The term pursuit is apt for this historical fiction romance because it describes the many facets of the story's events, beginning with the first chapters.
In spite of her pampered background, Tamsen was not the type of woman to allow others to take her over and control her. She wanted a voice in her destiny, contrary to the custom of the day. So when her stepfather arranged a suitor for her, she would not cooperate with the arrangement unless she wanted to. Her stepfather only cared for his own gain, without thought to Tamsen's welfare. After only one meeting with Ambrose Kincaid, plantation owner, she saw only entrapment and decided to flee the village of Morganton as soon as possible. She would have done it sooner but for her mother. It was not soon enough to escape her stepfather's cruelty to her mother. In a fit of rage, he struck her mother down in Tamsen's presence. Horror stricken, she fled with the aid of a young man she'd met briefly in the stables.
Jesse Bird and his pa, Cade, were rugged men of the North Carolina mountains--trappers, drovers, hunters, wagon train guides, sometimes wanderers. They'd arrived in Morganton at the tail end of a cattle drive and were soon to embark on a trek out west guiding a group of settlers. Jesse caught a fleeting glimpse of Tamsen in town and was struck by her beauty. It was no wonder when she asked him to help her escape a day later that he was ready to move the world for her.
It was a good thing Jesse and his pa were Godly men with principles. Jesse knew exactly what to do. Cade would guide the wagon train while Jesse traveled a parallel but lesser known trace to avoid being seen. Tamsen, grief stricken about her mother's cruel death and the abrupt circumstances depended completely on their good will. It was unfortunate then, when they encountered Charlie Spencer, a trapper on the trail with his pack mules who stopped to talk with them. Jesse claimed they were a newly wed couple, but Charlie didn't think Tamsen looked like a blushing bride. She looked haggard. And once Charlie arrived in Morganton, he learned what he thought was the truth, that Tamsen had been abducted by her mother's murderer. The trapper agreed to guide Tamsen's stepfather and her would-be suitor in the search for her. The pursuit was on.
While this book is a historical fiction romance, the history by no means overtakes the major plot, Tamsen's escape from her stepfather. The history is interesting, plays an important role in both aiding and thwarting the trio's efforts to find a refuge. I enjoyed that element of the story because I had never heard of the state of Franklin and the struggles in the Carolinas of the late 18th century before reading this book. I so much appreciate the research the author put into it, especially for the tidbits that made this book come alive. The author also included an Author's Notes and Acknowledgments section at the back of the book detailing her research. I enjoy this as much as I love commentaries on my favorite movies. More authors should include this in their writings.
In this book there is more than one type of pursuit within its pages. The first is obvious and accounts for the exciting action. The second is the romance developing between Jesse Bird and Tamsen. Jesse believed she was the one for him, sanctioned even by God. From the first day of their flight, he was determined win her trust and convince her of his dependability to care for her. The author didn't portray Jesse as a perfect man. He knew his failings. You can't help but admire his patience and determination, his strength of character and his skills. The development of their relationship from rescuer/damsel-in-distress, to companions, to romance is a lovely story in and of itself. I came to care for these characters, even the mysterious Cade.
Finally, the author provides a twist of circumstances at the end that I had not anticipated. While this is secondary to the main resolution of the story, it provides a very satisfying conclusion with a touch of irony. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction romances. This book has much to offer.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books on behalf of Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I swear this author has a time machine and travels back to the 18th century at will just so she can get all the details right. There isn't any other explanation for the rich, evocative text that creates the ambiance of another world. The scents, the sounds, the very feel of the air...I became immersed in the story from the very first page. What an incredibly rich, captivating read.
The time period is fascinating and not as popular in historical romance so that alone makes it a refreshing read. I'm beginning to appreciate the early colonists even more than the pioneers thanks to this author in particular.
There is an intricate balance in Benton's storytelling -- her distinctive voice blends faith, drama and humour into an enticing package that makes it hard to put down. A complex story, deep characterization and more than one startling plot surprise kept me eagerly turning pages.
And the romance -- oh my! Toe-curling, swoonworthy and heart palpitating! A definite must read for historical romance lovers.
From the first page of this book, I was captured by the story. Lori Benton is an amazing story-teller. Though there were parts in the middle that lagged a bit for me, I still enjoyed this book immensely. Tamsen's struggles and her pursuers, good and bad, made for an interesting plot line. As we move toward the end of the book, the story picks up with action, danger, and a love story that I found completely enjoyable.
Both Tamsen and Jesse face trials of their own, as well as trials together, which brought depth to each character. At the beginning of the story, we meet Tamsen, who is struggling to come to terms with who she is and what she's meant to become. Throughout the book, we see the choices she makes shaping the woman she will become. Jesse, whose story is unique, is an honorable man bent on protecting the woman he loved at first sight. Their romance was slow in coming, but sweet none the less.
There were many deep and exacting truths portrayed throughout the book. The main thought, in my opinion, is well summed up by this quote (don't worry, I took out the parts that give away the plot!): "But in time God will work even the worst things men do to us for our lasting good. Eternal good. Trust in the Almighty, in His love for you, and you'll have no need to dread anything He allows to befall you. For with a test, a trial, He gives an equal measure of grace to bear it and the comfort of His fellowship as He strengthens us. He is acquainted with suffering."
Overall, I really enjoyed this fantastic story and I look forward to reading more by Lori Benton!
**I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
Having not read Lori Benton's first book, I didn't know what to expect. This being my first fictions book I'm reviewing for my blog, I had my fingers crossed that the book wouldn't be cheesy and the plot unrealistic. What if I dislike it, but can't explain why? What is I hate it so much, all I can say is I hated it? With high hopes (this book has been on my to-read forever!), I opened the book...
Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed!
Tamsen feels trapped in her life. Her step-father holds control of not only her future, but that of her mothers.
After tragedy strikes, Tamsen is forced to escape the grasp of her step-father.
With the help of a complete stranger, Jesse Bird, Tamsen treks into the wilderness, leaving behind everything familiar. Meanwhile, her step-father convinces Tamsen's would-be suiter, that she has been kiddnapped and they need to rescue her. On the run, Tamsen learns to survive on the frontier, and what ensues is a life changing journey.
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn had everything I look for in book. A historical christian romance, filled with suspense, a realistic romantic relationship development and a dialogue that seemed genuine and true to the character and setting. The characters are realistic and the plot like was well thought out. The author didn't create dumb scenarios or write day to day paragraphs just to add pages to the book, everything that happens in the book all ties together and adds a great depth to the storyline. As stated, it is a christian fiction, there are elements of faith all throughout the book, but it didn't come across as preachy, heavy or fake. The story is constantly moving forward, which made me eager to turn the pages. I'm so glad this book is now added to my bookshelf. 5 our of 5!
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. A positive review is not expected nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.
A Beautiful Story Far From the Beaten Path of Today's Christian Novels
July 24, 2014
Benton does it again! Much like her first novel, Lori Benton weaves together a beautiful story far from the beaten path of today's christian novels. Her writing flows smoothly, and is filled with such vivid detail it's almost as if you can see the scene unfolding before your very eyes. It is evident much research goes into these novels and Benton has a way of making history come alive. I truly appreciate how immersed her books are in the time period and culture in which she is writing. Set between western North Carolina and what is now known as Tennessee, Benton depicts an often unheard of view of colonial life involving the Overmountain settlers and Indians of this time. I love when I read and learn about a part of history unknown to me before, to me that shows the mark of a successful author.
While 'The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn' started out a little slower than Benton's first novel I was soon hooked after a few chapters. The characters had depth, the plotline was fresh and original, and there were several twists along the way that made for an unforseen ending.
Overall another success, and one I'll definitely recommend to others!
Want to know more? You can read the first chapter here!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own.