold: 4 Historical stories

About this Book:

Join four brave women making their mark on history at Colonial forts. Faced with tragedy and distrust they will fight to bring civility, family, and love to the frontier.

Virginia Company Bride by Gabrielle Meyer
James Fort at Jamestown, Virginia, 1608
In September 1608, Anne Burras is the only woman in Jamestown when her mistress dies upon arrival. Laborer John Layton is one of only thirty-eight colonists who survived the first year in the colony. Both want Anne on the supply ship returning to England in three months, but neither foresee the difficulties they will face just to stay alive—or the painful sacrifices they will make to stay together.

Embers of Hope by Kimberley Woodhouse
Castle Island, Massachusetts, 1674
Castle William (which would eventually become Fort Independence)
With Castle William burned to ashes, a stone mason’s daughter is the only woman on an island of soldiers. But superstitions and rumors abound that she is bad luck for the island. The captain finds himself falling in love with her, but disaster seems to strike every time they make headway. Can these two find love and hope in the midst of the ashes?

A Treaty of Tulips by Angie Dicken
Fort Burnett in Upstate New York, 1740
Daughter of a Dutch trader, Sabine Van Der Berg is loyal to their land at the trading post and also to her friends, the native Iroquois. When a British lieutenant arrives to expand the post to a fort, not only is Sabine key in keeping the peace for British-Iroquois trade, but she must protect her heart from a man who threatens the only way of life she’s ever known.

A Promise for Tomorrow by Amanda Barratt
Fort Boonesborough, Kentucky, 1778
Pregnant widow Rosina Whiting seeks shelter at Fort Boonesborough after a harrowing journey. She doesn’t expect her heart to be swayed by enigmatic frontiersman Captain Silas Longridge. But will the dangers that await sever their newfound love?

My Thoughts:

If you enjoy reading stories set during the American Colonial period, then you are going to love this collection of dynamic stories. Each one is filled with the grit and determination that the early settlers had in carving out a place, a new home, in this wild untamed, dangerous world.

Heartwarming stories of love amid hardship, and faith in God. Of communities coming together and working together for the greater good of everyone. Each story can be read in one setting, or you can take your time and enjoy the journey!

I enjoyed each of these stories. The dynamic characters, the unique story plots, and beautiful descriptions that pulled me in and invited me along on the journey with our early American settlers.

(I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Authors:

(Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their page)

First Line Friday: An Uncommon Woman

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I am excited to be featuring An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz.  I’m currently reading and loving this newest book by Laura Frantz. It officially hits the shelves next week, but you can preorder your copy today! Be sure to come back to check out my review soon!

 

AnUncommonWoman

Buckhannon River, Western Virginia
Spring 1770

          Why could she not quit pondering that flounced petticoat?

 

 An Uncommon Woman

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

First Line Friday: The King’s Mercy

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I am excited to be featuring The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton. Rich with historical details this story doesn’t shy away from the difficult parts of life that were common for that time period. I was transported into the pages of this story with the vivid descriptions and dynamic characters that welcomed me into the pages of their lives and let me walk alongside them in their struggles and triumphs. CLICK HERE to read my full review.

TheKingsMercy

July 1747
Cape Fear River, Colony of North Carolina

          Alex MacKinnon roused to the press of wood beneath his cheek and an ominous churning in his gut. He tried to rise, but his hands were bound behind him.

 

Pre-order your copy today!

The King’s Mercy

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

 

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Synopsis:

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy–exile to the Colony of North Carolina–he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves–and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.

The King’s Mercy

My Thoughts:

This epic story is both poignant and heartfelt. I enjoyed the journey from Scotland to Colonial North Carolina. I was transported into the pages of this story with the vivid descriptions and dynamic characters that welcomed me into the pages of their lives and let me walk alongside them in their struggles and triumphs.

Savvy readers will discover an underlying parallel between this story and a Bible story from the New Testament. But I won’t spoil it by telling you which one, you’ll have to read it for yourself! I greatly appreciated the nuggets of Biblical truth seamlessly woven into the story. Words of comfort, of hope and of a God that longs for a true and lasting relationship with each one of us.

Rich with historical details this story doesn’t shy away from the difficult parts of life that were common for that time period. There are moments that are difficult to read, and parts that will have you at one moment yelling words of caution to the characters and reaching for your Kleenex the next. It did take me a few chapters to get into the story, but once it got going, I couldn’t put the book down!

This story is one that will hold of a place of honor on my keeper shelf! If you enjoy reading stories set in the Colonial time period, stories with depth and emotion, then you won’t want to miss out on picking up a copy to enjoy!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists and/or authors, including netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

TheKingsMercy-Quote1

About the Author:

LoriBenton2  Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori’s debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

Web Page // Facebook // Goodreads // Twitter // Amazon // Pinterest

The King’s Mercy

Other books by Lori Benton:

 Burning Sky

   The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn 

 The Woods Edge (The Pathfinders #1)

   A Flight of Arrows (The Pathfinders #2)

   Many Sparrows

TheKingsMercy-Quote2

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Line Friday: Upon My Heart Forever

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I am excited to be featuring Upon My Heart Forever by Amber Lynn Perry. This story took my heart on an emotional journey that I won’t soon forget! From the lows to the heights and everywhere in between. I couldn’t get enough of this delightful story! CLICK HERE to read my full review!

UponMyHeartForever

          Clara Moore’s heart beat hard in her chest, mimicking the rhythmic tick-tock of the clock on the mantel. She exhaled, praying. Lord, grant me a speedy escape.

 

  Upon My Heart Forever

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

UponMyHeartForever2

First Line Fridays: A Bound Heart

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I’m excited to be featuring A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz. With descriptive beauty and vivid detail, this epic story is one that you will want on your keeper shelf to pull out and enjoy again and again! CLICK HERE to read my full review!

ABoundHeart

Isle of Kerrera, Scotland, 1752

As the sun slid from the sky, Lark pressed her back into the pockmarked cliff on the island’s west shore.

Snag your copy today!

    A Bound Heart

Before you run off to check out the other first lines, do be sure to enter the Giveaway running this week for Amber Lynn Perry’s new book So Bright A Hope. CLICK HERE

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

aboundheart(lark)

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

Synopsis:

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.

Laura Frantz’s prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America.

    A Bound Heart

My Thoughts:

Oh, my heart! This story wove is delicate, threads around my heart and wouldn’t let go! Come along for a journey from the brooding, wind-swept western isles of Scotland to a growing plantation in colonial Virginia. These vibrant characters came alive and strolled through my imagination with such vivid detail that it was as if they were there in person.

I loved the history and the characters. Lark is my current favorite heroine. Lark faces some very difficult choices as well as heart-wrenching separation from all she knows and holds dear. Her strength and poise in the face of unknown hardship and difficulty, along with her faith in God sustain her. Yes, she worries for a time. Yes, she faces internal battles with her fear. But she always turns to God and leans on scripture and prayer. Lark is a shining example of how to face both hardship and the unknown. A gentle reminder that we can trust a known God with our unknown because nothing is unknown to God!

With descriptive beauty and vivid detail, this epic story is one that you will want on your keeper shelf to pull out and enjoy again and again! I give this book 5 enthusiastic stars and encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself as soon as possible!

(I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

aboundheart(sweetsuprisequote)

 

About the Author:

laura-frantz-2016  I was born and raised in Kentucky, living first in Ashland, Mammoth Cave, Bowling Green, and then Lexington. But my heart has always been in Berea, Madison County, the place my family has resided since the 18th-century. I came to know Christ there at the age of 12, was baptized, and spent my childhood roaming through the woods and swimming in the rivers of my books.

My earliest memories are of the public library, standing in front of shelves filled with those little biographies of famous historical figures like Daniel Boone and George Washington and Sacajawea. I began scribbling stories at age 7 and thankfully never stopped. My passion then and now is history and all the wonders of past centuries.

I attended college at Denison University in Ohio and also in England, living in a manor/castle and studying the American Revolution from the British perspective. Shakespeare and 18th-century literature form the backbone of my English degree. Strangely enough, I only took one creative writing class.

It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing – and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //

Snag your copy today!

    A Bound Heart

 

 

 

Author Interview & Giveaway with Amber Lynn Perry

I am super excited to have Amber Lynn Perry visiting with us today and chatting about her latest book So Bright A Hope (Daughters of His Kingdom #5). Be sure to stick around to the end to enter the giveaway!

amber-perry-photoA Pacific Northwest native, Amber Lynn Perry lives in Washington state with her husband and two daughters. She studied humanities at Portland State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree focused on art history. As a homeschooling mom, Amber spends much of her time teaching everything from Shakespeare to science.

When she isn’t crafting with her kids, making dinner or driving to dance classes, Amber is either reading or writing about her favorite time in American history. The Revolutionary era has captured her imagination from the time she was in middle school. Through her books, Amber hopes to not only give readers a glimpse into the past, but to instill in them a lasting love of liberty.

 

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About the book:

SoBrightAHopeWhen Caroline Whitney receives word that the brother she thought was dead is in fact a prisoner of war, she is frantic to rescue him. On the way to find help, she hides from the Redcoats, but is quickly discovered by a rugged British soldier who claims she must go with him, or be tried for espionage. The world would tell her this man is the enemy, but the veiled secrets in her captor’s eyes reveal he is more than he seems. If she fails to trust, more could be endangered than her life—her heart is bound to be broken a second time.

As a double agent in the service of Washington, British Captain James Higley must keep his true convictions a secret or face being killed as a traitor. On his newest mission, he discovers a courageous woman hiding in a barn, and is forced to capture her, or both their lives will be in jeopardy. When she offers her compliance in exchange for help in finding her brother, he accepts, despite his inner warnings. He must keep his distance from this alluring Patriot, or risk revealing not only his identity, but the true feelings of his heart.

To See My Review – CLICK HERE

Snag your copy today!

  So Bright A Hope (Daughters of His Kingdom #5)

 

Join me in giving a warm welcome to Amber Lynn Perry! Let’s start out with a few fun getting to know you questions and then we’ll chat about So Bright A Hope.

Q:  What is your favorite season, and why?

road-1072823_640Amber: Fall. Always! I love the colors, the feel of the weather. The rain at night on my window when I’m reading…pure heaven.

Trisha:  I too enjoy the fall colors and the harvest of many of my favorite fruits and veggies!

 

Q:  What is the best part of your day?

tree-1409101_640Amber: Wow! That’s a great question. I love the morning. Because I love a fresh start–knowing I have the full day ahead of me to use as best I can. You know?

Trisha: Yes, a fresh start and everything is new!

 

Q: What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

love-2614754_640Amber: Oh man! K, I loooove Deanne Gist’s older stuff…anything from about 2004-2009. The Measure of a Lady, A Bride in the Bargain, etc. ❤

Trisha:  I love those too!! I have the print copies on my keeper shelf!

 

Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

mobile-616012_640Amber: I am not like a music buff or whatever, but I love me some 1940’s big band and jazz–I listen all the time! It’s my soul music. Always lifts me up and puts me in a good mood. However, when I am writing I almost always listen to movie scores–all different kinds. Sometimes Guardians of the Galaxy, sometimes Last of the Mohicans–as long as it fits the mood of what I’m writing.

Trisha:  I would enjoy listening to music with you any time!

 

Q:  What do you love about this story?

coffee-2440074_640Amber: Oh goodness. I love a lot of things about this story. I looooove how Caroline and James come together and how their relationship develops. The drama and excitement in this story is really fun for me. It’s so thrilling to write something and feel nervous for your own characters as you’re writing! haha!! All the while knowing that the happily ever after they end up with is going to be amazing.

Trisha:  I loved reading this story and watching these two fantastic characters figure out the path their lives would take! It is such an exciting journey!

 

Q:  Which character took you by surprise?

lantern-2369904_640Amber: Edmond! I had no clue how he would end up as the story went along and in the end I was so smitten with him. He was such a loyal friend and just such a determined and dedicated guy. Really had fun with him.

Trisha:  Edmond was quite a surprise!

 

Q:  What is something you hope readers will tell others about this story?

book-863418_640Amber: As with all my stories I hope they will come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of what regular people were willing to do to fight for liberty. Also, there is a theme of hope throughout this story and I would love readers to finish the book with a joy and brightness in their hearts, knowing that there *is* hope in this world and that God is always there for us.

 

Q: What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

correcting-1870721_640Amber: There is SO much that got cut. Basically two completely different manuscripts are in my trash folder on my computer. I worked very hard on this story for a very long time before I finally found exactly what it was the characters wanted to tell me.

 

Q:  What are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?!

books-315677_640Amber:  I have several things in the works currently, but the soonest thing to release (I think!) is a novella I am publishing with Mirror Press in April called, Upon My Heart Forever. I’m finishing it up right now *AND* the exciting thing about this story is that the hero is Ethan Barrik from So Bright a Hope!! I just knew he had a back story, and readers will get to enjoy that soon! I also have two other novellas that I’m working on, but I don’t yet have a publishing date for those yet. I hope it will be soon!

Trisha:  It sounds wonderful! I’m eager to read your new stories! Thank you, Amber for stopping by today and visiting with us. It is always a pleasure!

 

* * * * * GIVEAWAY  * * * * *

Amber Lynn Perry is giving away 1 (one) e-copy of her latest book “So Bright A Hope”. Review the policies here.  The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period, the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email, before another winner will be chosen.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“What are some of your favorite things about winter?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form. (note: if you have difficulty with the rafflecopter entry form, please indicate that in your comment and I will manually enter your name)

***** GIVEAWAY ENDED *****

Paula S.

 

First Line Fridays: So Bright A Hope

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I’m excited to be featuring So Bright A Hope (Daughters of His Kingdom #5) by Amber Lynn Perry. With moments of laughter, unexpected twists, and dynamic characters that take a hold of your heart. This story is an important reminder that Liberty is more than a gift, it is a hard-earned privilege that the founders of this country fought for and believed in. You won’t want to miss this story and the journey within the pages that you won’t soon forget! CLICK HERE to read my full review!

 

SoBrightAHope

August 21, 1770
Boston, Massachusetts

          Light from the street lamps snakes behind James Higley as he reached the end of the abandoned cobblestone street.

 

  So Bright A Hope (Daughters of His Kingdom #5)

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

SoBrightAHope