Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don’t seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future–and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family’s violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?
Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love, loyalty, and the makings of a legacy. With rich descriptions of the people who settled and civilized a wild landscape, Frantz weaves a tapestry of characters and places that stick with the reader long after they turn the last page.
What I loved about this book: the setting, the premise, the love story. The setting was flawlessly written like only Ms. Frantz can right. Her historical facts were presented in such a way that I didn’t feel like there was some public service announcement highlighting to me what was important. I was able to learn so much about a young Pittsburgh without feeling like I’ve been in school. And yes, Silas and Eden are in this book, and there presence is like a breath of fresh air. Loved them! The premise. Who doesn’t love a good Romeo and Juliet story and without the silly premature deaths? I really liked the whole forbidden Turlocks and the wealthy Ballantynes set up. It’s what I was looking forward to reading about the whole time and Ms. Frantz really delivered. And then there is the love story. Every time Jack and Ellie were on the pages it was like time froze. Ms Frantz can really capture a lot in subtle moments. I must say, I really liked both Jack and Ellie. Jack was kind of a different hero for Ms. Frantz, as he was a bit rough around the edges and had no connection with the things of God, but I still found myself loving him just the same. Ellie just seemed to epitomize grace. In other words, they were perfect for each other.
What I didn’t like as much: not enough Jack and Ellie. They fell in love kind of quick for me (either that or I just wanted more of them). Because so much of their relationship was surrounded by other things (i.e. Ellie tutoring Chloe) I felt like they didn’t spend that much time with just them two together.
Also, there is a lot going on. Ellie has several siblings and they each kind of have a little story being told in the wings. I found some siblings more interesting than others, and so I had the urge to skip when certain people were on the page. And, lastly…there’s a lot going on in this book.
Spiritually, I liked watching Jack’s awakening to the things of God. It was handled really nicely and I liked that Ellie is a woman of prayer. The spiritual aspect of the novel unfolds beautifully. Looking forward to the next one!
Romantic Scale: 7