By: Laura Frantz
About the book:
Roxanna Rowan may be a genteel Virginia woman, but she is determined to brave the wilds of the untamed frontier to reach a remote Kentucky fort. Eater to reunite with her father, who serves under Colonel Cassius McLinn, Roxanna is devastated to find that her father has been killed on a campaign.
Penniless and out of options, Roxanna is forced to remain at the fort. As she spends more and more time with the fiery Colonel McLinn, the fort is abuzz with intrigue and innuendo. Can Roxanna truly know who the colonel is - and what he's done?
Immerse yourself in this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness set in the tumultuous world of the frontier in 1779.
Fleeing the heartbreak of her mother's death and the shattered promises of a broken engagement, Roxanna Rowan is resigned to a life of spinsterhood. In a time of war she undertakes the dangerous journey west to join her father at Fort Endeavor in the Kentucke territory, where he serves as scrivener to the legendary commander Cassius McLinn. When she arrives at the fort, Roxanna's hopes for her future are dashed when she discovers that her father has been killed. Alone and penniless, surrounded by hostile forces, Roxanna finds herself completely at the mercy of the fort's commander, Colonel McLinn - a man as much renowned for his quick temper as his prowess in battle. Drawn to McLinn like a moth to flame, Roxanna's bruised heart melts under the colonel's unexpectedly kind attentions, and in spite of warnings about his reputation the Bluecoat commander, force of nature that he is, threatens to steal her heart. But the enigmatic colonel hides secrets of his own, secrets that if confessed threaten to destroy any hope of happiness that could bloom between the hardened soldier and the scrivener's beautiful daughter. With their lives threatened by enemies without and within, Roxanna and Cassius must decide if the hope of love can overcome the fear of taking that first step into the unknown wild, brimming with promise - if faith is worth the risk.
When Laura Frantz's sophomore effort Courting Morrow Little released, I thought she'd outdone herself, but I was wrong. The Colonel's Lady is one of those rare novels that's so good, it took my breath away. As was the case with her first two novels, Frantz's third is replete with her love for 18th-century history and her appreciation of the astonishing men and women who sought to carve lives for themselves from the Kentucky wilderness. But this novel has a little extra something that captivated me - a heart and a passion for the characters and their experiences that wove its way into my heart and kept me eagerly turning the pages, even as I dreaded reaching "the end" of Cassius and Roxie's journey. Frantz's trademark lyrical prose brings the Kentucky frontier to vibrant life, an intoxicating mix of beauty and danger that serves as a refining fire for the carefully-crafted characters that leap with vibrant life from the page, wrapping you up in their heartaches and triumphs.
And oh, what characters. The colonel of the title is loosely based on real-life legend George Rogers Clark and his heart-breaking life. With her own creation in McLinn, Frantz doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of an 18th-century soldier's life - from the tension, filth, and disciplinary issues to an over-reliance on alcohol due to polluted water, easily transitioning to crutch to dull the pain and loneliness of such a life. With his devastatingly handsome features and a mercurial charm reminiscent of Rochester in Jane Eyre, McLinn is a character whose struggles and passion will captivate your heart, as they do Roxie's. And Roxanna, every inch the lady, is a heroine with unbelievable reservoirs of inner strength and faith that do credit to the countless real-life women who braved the uncertainty of frontier and soldiering lives, risking life and limb to follow their menfolk into the wild of the untamed territory of the west. Whether or not this was the author's intent, on this one level The Colonel's Lady serves as a heartfelt tribute to the strength of those who've served, past and present, and the resilience of those who love them.
Part frontier story, part war story, and all romance, Frantz weaves a heady spell with passages of gorgeous prose, breath-taking suspense, and a heart-stopping romance that will capture your imagination and wend its way into your heart. Seriously, you can cut the romantic tension with a knife, people. These are characters who promise to stay with you long after finishing the novel's final pages. The Colonel's Lady is an exquisite triumph from start to finish, one I anticipate revisiting even while I eagerly look forward to where Laura Frantz will take her readers next.