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Posted November 4, 2013
A year is a long time to wait for something you really, really want but I can tell you when it comes to a Laura Frantz novel it will be well worth the wait! So it was when I opened Love’s Awakening and was transported to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 1822. There I met the youngest daughter of Silas and Eden Ballantyne, Elinor “Ellie” Louise. After seeing an ad extolling her monetary value in a bulletin from The Matrimonial Society of Philadelphia; Ellie realizes that four years of finishing school is enough and she heads home. On the trip Ellie is waylaid by a horrific storm that robs her of all of her belongs, including her money and leaves her stranded in a tavern.
Jack Turlock, handsome to a fault and known for his roguish ways, is stopped by the same storm and helps to clear the debris. Afterward he heads to the tavern for some food and to his surprise he spots a much disheveled Ellie Ballantyne hiding in a corner. After speaking with her and realizing her plight Jack buys her something to eat and then offers to see her safely home to New Hope.
When Ellie returns home she finds her parents away on a trip and her brothers and sister are acting strangely, it's as though they don't want her there. There seems to be some mysterious goings on at New Hope. After trying to find something to do with her time she decides to start the Day School for young ladies she has always dreamed about. One of her first students is Chloe Turlock, thirteen year old sister of Jack. Ellie agrees to come to River Hill to teach Chloe, while there she spends enough time with Jack to realize he is not like the rest of the Turlock clan. It doesn't take long for Ellie and Jack to develop feelings for each other, but both know there is little hope for them. He comes from a family that owns slaves and makes whiskey; she comes from an upstanding family who are abolitionists. Will they be able to conquer these insurmountable circumstances?
Laura Frantz is a storyteller extraordinaire and once again I found myself lost in the wonder of another one of her masterpieces. When you have characters that are so real you feel you know them and you have descriptions that are so in-depth you feel you are there, you just don't want to put the book down until the last words have been consumed. This is the way I have felt with every book I have read by Laura and this one was no different. Last year when I turned the last page in Love's Reckoning I felt as though I couldn't wait for this one, now I feel the same again. Laura I can't wait to see what beauty will again flow from your pen for this coming year, I only hope I have the patience to wait for it!
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Posted April 17, 2014
Posted September 28, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz, ©2013
The Ballantyne Legacy
Will a future with him cost
her all she holds dear?
I swoop a young lady from the disaster of the storm. I am surprised to see it is my childhood friend, Ellie. Our families are in conflict with each other ~ the Turlocks and the Ballantynes. It has stemmed from long ago, and still continues today in my generation. I am the second son so I am not privy to the family estate, Broad Oak, my brother, Wade, has inherited. Instead, I have inherited my grandfather's estate, River Hill, at his passing as he stated in his Will, having no descendant to leave it to. But... I have the better of the two; one thousand acres fronting the Monongahela River. Ellie's family are abolitionists and our family has slaves, even though they have legal freedom. My name? Jack Turlock. Anyway, I rescue Ellie Ballantyne and take her home from the tavern where she has sought protection. The Widow Meyer's is the last stage stop before Pittsburgh. She tells me her retinue has been blown away and she has no money. I suspected as much and order bread with honey and tea for her before she retires. We leave in the morning.
Her sister, Andra, is an ornery sort, and meets us at the door at New Hope when I come galloping up the lane with Ellie behind me in the saddle. In one piece, except for a lost slipper and my own hat. She offers me no water though my horse, Cicero, is in need of a drink after our hard ride to get here. I am on my way, but now for days I am not wanting a reminder of Ellie. She likely would say the same for me.
I read in the Pittsburgh Gazette Miss Elinor is advertising for students offering a day school for young ladies in needlework, French, and dancing. She has been at a finishing school in Philadelphia for the past four years. Mother wants my younger sister, Chloe, to register for the school as a pupil. Chloe is outraged, as she is quite fine following after her brothers. Chloe is twelve and likes to fish and ride. Mother must have a plan to discredit a Ballantyne venture. A snare for Ellie, I perceive.
Father says he want to take me West with him to St. Louis. He is wanting to set up a distillery business there in the new state of Missouri, saying he needs "a cool head and a steady hand." I had hopes of going East to our established accounts but he is sending Wade, who is more regularly an imbiber. I have come to dinner to talk about taking Chloe to River Hill to live with me. In agreeing, I tell Mother she is welcome to visit anytime; that I have not forgotten it had once been her home. She tells me with the times we are all in need of change.
Ellie comes unannounced to River Hill to speak with me. We walk in the garden, away from the prying, inquisitive eyes of my housekeeper, yet in the open away from questionable speaking together in an enclosed room of the house. She tells me Chloe rode to New Hope yesterday to speak with her about joining her school. Chloe? I refuse, leaving Ellie standing in the garden. Joining the two families would dismiss all the other students she might have and disgrace both Ellie and Chloe. May they each one day understand I care to protect both of them.
***Thank you to Revell Blog Tour Network for sending me a copy of Love's Awakening, book 2 in the Ballantyne Legacy by Laura Frantz. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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Posted March 27, 2015
Posted January 25, 2015
Posted October 10, 2014
Posted January 3, 2014
Lyrical, evocative, rich in period detail and the deepest longings of the heart, Laura Frantz’s novels never disappoint the devoted historical fiction reader. I’ve been captivated by all of Ms. Frantz’s books, but the Ballantyne Legacy Series engages me almost more than her wonderful novels set in Kentucky. I love the energy the Federal period supplies as the young republic explodes in size and the population moves ever westward. In Love’s Awakening, not only is the country in turmoil, but Ellie Ballantyne’s private world is also. With characters you relate to on a deep level and plot twists that keep surprising, this story will leave readers breathless and as eager for book 3 of this compelling series as I am.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 21, 2013
Lyrical, breathlessly romantic, and flawless in historical detail are a few of the descriptives that match Laura Frantz's wonderful novels. She has mastered a unique style of writing that is both beautiful, old-fashioned and full of enough conflict to keep the plot moving. Ellie Ballantyne's family are dyed-in-the-wool abolitionists who live out their faith by helping runaways escape in industrial Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania. Jack Turlock's father is a philanderer who makes his living selling liquor and will do anything in his pursuit of the almighty dollar. When Jack's sister becomes a student at Ellie's day school, Ellie finds herself falling hard for Jack, yet can she side with someone whose values and beliefs seem to conflict with all her family holds dear? It is easy to see why Laura Frantz has been a contender for several recent awards and I have no doubt many are in her future. With strong messages of faith and characters I grow to love, I will continue to pick up her novels again and again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2013
A beautiful addition to The Ballantyne Legacy, Love’s Awakening is full of intrigue and forbidden love. Ellie and Jack captivated me from the very start. The possibility of a future together just seems so impossible. Their families have been enemies for a few decades by this point and the futility of either Jack or Ellie pursuing what is in their heart just tugged at me.
Jack is part of the dreaded Turlock clan, a powerful family with powerfully dangerous secrets. He just knows that the upstanding Ballantyne family would never allow Ellie to be his. Ellie feels pressured to marry. As she begins to realize that Jack has taken up residence in her heart, will she be brave enough to admit to her family where her true feelings lie, or feel forced to wed a man she does not love?
Love’s Awakening is a powerful tale combining a beautiful love story with rich historical detail and interesting information regarding the fight to transport slaves to freedom as they crossed Pennsylvania.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I look forward to purchasing a copy of this novel to add to my personal collection.
Posted October 18, 2013
Masterful storyteller, Laura Frantz, has done it again! In this second installment of The Ballantyne Legacy, we witness the continuing journey of the Ballantyne family as they endure life's trials and joys. Set among the backdrop of 1822 Pennsylvania, the story comes to life with vivid descriptions, and melodic and expressive prose that leaves me captivated at every page.
With its rich, historical detail, and a fine cast of characters, I was drawn into another place and time. There's so much to love about this story, it's difficult to know where to begin. I'd have to say that while the story does start out at a relaxed pace, things certainly do pick up pace, and heat up. With the Ballantyne and Turlock families both having a wide array of personalities amongst them, it makes for a good amount of tension and drama. There are the characters that charm and endear you, and then others that make you cringe at their less than desirable ways. It ends up being the perfect balance, and lends itself to a very interesting story.
In addition to tension and drama among the characters, I loved those scenes that brought a sense of danger, fear, heartache, and needless to say, . . . those moments that take your breath away and leave tears in your eyes. There were a couple chapters where I literally found it hard to breathe -- oh, the emotion! I was left with a pounding heart, and a feeling that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see how things were going to be resolved. Laura Frantz has a true talent for making the reader truly feel the entire gamut of emotions. From heart-pounding tension, to sigh-worthy romance, this novel has it all . . . a literary banquet, to be sure!
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys well written, historical fiction with rich detail, well drawn characters, and a sweet love story to win your heart.
**Thank you to Revell for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.**
**Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**
Posted October 15, 2013
Once again Laura Frantz has shown herself to be the master of historical fiction. She tells the gripping story of Ellie and Jack in Love's Awakening. While we fall in love with the characters we also come to care about their lives and issues. I was drawn in from page one and didn't put her book down until the last page. It was incredibly well written! I just wish I didn't have to wait until 2014 for the next book in this series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2013
I discovered Laura Frantz this year and can't get enough of her books. The first book in the Ballantyne Legacy was so compelling I could not put it down. Now the much awaited second book in the series is out. Again, Frantz has come through with a mesmerizing book. I am thrilled that I found her. When I find a writer this good, I stick with that author until I have read everything he/she has written.
Reader from Richmond, VA.
Posted September 28, 2013
After having read five books by this author, I'm of a mind that nobody has mastered the craft of weaving a delightfully entertaining and romantic tale better than Laura Frantz. From the very first chapter to the very last line of every book, and possibly none more so than with her latest, Love's Awakening, I have been hooked. The second book in the Ballantyne Legacy is a winner!
With complex and engaging characters, historic Pittsburgh has been brought to life as I've never seen it before. Being a native to the area, I couldn't help but be half in love with this story before I even turned the first page and I'm happy to say it lived up to, and greatly surpassed, my already high expectations. I'd love to think that some of my ancestors could have easily traveled the paths that Ellie did in this story. Love's Awakening is by far my favorite of the series and sweet Ellie Ballantyne one of my favorite heroines brought to life by Frantz. It was easy to picture a genteel lady struggling with love and faith in a rough, rapidly evolving city. Our hero, Jack Turlock, is as equally an impressive character. Without giving anything away, let's just say he's a delish reformed rogue. Who doesn't love a bad boy? I never thought anyone could top Red Shirt from her previous novel Courting Morrow Little, but I think he may have a rival in Gentleman Jack! ;-)
Everything about Love's Awakening captures the essence of great Christian fiction. Perfectly balanced with love, just a bit of adventure, and a lot of history I could not find a thing I did not enjoy when it came to this book! If you're looking for a story that engages the mind and the heart definitely consider this book and this series!
*I receive complimentary books for review from the publisher. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
Posted September 28, 2013
A lovely addition to the series!
In Love's Awakening we are introduced to Eden and Silas's family, particularly their youngest, Ellie. Oh, they were one of my favorite couples last year and their story made my top twelve books of 2012. I couldn't wait to read more about them, particularly Ellie. She's sweet, though a bit naive at first, and she has a heart as big as her mother's. Since I am the oldest in my family, I have no idea what it is like to be the youngest, seeing it through Ellie's eyes was interesting. I loved watching her come into her own.
I confess, based on the back cover I was concerned Ellie's story would be more of a Romeo and Juliet retelling than it actually was. Thankfully, I never got that impression while I read. One of my favorite new characters has to be Chloe. She's full of energy and has a stubbornness that rivals the Ballantyne's. Her transformation was wonderful to read and I wish we could have seen more of her.
Love's Reckoning remains my favorite so far, but this one made a great sequel. There was a fabulous blend of drama, tension, and romance throughout the whole book. Frantz truly sent me back in time, thanks to the historical detail she slips into her novels. Her books have been a pleasure to read. I recommend to ages fifteen and up for both readability and content.
Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!
Posted September 28, 2013
Laura Frantz in her new book, "Love's Awakening" Book Two in The Ballantyne Legacy published by Revell brings us into the life of Ellie Ballantyne.
From the back cover: The path to true love lies somewhere between two feuding families
In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburgh only to find that her parents are away on a long journey and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. Determined to stand her ground and find her place in the world, Ellie fills her time by opening a day school for young ladies.
But when one of her students turns out to be an incorrigible young member of the Turlock family, Ellie knows she must walk a fine line. Slaveholders and whiskey magnates, the Turlocks are envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly entangled with the rival clan-particularly the handsome Jack Turlock-she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future. Will she betray her family and side with the enemy?
Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love and loyalty. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.
"Love's Awakening" is all about family. Or more accurately family versus family. In this case it is the Ballanatynes versus the Turlocks. The Ballantyne's are abolitionists and are saving slaves, helping them get to freedom, the Turlocks are slaveholders and make whiskey. It is in this environment that Ellie falls in love with Jack. "Love's Awakening" has a "Romeo and Juliet" feel to it as Ms. Frantz explores the conflict between the two families as well as the institution of slavery. Ellie and Jack are such interesting characters and the story draws you deep into it. In "Love's Awakening" Ms. Frantz has woven in history, romance and grand adventure all in one story.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
"Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."
Posted September 28, 2013
In Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz, book 2 of The Ballantyne Legacy, we are reunited with Silas and Eden from Love's Reckoning and also introduced to new characters. Laura continues her tradition of masterful storytelling and, as with her other novels that I've read, has created a moving epic that will long linger in my thoughts.
Laura Frantz has a natural gift when it comes to creating characters and narratives that engage the emotions, set against a historical backdrop so rich in details so that you get a realistic feel of time and place. I never want to miss one of her novels.
Love's Awakening is set in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania during the pre-Civil War years of 1822-1823. Silas and Eden from the first novel don't appear until almost halfway through, and I couldn't believe how eager I was to see them again - and that's a mark of great storytelling. In the same way that I was drawn to Ballantyne patriarch Silas, I was also drawn to his son, Ansel, and youngest daughter, Ellie.
Ansel is an easygoing, unpretentious young man with great of inner strength, and the musical tradition that began with Silas in Love's Reckoning continues through the talents of Ansel and Ellie. "Between running fugitives and seeking solace in music, Ansel led a strange double life." With all the Scottish/Irish jigs and folk tunes mentioned, combined with the classical duets of Ellie and Ansel, I almost think a soundtrack should be released with this novel!
And then there's the Turlock family! Jack is the younger son in a family that had come to America in the early 1700s, rich from illicit whiskey refining and smuggling in Ireland. The Turlocks were "poisonous distillers and slave owners in dire need of God's saving grace, and having none of it."
Although Pennsylvania had enacted legislation for slavery's gradual abolition, its grip on the state lingered. Pro-abolition vs. pro-slavery forces take center stage in this novel as the Ballantyne family provide safety as part of the Underground Railroad. The times were heartbreaking for slaves and dangerous for those who were willing to help them. A cupola atop the Ballantyne's New Hope estate, often lit by Ansel when it was safe for runaways to cross the river, symbolizes the hope of freedom to all.
Laura does a great job at blending spiritual themes throughout the story, such as the characters' strong faith in God's Word and a reliance on prayer. But one message that shines through is that we don't have to be defined by our family's actions. As Ellie once asked, "Doesn't Scripture also say the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father if he turns from his sins?" It is a joy to watch Jack's spiritual awakening and the love between he and Ellie grow. In Jack's words, "As the old saint Whitefield said, we are immortal until our work is done."
The romance between Jack and Ellie is tender, sweet and emotional - another trademark of Laura's writing. Her use of quotations at the beginning of each chapter adds so much depth and meaning, as with this Leo Tolstoy quote that relates to Jack's feelings: "He felt now that he was not simply close to her but that he did not know where he ended and she began."
I don't think I've ever seen anyone more creative than Laura when it comes to Pinterest! With her Love's Awakening board, she has pinned much scenery, as well as period clothing and furniture. Referring to this board while reading will make the story come even more alive.
I think the appeal of Love's Awakening goes far beyond fans of inspirational historical romance, so I don't hesitate to highly recommend it to all readers.
Love's Awakening is available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Book 3 in The Ballantyne Legacy releases August 2014.
This book was provided by Revell as part of their blog tour in exchange for my honest review.
Posted September 24, 2013
Ellie Ballantyne and Jack Turlock descend from rival families, but a terrible storm brings them together temporarily until Jack can return Ellie home. Once home, Ellie feels strangely out of place, as if things are not what they seem. Determined to use her finishing school training to benefit others, she opens a day school for young ladies. Chloe Turlock, Jack's younger sister, is especially in need of Ellie's instruction. As Ellie attempts to mold Chloe into a lady, Ellie finds herself increasingly drawn to Jack. A public, social rivalry isn't the only thing standing between Ellie and Jack. Both of their families have secrets of life and death importance. Although loyalty constrains Ellie to her family, will love find a way to flourish between her and Jack? Find out in Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz.
Love's Awakening is the second installment in The Ballantyne Legacy series by Laura Frantz. I do recommend reading them in order. Some general background information from the first novel in the series, Love's Reckoning, is provided. However, there were some vague references to events in Love's Reckoning that I couldn't completely recall even though I read it just last year.
I was pretty much hooked by Love's Awakening from Jack's first glimpse of Ellie in chapter one. The chemistry between the two characters and the adverse circumstances surrounding them made for a captivating story. As usual, Frantz's writing style was both beautiful and admirable. The story pace never dragged and Frantz added unique twists that kept the story fresh. I highly recommend Love's Awakening to fans of Christian historical romance. It's in my top three favorite books I've read this year and I know I'll reread it again in the future. Definitely a keeper!
Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller, from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted September 24, 2013
I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction/romance. If you liked Love's Reckoning, then you will love this book. It was very nice to see Silas and Eden again. Their love is a special kind of love based on faith, and endurance through the trials of life.
Ellie, their youngest daughter, is the heroine in this story. She is a nice character, but she would be downright dull without Jack and his sister Chloe. Jack and Chloe are Turlocks, a family full of anger, lying, and betrayal. The only positive influences in Jack's life are his mother's father and Silas Ballantyne. Chloe is the "accident" child whose only real friends are Jack and 2 slaves named Sally and Ben. My hear was just broken for them. Chloe and Jack want to rise above their negative background, but don't know how. That is where Ellie comes in. Through her gentle and loving spirit God shows His love to them both. Chloe and Jack are also the comic relief in the story, with their complete lack of social skills and witty dialogue.
The setting in the story is very well developed. I was repeatedly going to the author's Pinterest page to fully capture the scenery, clothing, and items in my mind.
There are some very sad parts in this story, but it all comes together in the end, except for one part. One character's unexpected departure leaves me eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
Posted September 23, 2013
Laura Frantz writes such heart-felt stories, that sometimes I feel as if I’m living the account, wanting to partner alongside her characters and help them do what must be done to bring the story to a satisfying end. Love’s Awakening is no exception. Following on the heels of the first book of the series, Love’s Reckoning, this second book to the Ballantyne Legacy opens 20 years into the nineteenth century. Frantz has done her research, telling the story of two families at odds with one another over the subject of slavery. The Ballantynes have abolitionist leanings, while the Turlocks are pro-slavery. Though a bitter feud ensues, an unlikely romance blossoms between the youngest Ballantyne daughter, Ellie, and the youngest Turlock son, Jack. Will the two of them be able to get past the hate and danger that has been forced upon them, or will their love be crushed forever? Take a trip back in time as Laura Frantz weaves the story of how God’s love changes hearts. Two thumbs up!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 23, 2013
LOVE’S AWAKENING by Laura Frantz Inspirational Historical Romance (American Frontier) set in 1822 Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania. #2 in “The Ballantyne Legacy”,but can be read as a stand alone. See,”Love’s Reckoning”. Another hit for this author and one not to miss! Fast paced and filled with faith,healing,forgiveness,passion,two feuding families and love. Join Ellie Ballantyne and Jack Turlock on their journey to love and loyalty. The Ballantyne Legacy is one of abolitionist,and power. The Turlock’s on the other hand are whiskey magnates,and slaveholders or so it would seem. What happens when two feuding families find more than mistrust,feuding and hate? You will have to read “Love’s Awakening” to find the answer!
Move over the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s the Ballantyne’s and Turlock’s are here!
What a gripping love story and one that will have you turning pages well into the night. A must read for any historical romance reader,and readers of American history. Ms. Frantz is a masterful storyteller who holds her readers in awe as they follow her characters on a journey of faith and love. Please do not be held off by the genre of inspirational for it is not a “preachy” story, but one of faith,hope,feuding,forgiveness,healing and the power of love. Ms. Frantz has not disappointed me in one of her stories so far, she is a masterful storyteller! “Love’s Awakening” is a gripping tale from the first page to the last page! A not to miss read!! Received for an honest review from the publisher.
*Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More