Mountain Laurel

Author: Lori Benton

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Rich historical setting combined with flawed characters seeking redemption make this a can’t miss for genre lovers!

Ian Cameron never planned to set foot again on his uncle’s plantation in North Carolina.  But in 1793 after his cabinet making apprenticeship doesn’t go as planned, he makes the journey back again.  He feels he must put his past behind him and become the man to take over the plantation after his uncle passes.  Upon his arrival, he quickly learns that he doesn’t fit the preferences of his new aunt and her daughters.  Then he meets Seona, a light skinned young lady who is very artistic.  He’s very taken by her, but there is a small problem.  She is enslaved to his uncle.

Seona remembers the last time Mister Ian was at the planation.  She has never forgotten his pale flax hair color and he was one of the first pictures that she drew.  She has continued to draw but keeps it a secret to keep her and her family safe.  When Ian discovers her talent, he encourages it and even offers her the use of his cabinet making shop to continue to develop her drawing.  Can Seona put her trust in Ian?  Somebody who might own her one day?

This is the first novel that I’ve read by Lori Benton and I find it hard to believe that I haven’t come across her works before.  She has tremendous talent for developing rich historical scenery that pulls the reader into the story so that they are walking in the setting rather than reading about it.  She also develops deeply flawed characters that easily give readers the ability to connect with many of them.  Even the supporting characters quickly find a way into the reader’s mind so that they are often left wondering about them. 

This book is written during a difficult time in our country’s history that continues to make the forefront of today’s headlines.  The historical accuracy needs to be read by people so that it’s not sugarcoated into a feel-good story.  This book also deals with the poor treatment of people during the time, even concerning rape.  It will undoubtedly be difficult for some to read, but it is worth it.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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