The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

5.0 21
by Lori Benton

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Frontier dangers cannot hold a candle to the risks one woman takes by falling in love
In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But


Frontier dangers cannot hold a candle to the risks one woman takes by falling in love
In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance. 
Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

“Reminiscent of the The Last of the Mohicans and equally as stirring, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a rare book that kept me up late into the night. Ms. Benton is an exquisite storyteller whose majestic descriptions, suspenseful plot, and passionate romance are not soon to be forgotten.”
—MaryLu Tyndall, author of the Escape to Paradise trilogy

“Founded on a fascinating little-known moment in early American history, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read. In this tightly paced flight into fear, hope, and mystery, author Lori Benton emerges as the quintessential artist, able to pull her readers into the story through her well-drawn, multidimensional characters, their emotions, motivations, and dreams.”
—Sue Harrison, international best-selling author of the Ivory Carver trilogy

“Benton has created another masterpiece. With rich historical detail, she brings to life the early frontier with all its beauty and danger. Her descriptions are unique and often breathtaking. She creates realistic dialogue, vibrant characters, and an intriguing plot. Benton has quickly become one of my favorite authors.”
—Jody Hedlund, best-selling author of Rebellious Heart

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a beautifully written novel, rich in historical details that will transport you back to the mountains of North Carolina in the late eighteenth century. The characters are so real and their circumstance so compelling, they jump off the page and into your heart. Readers of historical romance will be captivated, and those who read her debut novel, Burning Sky, will be thrilled with this new story.”
—Carrie Turansky, author of The Governess of Highland Hall and The Daughter of Highland Hall

“Seldom has a tale swept me away so powerfully that I’m left both breathless and bereft at its end, reluctant to let go. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is such a book, a gentle masterpiece destined to be treasured and acclaimed.”
—Julie Lessman, award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series

“With gorgeous prose and characters that will steal your heart, Benton has breathed live and passion into history. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a captivating example of excellence. Flawless!”
—Roseanna M. White, author of the Culper Ring series

“A breathtaking novel from start to incandescent conclusion. Lori Benton portrays the rugged North Carolina terrain in such vivid detail, readers will feel they’ve followed Tamsen’s journey every pulse-pounding step of the way. A must-read!”
—Ann Shorey, author of Love’s Sweet Beginning

“In this sweeping colonial saga, author Lori Benton has crafted a powerful tale wherein every element of storytelling is vividly woven together. Poetic, emotional, and rich in historic detail, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a stirring page-turner.”
—Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart Is Torn

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The Crown Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt

Western North Carolina
September 1787

To Jesse Bird’s reckoning, any man charged with driving forty head of Overmountain cattle to market best have three things in his possession—a primed rifle, a steady horse, and a heap of staying power. Jesse had the first two, one balanced across his thighs; the other tired, fly bitten, and dusty between them. As for staying power…with miles to go before he’d be shed of those forty beeves, he was making a studied effort to let patience have its perfect work in him.

Looking back across their brown and brindled ranks, he spotted Cade and the packhorses rounding a bend in the river trace, where sunlight still speared the hazy air in moted streaks of gold. Riding behind the drove at the mercy of its dust, Cade had a kerchief tied across his mouth and nose, hat pulled low to shield his eyes. Though Jesse hadn’t ridden rear guard since midday, the choke of that same dust gritted his throat. Grime coated the foot drovers too, spread out through the summerfattened herd, armed with rifles and staves, eyes darting glances at the crowding wooded slopes.

Grasshoppers whirred beside the trace, leaping clear of trampling hooves that crackled the weeds. The sun hung to westward, its warmth fading, leaving rivulets of sweat drying on Jesse’s neck, sticking his shirt where the straps of bullet-bag and knapsack crossed. He was thinking they’d reach their next camp a nip ahead of dark, with time to pen the cattle before swimming the dust off his hide, when something with the force of a slung stone clipped his hat brim. Thinking a deer fly had marked him for a meal, he reached for the hat, meaning to swat the pest. The hat was gone clean off his head. It dangled from a nearby tulip poplar, pinned by a feathered arrow.

Jesse gave a whoop, then was out of the saddle and ducking behind a clump of rhododendron, putting his horse crosswise between himself and the beeves. From across the river came a spotty rain of arrows, pinging off rocks, thunking into trees along the bank. The drovers ducked behind the cattle on the hill-slope side of the trace, rifles shouldered.

Jesse’s mind raced. Was it Creeks or Chickamaugas? Either held an everlasting grudge against the Overmountain settlers. Hang it all, it could be Shawnees. With a wordless prayer that it wasn’t, Jesse aimed his rifle at a tawny flash across the river and fired. Powder smoke plumed out white from the barrel. On the tail edge of the report, he heard Cade’s war whoop. An answering ululation came shrill and defiant from across the water, raising the hairs on Jesse’s arms.

The cattle milled and bunched, kicking up a dust blind. One took an arrow in the flank and went down in the middle of the trace, bawling in pain but thwarting the bulk of the herd’s bolting.

Rifle shot cracked. Powder smoke hung on both sides of the river now, sharp and sulfurous. For the moment they had the water for a buffer. The attacking warriors wouldn’t risk exposing themselves to cross unless sure of taking them down. Surprise was a weapon spent.

A brindled cow broke from the jostling herd. It plunged down the riverbank and crumpled in the shallows, shot through the neck. The front of the herd not blocked by the downed cow pressed up against the hillside and then shifted in Jesse’s direction, threatening to stampede off down the trace. More broke for the river. Busy reloading, Jesse could do little but pray his horse stood its ground.

A musket ball ripped through rhody leaves near his head. Back down the trace Cade’s rifle fired. A warrior across the river fell through brush, lay thrashing, and was dragged back into cover. Another such loss and the warriors would likely break and run. If they could hold them off a few more seconds…

New voices shattered a lull in the firing. Tremolo cries like the warble of crazed turkey cocks sounded up the slope behind them.

Fear jarred through Jesse. Faster than thought, he yanked free his belt ax and whirled to throw it—and almost too late recognized the two Cherokee warriors. He shouted to the drovers to stop them firing on the blueshirted figures leaping down the rocky slope, dodging frightened cattle.

The Cherokees took cover on the bank, both with rifles, and commenced to putting them to use.

Jesse blazed a grin of welcome at the younger of the two now at his side, rammed patch and ball to powder, and fired across the river. A final arrow sailed over the cattle’s backs. Then stillness fell, with smoke and dust drifting high on the river breeze.

The drovers moved among the beeves, soothing them with staves and words, settling their own nerves with rapid glances toward the river. The warriors had melted back into the forest, taking their wounded with them. It had been a hunting party, taking their chances on an unplanned raid. If it had been a tracking party out for scalps, there were far better spots to stage an ambush along their steep and winding route from  Sycamore Shoals. A second attempt was unlikely. Jesse knew the thinking of such men as well as he did his own.

After sliding his rifle into its saddle sling, he mounted and wheeled his horse after the few cows that had bolted up the trace. By the time Jesse had them headed back, Cade had sorted the herd and ridden up through their ranks, leading the packhorses. His gaze raked Jesse head to heel, relief deepening the creases beside his eyes. He took in the cow with the arrow in its flank, then the dead one reddening the river shallows, and yanked down his kerchief to show a mouth narrowed in regret. “That dead one looks like Tate’s.”

“’Fraid so,” Jesse said. It was always a risk, pushing beeves down the mountains under the noses of Chickamauga warriors eager to cripple the Watauga settlers who depended on the sale of their stock. Jesse and Cade had hired on for this drove each September since the war with the British ended, tracing the Watauga River east to its mountain headwaters, then down to the Catawba River and the Carolina piedmont. The beeves were bound for the market cow pens, Jesse and Cade for Morganton to barter furs and hides for supplies and then hire on as guides for any settlers heading back Overmountain before snow fell.

“We’d have lost more’n cows had these wild turkeys not flushed from hiding.” Jesse nodded at the late arrivals to the fray, both Overhill Cherokees. While the drovers cast half-wary looks at the two, Cade and Jesse slid off their horses to greet them.

“Friends of yours, Cade?” asked the white drover, owner of ten head of cattle and the two slaves helping drive them.

“Yours too, I’d say.” Cade looped his mare’s reins around a sapling and grasped the arm of the elder Indian, a stocky man with gray threading the hair flowing from under his turban. “Whatever brings you across our path, brothers, you’ve our thanks.”

Despite Cade’s half-breed Delaware blood, little distinguished his looks from the men he greeted, save that his black hair was tailed back, not plucked to a scalp-lock, as was the younger Cherokee’s. Cade’s hat brim, pinned with a hawk’s feather, shaded eyes one expected to be as dark as the battered felt but were instead as golden brown as Jesse’s—nothing to remark upon for a man of Jesse’s coloring. In Cade’s tawny face, they often drew a second look.

“Thunder-Going-Away,” Cade said, naming the elder Cherokee first, by way of introduction. “And Catches Bears, his son.”

The drover gave a wary nod. “Elijah Rhodes.”

“Jabez and Billy,” Jesse added, with a nod at Rhodes’s slaves. Billy, fourteen and on his first drive, was shaking in the wake of the attack—with excitement as much from shock, Jesse thought. “Think one them Injuns was Dragging Canoe? Them bad Injuns, I mean,” Billy added with a sidelong look at the Cherokees.

“Doubt it.” Jesse grinned at the boy, who’d prattled on about the infamous Chickamauga war chief since starting from Sycamore Shoals.

“Dragging Canoe would’ve crossed right over that river and lifted our scalps. Ain’t you heard? He can swim like a fish and fly like a raven.” The boy’s eyes whitened around the rims.

Jabez, an old hand at droving, slapped Billy’s back, raising dust. “He pulling yo’ leg, boy. Canoe ain’t no demon-bird. Just a man like me and you.”

“Huh,” Billy said, looking unconvinced.

Cade was eying Thunder-Going, a question in his eyes. “You’re a long way from Chota.”

Thunder-Going raised his chin, nodding back toward the northwest. “Tate Allard said we missed you by three sleeps. We trailed you.”

“Not hard to do,” Bears said, nostrils flaring wide, “with the stink these cows leave.”

Thunder-Going hid a smile in the lines carved beside his mouth. “We meant to catch you coming back from Morganton, to invite you to a feast. My daughter is to join blankets with a husband.”

“White Shell? ’Bout time.” Three pairs of eyes turned to Jesse when he spoke. The Cherokees and even Cade were looking at him as if he ought to say more on the matter. “What?”

Bears snorted. “You see? He does not know.”

Jesse frowned. “What don’t I know?”

“My sister wanted you,” Bears said. “But you had no eyes to see her, so she chose one who does.”

“My daughter was not the one for you,” Thunder-Going said and shrugged away what looked to Jesse like mild disappointment. Then the Cherokee inquired of Cade, though he still eyed Jesse, “Is it to be Allard’s girl, who follows this one like a puppy?”

Jesse cut in before Cade could answer that. “I have not found the one. I will know when I have, and maybe then I will tell you about it.” They’d fallen into Tsalagi, the Cherokee tongue. Switching to English, he said, “Oughtn’t we to be pushing on?”

Rhodes was in agreement. “How far to the next camp?”

“Mile or two,” Cade said. “Have to tend the downed cows first.”

Bears and his father exchanged a look. Thunder-Going said, “You go on with the herd. We will skin out the dead one. Better the hide than nothing, eh? For a share of the meat, we will bring that along as well. As much as we can carry.”

The plan agreed to, Jesse mounted up. Behind him Cade said, “Where’s your hat got to, Jesse?”

It still hung from the poplar, neat as on a cabin wall. Cade reached it first. He wrenched out the arrow, his face gone a shade like greened copper. In his eyes a heap of words clamored to be said, but he handed Jesse the hat and went to deal with the wounded cow on the trace. Fingering the hole in the hat’s brim, Jesse watched Cade snap the arrow nearer the wound, leaving enough to grasp. Cade urged the cow to its feet. If the cow made camp, he would take the arrow out there.

Thunder-Going descended the bank toward the cow lying dead at the river’s edge. With a wolfish grin, Bears drew the hunting knife from his belt. “If the other cow does not make it, leave it lying. We will see to it as well. Then you can tell Allard and the rest you got every one of their stinking cowhides to market.”

Meet the Author

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back three hundred years. 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, Lori enjoys exploring beautiful Oregon with her husband.

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The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Having read Lori Benton’s debut novel, Burning Sky, I was very excited to get a chance to review an Advance Reading Copy of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. I was not disappointed! Just as in her debut novel, this story contains beautiful imagery and an amazing depth of historical information woven in such a way that it does not weigh down the story – it enhances it. All of the characters in this book are so well-written, from Tamsen and Jesse, both of whom I immediately liked, to a whole host of secondary characters that are well-developed and interesting in their own right. This author possesses the ability to craft a story that keeps me guessing and hoping for a happy ending for the main characters, while taking me on such a journey that there are times I wonder how it can possibly all work out. This book has so many twists and turns! There were times that I had to set the book down and take a deep breath because I was so concerned for Jesse and Tamsen! But then, after a while, I couldn’t help myself…I HAD to pick the book up and find out what was next in their journey. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a wholly enjoyable read, with wonderful romance and danger, as well as an amazing journey back in history for the reader. Throughout it all, the author illustrates the loving hand of God in these characters’ lives, bringing good to those who put their trust in Him. I received a complimentary Advance Reading Copy of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
Adventure, danger, and romance, laced with interesting bits of history, make this story so intriguing that it's hard to put down! Tamsen Littlejohn has many choices to make in the face of life threatening danger. Her journey begins as she flees right into the arms of a stranger who feels compelled to help her. Through every situation she's faced with, she grows in faith, hope, and love, learning to trust God to work all things together for good. Full of twists and turns, like the mountain trails and rivers they travel along, this is another wonderfully told tale by Lori Benton. Set in the post-Revolutionary War along the North Carolina- Tennessee mountain region that was disputed as the State of Franklin. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction! 5+ stars (This review is my honest and unsolicited opinion. Thank you for the advanced reader copy of the book provided by WaterBrook Press.)
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
One of the best Historical Fiction books I have read in awhile. Lori Benton knows how to captivate you from the get go and make you want to stay up all night to finish. Tamsen is a young woman who finds the strength to escape her step father and against all odds with the help of Jesse Bird make a new life for herself. Facing insurmountable hardships and looking over their shoulders for their pursuers makes for a great storyline. Tamsen finds her Faith to be her strength as she adapts from a sheltered life to life in the wilderness. A must read for all. I won this book in a FB contest and am so glad I did. I look forward to reading more by Lori Benton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
New author for me I'm glad I did it. It had depth very happy:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I simply could not put this book down! It is a great story that is filled with endearing characters, painful circumstances, persevering love, and a surprising, but heartwarming ending. I loved it! Lori Benton is such a gifted author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lori Benton is one of the finest writer's in the Christian Fiction genre! Her characters are so colorful, the story engaging: adventure, romance, suspense, incredible attention to historical detail. In this book you take an entire journey with the characters both emotionally, spiritually, and literally as you follow them on their quest for peace. A must read for Christian fiction readers! Lori is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
KarenFromOregon More than 1 year ago
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is filled with wonderful, multi-faceted characters. Each one seems to straddle cultural lines, never entirely certain to which group they belong. I found myself wondering how I would react if I were faced with a similar situation, and that’s always a good clue that I’ve been pulled deeply into a story. This book is a gem!  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.
gccbookworm More than 1 year ago
Captivating! Tamsen Littlejohn's stepfather is planning an arranged marriage for her which is causing her much anxiety and distress. She pleads with her mother for help. The most her mother can do before her stepfather returns to escort her to the proposed suitor is secretly give Tamsen a wooden box and key. In defiance to him, she runs away with Jesse Bird-a frontiersman she does not know. Both Jesse and Tamsen's faith are tested as they cross the mountains to escape and start a new life. But Tamsen's stepfather is in pursuit convincing the suitor, Amborse Kincaid, she has been kidnapped and Jesse is a murderer.   This is a frontier love story written by Lori Benton with many twist and turns. At first I thought I knew how it would end but was met with a suspenseful and surprising twist at the end. If your looking for a historical, faith-based romance to read-this a excellent choice.   I received this book to review for free from WaterBrook press.
4Gazpacho More than 1 year ago
The term pursuit is apt for this historical fiction romance because it describes the many facets of the story's events, beginning with the first chapters.  In spite of her pampered background, Tamsen was not the type of woman to allow others to take her over and control her. She wanted a voice in her destiny, contrary to the custom of the day. So when her stepfather arranged a suitor for her, she would not cooperate with the arrangement unless she wanted to. Her stepfather only cared for his own gain, without thought to Tamsen's welfare. After only one meeting with Ambrose Kincaid, plantation owner, she saw only entrapment and decided to flee the village of Morganton as soon as possible. She would have done it sooner but for her mother. It was not soon enough to escape her stepfather's cruelty to her mother. In a fit of rage, he struck her mother down in Tamsen's presence. Horror stricken, she fled with the aid of a young man she'd met briefly in the stables. Jesse Bird and his pa, Cade, were rugged men of the North Carolina mountains--trappers, drovers, hunters, wagon train guides, sometimes wanderers. They'd arrived in Morganton at the tail end of a cattle drive and were soon to embark on a trek out west guiding a group of settlers. Jesse caught a fleeting glimpse of Tamsen in town and was struck by her beauty. It was no wonder when she asked him to help her escape a day later that he was ready to move the world for her. It was a good thing Jesse and his pa were Godly men with principles. Jesse knew exactly what to do. Cade would guide the wagon train while Jesse traveled a parallel but lesser known trace to avoid being seen. Tamsen, grief stricken about her mother's cruel death and the abrupt circumstances depended completely on their good will. It was unfortunate then, when they encountered Charlie Spencer, a trapper on the trail with his pack mules who stopped to talk with them. Jesse claimed they were a newly wed couple, but Charlie didn't think Tamsen looked like a blushing bride. She looked haggard. And once Charlie arrived in Morganton, he learned what he thought was the truth, that Tamsen had been abducted by her mother's murderer. The trapper agreed to guide Tamsen's stepfather and her would-be suitor in the search for her. The pursuit was on. While this book is a historical fiction romance, the history by no means overtakes the major plot, Tamsen's escape from her stepfather. The history is interesting, plays an important role in both aiding and thwarting the trio's efforts to find a refuge. I enjoyed that element of the story because I had never heard of the state of Franklin and the struggles in the Carolinas of the late 18th century before reading this book. I so much appreciate the research the author put into it, especially for the tidbits that made this book come alive. The author also included an Author's Notes and Acknowledgments section at the back of the book detailing her research. I enjoy this as much as I love commentaries on my favorite movies. More authors should include this in their writings.  In this book there is more than one type of pursuit within its pages. The first is obvious and accounts for the exciting action. The second is the romance developing between Jesse Bird and Tamsen. Jesse believed she was the one for him, sanctioned even by God. From the first day of their flight, he was determined win her trust and convince her of his dependability to care for her. The author didn't portray Jesse as a perfect man. He knew his failings. You can't help but admire his patience and determination, his strength of character and his skills. The development of their relationship from rescuer/damsel-in-distress, to companions, to romance is a lovely story in and of itself. I came to care for these characters, even the mysterious Cade. Finally, the author provides a twist of circumstances at the end that I had not anticipated. While this is secondary to the main resolution of the story, it provides a very satisfying conclusion with a touch of irony. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction romances. This book has much to offer.  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books on behalf of Waterbrook Press. 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.”
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
Wow. This book definitely lives up to its rave reviews and exceeded my expectations! It has all the elements I love in a great historical novel- strong romance, fascinating history, suspense and anticipation throughout the book to keep the pace moving. I had not known about the lost state of Franklin and the early American politics surrounding it, and combined with the turbulent Native American dynamic, I was biting my nails! The characters are so vibrant- it was easy to envision each one. The author balanced out all the elements superbly and I didn't feel that any part of the novel was lacking. The ending was tied together beautifully and completely.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
From the first page of this book, I was captured by the story. Lori Benton is an amazing story-teller. Though there were parts in the middle that lagged a bit for me, I still enjoyed this book immensely. Tamsen's struggles and her pursuers, good and bad, made for an interesting plot line. As we move toward the end of the book, the story picks up with action, danger, and a love story that I found completely enjoyable. Both Tamsen and Jesse face trials of their own, as well as trials together, which brought depth to each character. At the beginning of the story, we meet Tamsen, who is struggling to come to terms with who she is and what she's meant to become. Throughout the book, we see the choices she makes shaping the woman she will become. Jesse, whose story is unique, is an honorable man bent on protecting the woman he loved at first sight. Their romance was slow in coming, but sweet none the less. There were many deep and exacting truths portrayed throughout the book. The main thought, in my opinion, is well summed up by this quote (don't worry, I took out the parts that give away the plot!): "But in time God will work even the worst things men do to us for our lasting good. Eternal good. Trust in the Almighty, in His love for you, and you'll have no need to dread anything He allows to befall you. For with a test, a trial, He gives an equal measure of grace to bear it and the comfort of His fellowship as He strengthens us. He is acquainted with suffering." Overall, I really enjoyed this fantastic story and I look forward to reading more by Lori Benton! **I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book with a great story.  Actually it almost has three story lines.  The first story is of course about Tamsen Littlejohn.   She is a young woman living with her  mother and stepfather.  Her stepfather is trying to get her to marry someone she does not want to marry.  At a certain point Tamsen  tries to run away and she meets Jesse Bird.and he helps her to get away from her stepfather .  They travel together and pretend to be married until they can really get married or get somewhere  where Tamsen can be safe.  There is also the underlying story of the state of North Carolina and the state of Franklin fighting each other.  I really liked the way all of these story lines worked together.  I had a hard time putting it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
One of the best historical novels! I LOVED this book! I could hardly put it down and when I was forced to I spent the entire time either thinking about the story or imagining what might happen next. I am a fan of historical fiction and have been for as long as I can remember, Laura Ingalls Wilder managed to hook me when I was about 5, and I also love history. Too often historical fiction differs so far from what the history books teach that I get a little frustrated. That did NOT happen with The Pursuit Of Tamsen Littlejohn at all, the story is well-written and catches the reader's attention without sacrificing any of the historical details. Lori Benton has done an amazing job weaving history and story in such a way that the reader does not see where one ends and the other begins. It is readily apparent that the author put in a lot of research and that she is a very talented writer. I really can't say enough about this book. I loved the characters, the story, the history, and definitely the writing style. Tamsen and Jesse are well developed, as are the secondary characters. I cared about them, what happened to them, and my emotions ran the gamut alongside theirs. When I finished the book it was hard to say goodbye to them and I found myself wishing this would be a series and I would “see” them again. I will just have to console myself with reading Lori Benton's previous book, Burning Sky, and if it's anything like The Pursuit Of Tamsen Littlejohn I know I will enjoy it. Lori Benton definitely has a new fan in me and I will be anxiously awaiting each future release. (I received an ARC influencer copy of this book from the author in exchange for my review. All opinions are entirely my own)
ChatWithVera More than 1 year ago
Fearing the worst situation to be the outcome of a marriage arranged by her abusive stepfather, Tamsen entrusts her well-being to a man she does not know to flee the scene and escape marriage to Ambrose. She and her defender, protector leave North Carolina to The State of Franklin. This is where the history buffs have a bit of fun. Little known history of North Carolina and Tennessee is The State of Franklin which is/was situated in the mountainous area nestled between the two states. This was a rough time in history and men took to arms over seemingly small circumstances. Traveling on horse hundreds of miles and in ill designed clothing for travel (especially the shoes), Tamsen soon hardened to the journey. All was not just traveling difficulties, Tamsen and her protector, Jesse, soon discovered that her stepfather and wealthy suitor were pursuing them. Fear and dread were around every tree and curve for Tamsen. But there were kindnesses here and there along the way, too. Lori Benton's writing and research have made this book a pleasure to read.  And who doesn't love to read of a damsel in distress being rescued and cared for? The story is adventurous with strong characters who hold true to their faith and beliefs. There is sweet romance that stays clean and pure. You feel the soaking rain, the cold, the fear that the characters feel. You see in your mind's eye the beauty of the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains and land. A totally good read. DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, Tamsen enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina....." In September of 1787 Tamsen's journey begins when her mother informs her, "You must marry, Tamsen and soon. Resign yourself to it being a man of Mr. Parrish's choosing. Whatever burdens it may entail your stepfather means to give you a comfortable life." Tamsen agrees to dine with Mr. Kincaid. Looking stunning in her newly crafted dress, she arrives at the tavern with fear gripping her heart. Once she steps in to the establishment Tamsen's "internal screaming ceases," Not an ogre, after all." That is until their evening meal is interrupted by one of Mr. Kincaid's slave. During those brief moments of conversation, Tamsen realizes that she can't go on pretending any longer. Out of concern for Mr. Kincaid's slave, Tamsen voices disapproval. Mr. Kincaid points out to her that the conversation was not of her concern, "Yet I am--and you should be... The people whose lives and bodies you own, those whose burden it is to see to your every need, they are your responsibility to protect.." And with that, Tamsen leaves the tavern and so begins her attempts for freedom. Given a failed attempt in the stable, Tamsen finds herself looking up at Ambrose Kincaid... "Well, now. I've faced down charging bears and starving wolves and murdering Chickamaugas. Reckon the pique of a pretty miss ain't like to daunt me." What would it take to get away? Tamsen never thought that it would be her mother that opens the path to freedom. And yet, when Mr. Parrish shouts, "You are mine, and you will do as you are bid...." Tamsen's world collides with fear and death. As her mother lays sprawled on the hearth, with her blood spilling out of her, Tamsen is told to get herself decent for another meeting with Mr. Kincaid. "Tamsen... get the box...." Running for help from Sim out in the stable, her fear materializes in a tall form coming at her.... "Easy there." Jesse Bird helps her to check on her mother, helps her find a place to hide and provides the escape needed. Their journey is not an easy overland experience. When Jesse meets up with Cade he learns that there is a search party for Tamsen, that Mr. Parrish claimed that his wife was murdered by someone who abducted his daughter, and that Jesse Bird would be the one to hang. Tasmen and Jesse's peace and joy grows stronger with each day, and yet it remains shadowed by the every increasing threat from Mr. Parrish and Mr. Kincaid. Beautiful images of their overland journey allows the seasons to unfold as Tasmen is faced with leaps of faith, learning to rely on scripture for strength, and allowing Jesse's strength in God provide safety for her and those she has begun to love and cherish. "He wasn't easy about the latest turn the hunt for Miss Littlejohn had taken or that Kincaid knew nothing about it...." When two or more are in agreement, there is a promise of hope. With joy, the story unfolds with determined vows that would lead them to a renewal, a retreat for the winter within the safety of a Cherokee village. That blessing of a moment in time to be strengthened and free would prove to be the seed of strength for the final moments leading to the end of Tasmen's pursuit. "Whatever name Jesse chose, he was hers, and she his, and what God had joined together, no man---kin or otherwise---would ever put asunder." Very Satisfying... MrsK Books
dgottreu More than 1 year ago
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton is a great story that is set in the post-revolutionary days of America. Tamsen Littlejohn’s stepfather is trying to force her to marry wealthy Ambrose Kincaid and as a result she decides to leave her home and seek freedom in the unknown West that is located across the mountains of North Carolina. Frontiersman, Jesse Bird, is persuaded by Tamsen to guide her across the mountains to the Watauaga Settlement in Western North Carolina. Tamsen is unaware that she will face trials and hardships that will challenge her faith and her physical endurance. Ambrose thinks that Tamsen has been kidnapped so he enlists the help of her stepfather to help him find Tamsen and bring her back. Even as Tamsen and Jesse face many challenges, she is wondering if maybe this frontier life is what she has been searching for and maybe where God is leading her. Tamsen and Jesse both trust God to see them through all the trials that they will face on their journey. Lori Benton did a superb job in the writing of this book and it is evident that she did a great deal of research into this period in history. When I finished the book, I felt as if I had crossed the mountains and wilderness with Tamsen and Jesse for the author developed their characters and described their travels so well that I was right beside them each step of the way. The storyline had many twist and turns and each one just made the story that more enjoyable. I liked that Tamsen and Jesse stayed true to their beliefs in God and sought His guidance in all that they did. There was also a good bit of suspense and I was not sure how the story was going to end but the ending was great. I would like to see a sequel to this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes a great historical story set in the post-revolutionary days of America. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nettie1 More than 1 year ago
What a perfect name for this story! From the moment I began this book I was mesmerized. Tamsen is a study in the contrasts of a woman’s heart, for she is both vulnerable and strong as well as fearful yet courageous. There is a saying that I dearly love “A woman is like a tea-bag, you never know how strong she is until you get her into hot water” and Tamsen fits this description to a T. As the plot opens up we see that Tamsen’s selfish and cruel step-father plans on taking advantage of Tamsen’s beauty to make a prosperous matrimonial match. He controls her and manipulates her but Tamsen’s fiery spirit urges her to flee…straight into the arms of Jesse Bird, who aids her in escaping her father’s tyranny. Their escape spurs Tamsen’s father and Ambrose, the man intended for her to marry, to pursue her. Jesse Bird is a man who knows the terrain and how to keep them one step ahead of the chase. His heart is drawn to the beautiful, vulnerable woman, who entrusts herself into his care, but knows the depth of his feelings are not reciprocated. Tamsen simply doesn’t see any other option than to trust him for it would be far worse for her to fall back under her father’s control and be forced into a marriage that would imprison her soul.  Lori Benton weaves a beautiful tale of Tamsen’s journey of the heart under Jesse’s wing of protection. He loves her and desires to marry her, but only if Tamsen loves him in return.  Let me assure the potential reader that the author will draw you into their lives in such a way that you will be enthralled with their blossoming relationship. The characters took on flesh and blood for me. The canvas of the story, the author paints, is vast, beautiful and dangerous. I was transported to a different time and place through this story. Ms. Benton does not write a fluffy, feel-good romance but instead she delves into the complexities of the human heart and spirit. The word “pursuit” in this title is revealed in several ways through the course of the book. After I finished I reflected on that word and how it pertained in multiple ways.  I loved this book and I give it my highest recommendation!
TSMathews More than 1 year ago
WOW!! Another outstanding novel by Lori Benton! Lori Benton has once again woven a hauntingly beautiful love story that drew me in from the very beginning.Tamsen Littlejohn is not happy with the fact her cruel stepfather is pushing her into a marriage with a man she knows little about but for her mother's sake she agrees to meet the man. Ambrose Kincaid was not at all what Tamsen was expecting; he was handsome, even if he did have fiery red hair, quite charming with his Virginia accent and he was completely smitten by Tamsen's exquisite beauty. Perhaps this arrangement could have worked out until Tamsen sees what she thinks is Mr. Kincaid's cruelty to his slaves. Thinking he must be made of the same cloth as her abusive step-father she abruptly leaves him in the restaurant and rushes back home. Jesse Bird has heard the story of how he became part of the Shawnee tribe as a small boy but as hard as he tries he cannot remember what happened the day his parents were killed. After losing his adoptive Indian parents at the age of ten, Jesse Bird is taken in by Cade; a man with the blood of two completely different worlds flowing through his veins. Cade has loved Jesse like a son and shared a lot about his past but there is one secret he hasn't shared with Jesse, a secret that will change both of their lives should it come to light. When Tamsen has a deadly altercation with her stepfather she runs to the stable in search of her mother's servants hoping they can help her escape only to run into a Jesse Bird. When Tamsen explains what has happened Jesse makes a life changing decision; somehow he knows that God wants him to help this beautiful young woman. Too bad before this is all said and done he will be a man wanted for kidnapping and murder!! Jesse and Tamsen head for his home in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina only to be pursued by her stepfather and Amboise. It is during that journey Jesse and Tamsen realize that God has planned their destiny and if they keep the faith He will work everything out for their good; but oh the things they will have to endure before they get to live happily ever after!! Last year when I read Lori's debut novel Burning Sky I was impressed with the beauty of her writing and I couldn't believe there was any way she could improve upon it. But when I started reading this latest treasure I was awestruck by the fact that what seemed impossible had happened. This book blew me away with how fast I was pulled into it; it was so engrossing I found I had read 63 pages before I even realized it. It has been quite a while since I read a book of this length in less than two days! Oh the emotions that were stirred while I was reading this; there was joy and amazement all the way to horror and unbelief and back again to laughter and satisfaction at the most enthralling ending! This should be at the top of everyone's wish list for 2014; I promise you will not be disappointed. Thanks Lori for a story that has forever found a special place in my heart.
mustlovetoread More than 1 year ago
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn By: Lori Benton A very satisfying read! From start to finish, I was drawn into the story, the characters, the setting. I look forward to reading more books by Lori Benton! Tamsen Littlejohn is being forced by her stepfather to marry Ambrose Kincaid. Tamsen does not love him and decides to run away with the help of Jesse Bird. How far will they have to run? How will their life be changed by decisions made beyond their control? Jesse Bird doesn’t remember his mother and father. Shawnee Indians raised him until the man he calls Pa, Cade, takes him away. Why are they always on the run? Can they ever settle down? When Jesse meets Tamsen, he starts thinking of getting a farm. Can Tamsen come to love someone like Jesse? The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a great story! The descriptions pull you into the story and you don’t want to stop reading. From murder, to pursuit, to revealing family secrets, Tamsen Littlejohn will not be soon forgotten.
Writingsof_Rosie More than 1 year ago
Wow! The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is Lori Benson's sophomore novel, but it is my first novel I've read by her. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Generally I don't go for novels set in the late 1700s, but knowing Benton's debut was highly praised, I snatched up the chance to review it. Goodness, I'm glad I did! Benson's writing style is so fluid and the effort she put into research is obvious- but the information isn't shoved in your face. It was presented as the need arose. There are so many reasons I adored Tamsen and Jesse, but I'll only mention a few each. I'll start with Tamsen. That girl is so strong! And I'm not talking about physical prowess here. She may have felt in shambles, or even like porcelain, for a couple weeks but she persevered. She never gave up. Jesse was a perfect hero. No, I don't mean his character wasn't flawed but the guy had his priorities straight. He was willing to give up Tamsen if God told him to. I love the trust he expressed and willingness to follow God's will. All I can really say is: wow. I will definitely be going back and reading Burning Sky in the near future, no questions asked. Benton has an addictive style writing that captivates you until the last page. This one's a keeper! I recommend to readers ages fifteen and older who enjoy the late 1700s American setting. I also recommend to those looking for an inspirational read. I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!