Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier

Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier

by Lori Benton
4.8 15

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Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
NikeChillemi More than 1 year ago
BURNING SKY by Lori Benton is a captivating historical epic novel set in the post-Revolutionary War era. This debut novel won the Grace Awards 2013 in the Action-Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction category. The novel's historical accuracy is obvious, as well as the author's knowledge of the Native American tribes then living in New York State. The author's expressive prose paints a vibrant picture of life at that time. This novel would be a valuable addition to any homeschooling curriculum. Ms. Benton moves the characters from one element of the story to the next with great skill. The author did a superb job when Burning Sky, who had been captured as a young lass by northern New York State tribes, returns home to her family’s cabin and transitions back to thinking and speaking more and more in English as she tries to resume her former identity as Willa Obenchein. She is stunned to find her family's cabin empty, abandoned, and in disrepair. She's even more stunned to find some have called into question her parents loyalty to the colonial-cause during the war. She's a woman caught between two worlds. Though not surprised when some settlers treated her with open hostility, it instills fear in her and increases her wariness. She is the type of character the reader cares about from page one. Willa has experienced a number of losses throughout her life, most significantly, the death of the two children she bore to her deceased Native American husband. She is determined to guard her heart and keep it closed to avoid getting hurt again. However, hard she tries to shut herself off from emotional entanglements, she finds life will have its way. The characters, even the secondary and minor ones, feel believable and authentic to the period. Many of whom bear deep and painful scars due to the brutal battles on the frontier, with both the British and Americans having committed atrocities. This is a multi-faceted novel presenting a story of bitterness, suspicion, and determination that turns into one of love, forgiveness, and restoration. Neil MacGregor and Joseph Tames His Horse, two very different men, with dissimilar strengths, both devout Christians, vie for the love of Willa/Burning Sky. The portrayal of Neil's strength through his deep faith was done superbly, without even the slightest hint of preaching, and was organic to the story. The author does a marvelous job keeping the reader guessing how this love-triangle will turn out. The villains are not stereotypes, but rather are well fleshed out. One of them skillfully and horrifically manipulates events. While his younger brother, who has developmental challenges, is a touching character crafted with depth. I highly recommend this book to readers from age fourteen to one-hundred and fourteen.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
What an amazing story, so powerfully told, weaving in the threads of history from the frontier of New York set in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. The characters felt so real, drawing you into their struggles, joys and heartaches, and rejoicing in their triumphs. I didn't want it to end. This is one book not to be missed!
KPow1 More than 1 year ago
This book has it all: Rich historical detail, beautiful settings, lyrical writing, realistic and detailed characters, mystery, and a captivating plot. I liked the historical details that LB blended into the story. She made the story informative and entertaining. The story had me thinking a lot about what was right and wrong in the way the European Americans, the British, and the Native Americans interacted with each other. I think it is described best by this quote from the story: "after the war we've come through, we are none of us innocent." The setting is beautiful and LB describes it so well. I was experiencing the story along with the characters. The characters really swept me away also. I really like how LB makes even the villain someone to sympathize with. He is not a generic villain with no personality, he is a wounded man with a disturbed mind. I also like how LB makes me like both of the men who are competing for Willa's love. Both are honorable, god-fearing men and I wasn't sure which one I liked best at first.
ACS_Book_Blogger More than 1 year ago
Willa Obenchian was abducted by the Mohawk Indians at age fourteen. Her only choice was to become part of their clan and accept her new life. She meets a young Indian named Tames-His-Horse who is a Christian. Through his friendship her faith in God is rekindled. She was given the name Burning Sky and was married to one of the Indians in the clan. Willa became a part of the clan and was willing to stay there the rest of her life. Willa and her husband have two girls and her life feels complete. The Revolutionary War starts and her husband and other men from the clan go to fight. Willa's husband ends up being killed. Not long after this an outbreak of the small pox hits her clan. The ones in the clan that were healthy decided it was best to leave and go to a new settlement. Willa's two girls got the small pox so they stayed back. After a few weeks her girls did not get better. They both died. Instead of going to find the Indian clan she went back to her parents house in Shiloh. On her way there she comes across a man who is injured. She decides to help him to her cabin and there she takes care of his injuries. She finds out his is a Scotsman, named Neil MacGregor. When she returns to her parents house it is empty. One of her child hood friends,Anni and her brother Richard, stop by her house one day and inform her that once the war with the British began her parents were accused of being Tories. Richard is full of hatred for any one that would side with the British. He is also upset with the way that Willa had changed to become part of her Indian clan. Richard then decides that she doesn't deserve her parents land and goes out of his way to get the deed to the land. Willa is not willing to give up her parents land. This makes Richard mad. He tries to burn her land down twice and the second time he burns her cabin. Through the help of Neil MacGregor and a distant relative of Willa's she is able to keep her land. (Reviewed by S.Wall) DISCLOSURE: A copy of Burning Sky was provided by the Blogging for Books review program for Waterbrook Press on behalf of the author for the sole purpose of an honest review. No compensation was received for this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
The characters in this book are awesome! Willa Obenchain (aka Burning Sky) is a complex character because of the life she had to live. Taken at a young age by Mohawk Indians, she did what she had to in order to survive. She adapted to their way of life, never forgetting her heritage. So when all was lost to her, she decides to go back to the "white world" only to discover everyone she loved is gone. "I am the place where two rivers meet, sitled with upheaval and loss." - Willa Obenchain Neil MacGregor, despite his past, does not treat Willa like she's less than human (as some folks do because of her time with the Indians). Instead, he shows her kindness, compassion, and love. Is she willing to open her heart to him? The story was good. I think I would have enjoyed it so much better had I not just finished a very similar book. It was also a little long, but not enough to lose my interest completely. At one point, I caught myself saying "how much more can this poor woman go through?!" I believe even the slow parts were necessary in order to understand each character and the situation at hand. The author did a great job in describing the time period, effects of the war, and the characters actions as related to their situations. The message was one of trust. As Neil MacGregor, in his Scottish barogue states: "Dinna put your trust in men - not foremost. Men will come and go from your life, even those you love, some before you're ready to see them go. But I'll tell you this I've learnt: the Almighty loves you more than any man could, and He willna forsake ye. Not ever." Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I wish I would have read it at a later date, rather than right after another book with a similar plot. I would still recommend it to anyone! **I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
Apassion4pages More than 1 year ago
I haven't LOVED a debut novel as much as Burning Sky in a long time. Burning Sky isn't your normal kind of book. I think I knew this before even reading it, simply from what I'd heard about it... and likely the strange undeniable draw I had to a book named simply after its heroine. I'm not sure what to say. I spent two days straight reading this book. I stayed up until 2am on a Saturday night to finish it--despite the fact that I'd been more tired lately than I'd ever been (due to being at the near end of my first trimester), and that I had to get up early for church the following morning. This tired momma didn't care. I just needed to keep reading. Burning Sky also included one of the best written Reader's Guides I've ever come across. Maybe it had to do with the deep places the author's characters had taken my heart along the way, but whatever the reason, it was perfect. Read it as well. You will not be disappointed. Every word, every character and every emotion were just as I would have chosen myself... they were so true, so perfectly situated... Now I just feel like I'm babbling on and on... but really, days later, my heart is still so full of Burning Sky/Wilhelmina Oberchain, Joseph Tame-His-Horse and Neil MacGregor and the way their paths were entangled and intertwined to bring about God's best for their lives. Like I said, I suspect that this book is going to be hard to top for a long, long while.
Savurbks More than 1 year ago
Captured by Mohawk Indians at the age of fourteen, Willa Obenchain (aka Burning Sky) must learn to adapt to her new way of life to survive with the People. Upon finally returning home several years later, Willa finds many things have changed in her absence including her parents, the family homestead, her dear friends, her own heart, faith in God, and feelings towards “savages” affected by war. Toss into the mix a botanist, a Mohawk brother, Cap the collie, and several other characters and the story only gets more complex and interesting. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.” A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS: Wow. As a debut novel, this story was very well done. The imagery of the frontier portrayed was definite and precise (the author was originally an artist), the amount of history knowledge included was impressive, and the story line just kept the pages turning, culminating in an intense finish. I was drawn to this book by the cover, then the back-cover description, and now laud it for the content. Though not an easy and quick read, this novel is definitely worth the time to discover and absorb the entire book. I sincerely hope the author, Lori Benton, is working on another novel already as I will be watching and waiting for it. RATING: 5 (out of 5) pennies *I received a complimentary copy of Burning Sky from WaterBrook Press for my honest review*
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
What a novel to debut with! Burning Sky is a deep, powerful journey back in time to the tumultuous years after the American Revolution. Burning Sky is the Mowhawk name that was given to Willa Obenchain, who was stolen from her family twelve years before the start of this book. Willa built a life with the Mowhawks, but when she loses everything and decides to travel back to her original home, will she be able to make a life again amongst people who feel they have been terrorized by the very people she learned to call family? Willa takes in a man named Neil MacGregor when she finds him injured on the border of her family's land. Neil is originally from Scotland and is a botanist sent to document the flora and fauna of the west. Willa is a strong, yet traumatized woman. Neil unleashes feelings in her that she is not ready to face. Will she ever be able to let her guard down? Neil has his own struggles to overcome. Will he be able to determine what God really wants for his life? This novel is full of beautiful imagery and offers the reader a window into another time. The distrust that Willa, the two children in her care, and Willa's adoptive Mowhawk brother face is intense. I really enjoyed the author's writing style. I felt totally immersed in the time period and very invested in the lives of the characters. I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
booksandwindows More than 1 year ago
.“She was adrift between two lives, unable to grieve. Unable to hope.” (62) The beauty and richness of this story will grab a hold of you and not let go until far beyond the last page. Willa has endured so much pain and loss in her life. At the age of 14, she was taken from her family by Mohawk Indians. After adjusting, Willa lived a full life with her new family. Twelve years later, her family has been ripped from her again, and Willa finds herself at a crossroads: where does she belong? She has had two families. Torn from both, belonging to neither, and caught between both, Willa must find a way to continue on alone. The pain she has suffered has made her stronger, but her past has taught her to be cautious with her heart and not risk it again. She has closed her heart off to protect herself from any further pain in her life. This book is her journey of not only finding where she belongs, but also of learning to open her heart to love, despite the risk. The book opens when Willa returns to the land of her parents. As Willa’s story is slowly revealed, the reader learns about the things she has endured. On the journey she takes in this book, there are three central characters in Willa’s life that, in a way, represent the three phases of her life. -First, there is Richard Waring, who she knew in her childhood. Before she was taken, Richard had intentions to marry Willa. Now, he is a hardened man, bitter and angry from war and the things he has seen. -The next man in her life, Joseph Tames-His-Horse, has been a close friend to Willa since she was adopted into the Mohawk tribe. He is a strong, loyal man who wants to protect and provide for her. They have unspoken feelings for each other, however, because they are in the same clan, he is considered her brother. -Third is Neil MacGregor, whom Willa finds on the side of the road, injured and unconscious.  Willa takes care of him as she tries to readjust to the life she left long ago. Neil is a botanist and a doctor who is passionate about discovering new plants, but an accident has impaired his ability to read and write. Whereas the other two men know her from one of her previous “lives”, Neil knows Willa as she is now, fragmented and broken from her past. This novel is a lengthy read, however, it is well worth your time. The plot is both intricate and well thought-out, which makes for a captivating and satisfying read. Toward the end of the book, many loose ends remain, but I was pleasantly surprised to read how everything unfolded, and it came together quite nicely. All the questions that you will have while reading the book will be answered by the end, and I found myself happy with the ending. (I have to say, Willa does not choose the man I wanted her to choose, however, I think the ending was very fitting for the story.) *I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review.*
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Burning Sky was Willa Obenchain’s Mohawk name when she was adopted into a new family, replacing a daughter lost to war. Lori Benton’s novel, Burning Sky, set entirely in the white world Willa returns to-- the New York Frontier in the 1780s-- sings with echoes of Willa’s life as Burning Sky, offering a wealth of different viewpoints on the wars and traditions of the time. Willa’s parents have gone missing and are accused of having supported Britain in the war. Willa’s friends are fiercely American. Willa’s brother is Mohawk. And the wounded young man that she cares for is purely and convincingly Scots. Left lonely by fate, Willa longs now to be left alone by all. But strangers keep coming to her door, to help or hinder her. The past, neither her life before abduction, nor her life as Burning Sky, refuses to lie down, and everyone else seems determined to decide her future for her. Once, a young man quoted the Bible to Willa and gave her comfort. Now she bends to comfort everyone else while her own life falls apart. Meanwhile another young man quotes the Bible to a child and struggles to understand what God wants of him. What God wants for us all is good, though the path may twist and turn. And Burning Sky is a thoroughly enjoyable novel, balancing faith with action, romance with drama, Bible quotes with beautifully rendered Mohawk dialog, and history with honesty. I really enjoyed it. Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Ashley_22 More than 1 year ago
Willa Obenchain was taken by the Mohawk indians when she was a child. She lived with them for over a decade but after losing her children & husband decided to return to the land her birth parents owned. On her way there she finds Neil Macgregor, who is badly injured, and takes him with her to the cabin on here parents land. She returns to find her parents are gone and the land is up for auction. Through Willa's journey she fights strong feelings for Neil and fights to have the land her parents owned back.. This book is amazing. It's hard to put down. I would recommend it to anyone who loves book about the Indians.. *I recieved this book free from Waterbrook for my review.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful treat awaits the reader of Burning Sky by Lori Benton. Her magnificent way with words provides a feast for both mind and heart. Fascinating characters face daunting social problems in their swatch of history. As they struggle for solutions, the reader gets a peek of answers as pertinent to today’s issues as they were in the past. A rewarding read awaits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly beautiful story, Burning Sky will sweep you away to the 18th century New York frontier, touch your heart, and befriend you with characters who stay with you long after you read the final page…at least it did for me. I volunteered to receive an ARC and share with others about the story, but I would have wanted to purchase this book regardless, between the beautifully written sneak peek I saw online and the Native American thread which runs so close to my heart. Lori Benton is a truly gifted writer, and we will be hearing more of her. I greatly look forward to her future novels!The story follows the struggles, heartaches, and triumphs of three wonderfully developed characters—Willa Obenchain, taken hostage by the Mohawk as a young girl and adopted into one of their clans, and just now returned to her birth family’s land; Joseph Tames-His-Horse, her Mohawk clan brother with a heart for God, his people, and the helpless; and Dr. Neil MacGregor, the Scottish botanist wounded in body, yet with such a tender heart toward God and others, including those different from himself. I loved how the characters’ faith journeys came so natural and real; I’ve never known a verse Scripture to be woven through a story so deeply and seamlessly as Isaiah 42:3 in this one. It’s one of the bits that stayed with me the most after reading this book.Highly recommended for lovers of accurate historical fiction and thoughtful story with depth and heart.
CarrieP More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC.  I cannot imagine what they could have changed from the ARC that would have improved the book. Nor am I under compulsion to give this book a positive review—but I'd dare them to stop me from doing so as I loved this story! This book will or should win awards next year. Wilhemina “Willa” Obenchain was a 14-year-old girl living in a community in upstate NewYork when she was kidnapped and taken in by the Mohawks. She married and had two children but her family is now gone and she has walked all the way back to her family home only to find no one there—that is except a wounded man, and his dog. What a beautiful tale that meanders at a perfect pace. The repercussions of war are felt by all. Willa’s Mohawk “brother” who has more than sibling affection for her still hunts deserters for the British and there is one hiding in Willa’s community.  Willa’s old sweetheart, Richard, who pursued the kidnapped girl for months, his hopes destroyed. Now an embittered man whose soul has been lost in his anger and bitterness at the loss of innocent Willa, the girl he loved, and now comes face-to-face with Willa the survivor, widow of a Mohawk and mother of two deceased metis children. Lori Benton also incorporated a special sweet character, a young man who may be autistic. God brings Willa full circle.  While she has lost everything she regains much. Excellent pacing and a book you’ll have a hard time putting down. And a very satisfying ending, which I love! While this lovely book has a strong literary feel to it, Lori Benton doesn’t pull any literary “gimmicks” that I’ve seen in other books that have off-put me from finishing the story.  Rather, she seamlessly weaves a literary book with a broad appeal to historical and romance readers in both inspirational and I believe in the secular market as well. Bravo, Lori!
RebeccaDeMarino More than 1 year ago
Burning Sky is the story of a young woman, kidnapped as a child by the Mohawk clan in 18th century New York. In the aftermath of the American Revolution, torn between two cultures, she journeys back to a home dim in her memory. Ms. Benton's blend of faith and humanity, love and passion creates characters of such depth that they leave the page and live in your soul. She captures the rich historical detail of the beginnings of our nation with a tale that captivates and intrigues the reader. Be prepared for characters that will claim your heart, romance that will warm it and a story you cannot put down. Cheers to this new author who entertains, enlightens, and inspires! Lori Benton has an uncommon capacity to bring the characters from the page directly into your soul and leave you with a story so satisfying you will not want the story to end. I look forward to more novels from this unforgettable new author!