Sunday, January 26, 2020

Review: "An Uncommon Woman" by Laura Frantz

For a few years now, I've been hearing about Laura Frantz's books, but I'll be honest: I'm generally not a fan of 18th century-era fiction. But I finally decided to take the plunge with An Uncommon Woman, and now I understand what all the fuss is about!

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

This is a beautiful novel about life on the frontier in the 1700s. The descriptions were so vivid that I felt almost as though I was watching a movie, rather than reading a book. And Frantz brought out issues I'd never before considered, such as the speed at which marriage and remarriage took place and the difficulty that many of the Indians' captives had in readjusting to life in the white man's world. This book is a history lesson wrapped in a wonderful love story.

All of the characters felt fully fleshed out, and I especially loved Tessa, her brother Ross, and Keturah. In fact, wouldn't a story about Keturah be fascinating? (Once you read this book, you'll understand why—so much of Keturah's story remains to be told.)

I only have two complaints: the ending seemed a little abrupt to me (I turned the final page expecting the story to continue and was quite surprised to find I'd reached the end), and the back cover copy gives away too much (when it references an event that doesn't happen until 3/4 of the way through the novel, I think a better choice would be to leave off that information). But those are very minor things in comparison to the beauty of this novel—and if you don't read the description/cover copy, the second thing won't trip you up. I really loved An Uncommon Woman, and I'll definitely be checking out more from Frantz. 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.

Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links, which means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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