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Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz
Revell, 01 September 2012

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege’s daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other’s jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. Love’s Reckoning is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.


Love’s Reckoning is the first book in The Ballantyne Legacy. Here we meet Silas Ballantyne, an older-than-usual apprentice blacksmith who has come to the household of Leige Lee to finish his training. Liege Lee is an unpopular man with two daughters – Eden and Elspeth, who are as different as night and day, and Liege is determined that Silas marry one of them.
As always, Laura’s writing is beautiful and elegant, painting pictures with words and making reading effortless.  Love’s Reckoning is a slower paced novel, best savoured in languid chunks of time.  There is plenty of mystery, and secrets are rife – some made plain to the reader, and some a complete surprise.
Eden and Silas are quieter characters.  Eden’s strength is evident through her persistent and enduring nature. Silas is a man who will not be deterred from his values or his plans.  His heroism is defined by his steadiness as opposed to dramatic gestures.
There are some nasty characters in Love’s Reckoning.  Elspeth is a spiteful piece of work.  Her viciousness shocked and riled me!  I feel like she may have gotten off a little too easy.  But when I read the epilogue, a shiver ran down my spine.  I have a feeling she hasn’t been completely dealt with yet.  I’ll have to wait and see what the next book has in store.
Love’s Reckoning is a slow building love story, written against a backdrop of secrets and punctuated with heartbreaking tragedies.  I particularly liked the beautiful romance between Eden and God – her thirst for God’s word and His love are touching.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the Ballantyne Legacy takes us.