“Love’s Fortune” by Laura Frantz – Revell Reads Blog Tour

Have I mentioned that Laura Frantz is a favorite author of mine? No? Well, read my recent review of Love’s Awakeningthen, to see more of why I love her stories. Her latest, Love’s Fortune, is just as epic and beautiful. It’s the third and final book in the “Ballantyne Legacy” series. It follows the story of Ansel’s daughter, Rowena “Wren” Ballantyne.

Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz

Isn’t this cover just breathtaking? I love the rich autumn hues.

Plot Synopsis from Goodreads: Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas’s vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world–filled with family members she’s never met, dances she’s never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes’ shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.

Wren is caught between a new family she loves dearly and the expectations that come with society –including a “season” with suitors. Unlike Ellie in the previous book, Wren doesn’t have a strong sense of her place in the Ballantyne family. She’s grown up as an outsider, so experiencing life with the Ballantynes — and the reputation that follows — is new and daunting. In addition, the lavish lifestyle of others in Pittsburgh makes her uncomfortable.

As she struggles to reconcile her new surroundings with what she knows of her father’s history, she finds some comfort in the companionship she shares with James. He, however, is caught up in perilous situations as his role working for Silas brings risk and new enemies. Because he’s afraid open his heart to Wren, another potential suitor comes on the scene, railroad magnate Malachi Cameron, causing Wren to question her destiny of finding love or fulfilling her responsibilities as a Ballantyne. (I’ll say no more about the romance element of the story — you’ll have to just read it for yourself! Laura definitely leaves you wondering which man she’ll choose…)

I thought the setting in pre-Civil War Pittsburgh unique and interesting, with the industry there, balls, concerts, and large mansions and homeplaces also in Love’s Awakening. This book is a good conclusion to this series, answering little questions I had about the characters from the previous story. Ultimately, the story illustrated the importance of following God’s path for your heart and life. And, trusting that His protection is there even when we feel vulnerable or confused. With this series finished, I’m eager to see what’s next from Laura!

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Revell!

What have you been reading lately?



Review: Love’s Awakening by Laura Frantz

This spring I was privileged to be a part of the final judges for the “historical romance” category of the INSPY awards- a reader- and blogger- nominated inspirational fiction award.  We judges had the daunting task of reading the top 5 titles and collectively choosing a winner for that category. This is the first of the reviews I’ll be posting from those 5 books.

This is a review of Laura Frantz’s Love’s Awakening, the second book in her “Ballantyne Legacy” series. Though this book didn’t win  (the top 5 were all EXCELLENT in their own rights), it was deservedly in the top picks, and it has found its way to my favorites shelf.
Love's Awakening

Summary from Goodreads:

In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburg 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

My thoughts:

The storyline of two would-be romantic interests caught between rival families is nothing new, but I thought it was presented in a very interesting way with the backdrop of his whiskey industry family and her family’s secret activities (I really want to expound here on her family and what they are involved in, but I don’t want to give anything away. You’ll have to read it for yourself to find out the mystery!). Also, the romance element was perfectly developed between Ellie and Jack- not as swift and cliché as some in this genre, which was refreshing. There are a few surprises and twists to the storyline, too, which kept me wondering how it would end.

As I’ve said before, I really love little quotes or verses some authors include at the beginning of each chapter. Laura includes them in this series, and I think they really add another layer to the story – a point to ponder when reading the chapter.

In my opinion, the spiritual themes of this story were that God sustains and provides. It illustrated that it’s not always easy to follow Him, that he doesn’t always show us a clear path, but He knows what He’s doing. With these themes and complex characters, this story presents layers of feeling and family that transport you back to the early 1800s.

I’m currently reading Love’s Fortune, the third in this series, by Laura. I’ll be reviewing it very soon — I can’t wait to share with you my thoughts on the next generation of Ballantynes!

Find out more about author Laura Frantz at her website, Facebook page, or my personal favorite — her Pinterest page.

Have you read any of Laura Frantz’s work? What are your thoughts on this era?

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a complimentary copy of Love’s Awakening to review for the INSPYs! This review is my honest opinion.