Love’s Awakening by Laura Frantz
Revell, 15 September 2013

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?
Love’s Awakening is book two in Laura Frantz’s Ballantyne Legacy series.  After Silas and Eden get their happy ending at the close of Love’s Reckoning, we now meet their lovely youngest daughter, Ellie.
As the youngest daughter, Ellie has been sheltered from a lot of the hard work that goes into running their family’s estate and businesses.  She returns home from finishing school and seeks to find a place for herself in the family life.  Along the way she discovers her family’s abolitionist involvement and unwillingly engages her heart with Jack, whose family represent everything her own family is against.
I loved Ellie – she’s sweet and gentile, but there’s something fresh and new about her.  Jack … well, it’s hard to resist a man with a dark past who is driven to goodness with the help of a good woman.  He’s a hardworking manly man and this is a perfect compliment to Ellie’s ladylike ways.  Family, dangers and secrets stand in the way of their love.
Compared to Love’s Reckoning, Love’s Awakening is much lighter in tone and interestingly, isn’t as heavy with scripture references.  I came to like Silas even more in this book – he is a strong and loving husband and father.
I always love learning when I read historical fiction, and this book delivered me a fine history lesson.  I was captivated by the plight of the slaves, the obstacles they faced and the amazing people who helped them along the way.
Laura’s writing draws you into the period and immerses you in the lives of the characters.  Love’s Awakening left me with plenty to wonder about in the next book, which I very much look forward to!