I’ll admit it.
My expectations were high.
I had fallen completely and thoroughly into the world she created in the first book in the series, Love’s Reckoning, last September (you can read my review here) and have been eagerly waiting for more of the story to unfold.
Love’s Awakening did not disappoint.
In Love’s Awakening, we meet Ellie Ballantyne, the youngest daughter of Silas and Eden Ballantyne, as she’s returning home from finishing school. She’s young, beautiful, worth a fortune, and not interested in marrying the man everyone thinks she should.
I loved Ellie. Full of spunk and determination. Tired of being the baby. Ready to find her way in the world. Totally unprepared to fall in love with the one man her parents would never approve of.
Oh. Did I forget to mention him?
Jack Turlock is the son of a whiskey magnate with a reputation for being a scoundrel. But Jack’s growing up and becoming his own man. A man who doesn’t agree with his father’s treatment of slaves, or his business tactics. A man who doesn’t share his family’s hatred of the Ballantyne’s.
Especially not Ellie.
Love’s Awakening is set against the backdrop of Pittsburgh in the early 1800s. A time when slaves making their way to freedom in the North had to pass through Pennsylvania. A state that—laws on the books notwithstanding—still had slaveholders as late as the 1840s.
Laura Frantz doesn’t shy away from the grim realities of that era. The horrific treatment of slaves, the desperation for freedom, the dangers of every day life.
Of course, some truths transcend time and place. The high cost of doing what’s right. The way some families are a place of shelter and hope, while others are places of turmoil and destruction. The way love can and does transform hearts.
The super fine print: I received a free copy of Love’s Awakening in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.