Saturday, September 26, 2020

MOUNTAIN LAUREL by Lori Benton, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

"I wanted what I wanted, thought I knew what was best, and found a way to make it happen."

Ian Cameron's return to Mountain Laurel causes quite a stir. . . .among his kin, among those his kin own, but ultimately within the deepest recesses of his weary soul. Had he run away again, or had he found home; it seemed a mighty peculiar combination of both, especially after he discovers the one for whom his heart must have been longing for all along; Seona.

Seona's green eyes and fair skin taunted the truth of her heritage behind a curtain of secrecy that most slaves were unwilling to discuss. There was something else that Seona was good at hiding. Since her youngest of days, Seona had cautiously developed her artistic talents, carefully sketching in obscure places when no one else was around. Then along comes the one who had unknowingly been her first subject, recognizing her talent and growing to cherish it, along with her. When Seona's relationship with Ian evolves into something they dare not ignore, the repercussions drive Ian along a path that covers too many trails.

"Mountain Laurel" is not a story, it's a journey; one fraught with the sort of danger and complication that result from one man owning another, where forbidden loves hope for futures that were never meant to be theirs. Then again, are "our failures ever an insurmountable barrier to grace"? Never. "The Father's been waitin' for ye to come home. Spirit's calling. The Son blazed the trail. All ye need to do is walk it". . . . . . welcome into a "new kindred".

Prepare to be spellbound; though you may reluctantly close its cover, this epic tale will beg to remain within your heart and mind for days, even months, to come.
*I purchased this story and had no obligations to provide a positive review. 
Back Cover Blurb:
North Carolina, 1793
Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again—into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona—beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.

A story of choice and consequence, of bondage and freedom, of faith and family.
Tyndale House Publishing, September 2020
Available in digital, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:

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