When I first read the description of “Love’s Awakening” I opened it somewhat expecting a retelling of the story of Romeo and Juliet or perhaps even the Hatfields and McCoys. I am pleased to say that neither situation transpired – no tragic deaths of star-crossed lovers or the violent fighting of feuding mountain families. However, there is a bit of violence but it is not graphic – it is mostly described after the fact. And there is a romance between the two predominant characters that seems doomed from the start.

Compared to previous novels by Laura Frantz, “Love’s Awakening” may move at a slower pace but it certainly has some action filled moments. Heroine Ellie Ballantyne is a sweet and innocent young woman with a backbone of steel that develops as her story progresses. I liked the way she learned to stand up for her dreams and beliefs and to fight for love rather than settling for security and society’s approval. Jack Turlock is the perfect hero. Viewed by most as a rogue, primarily because of the actions of his whiskey making family who have been known to resort to most anything to get ahead including suspected murder. Jack finds himself in love with Ellie but knows that there is no way her family would allow her to even be seen with a Turlock. He hates what his father and brother stand for but has no hope he can ever escape the family reputation.

Jam-packed with an abundance of historical facts, “Love’s Awakening” offers the reader an intimate look inside the lives of a family willing to risk everything to assist slaves to freedom. The highly volatile feelings between the abolitionists and those who favored slavery were vividly portrayed. The remarkable plot incorporates a wide range of emotions including anger, humor, grief, love, hate, and forgiveness. A prevalent theme is that a person does not have to be defined by his family or circumstances but by his own actions and by following the plan that God has for his life.

As with all Laura’s previous novels, I enjoyed “Love’s Awakening” and highly recommend it to those who love American historical fiction.

This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Love's AwakeningThe 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.

Read an excerpt from Love’s Awakening HERE.

“Frantz’s in-depth historical research combines with her fascinating characters to create a gripping romance that kept me turning pages late into the night. I highly recommend Love’s Awakening. It is a rare find.”–Serena B. Miller, RITA Award-winning author of The Measure of Katie Calloway

In the second installment of the Ballantyne Legacy series, we are reunited with familiar characters from the first book and introduced to some new ones. Frantz’s family saga is a rare treat for fans that will stay with readers long after they finish. –RT Reviews


Laura FrantzLaura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel’s Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.

Learn more about Laura and her books HERE.