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The Colonel's Lady Paperback – August 1, 2011
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"This third novel by Laura Frantz is a tour de force. Riveting plotline, dynamic characters, and flawless historical accuracy will vividly transport the reader to another time and place...Readers will be left at the edge of their seats for hours. Even though the novel is over four hundred pages, the reader is still left wanting more...quite an accomplishment for any author."
CBD Editor's Pick
From the Back Cover
Can love survive the secrets kept buried within a tormented heart?
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. Eager 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.
Praise for Laura Frantz's Writing
"Vivid and poetic. . . . You'll disappear into another place and time."--Jane Kirkpatrick, bestselling author of All Together in One Place and A Flickering Light
"Laura Frantz portrays the wild beauty of frontier life, along with its dangers and hardships, in vivid detail."--Ann H. Gabhart, author of The Outsider and The Seeker
"Frantz writes with an inherent beauty that graces every literary aspect of her story, from exquisite prose and intricate characterization to meticulous historical detail and striking emotional connections. [Her writing] sets the standard in historical faith fiction."--RelzReviews
Laura Frantz credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides. Frantz is the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter and Courting Morrow Little and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.
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I only recently discovered Laura Frantz, and The Colonel's Lady was definitely a foray into her best work. Roxanna and Cassius are gorgeously drawn characters, multifaceted, human, yet (eventually) willing to let God mold and shape them. Roxanna's compassion and levelheadedness are perfect foils to Cassius' sometimes impetuous and stubborn nature, and his penchant for court-martialing anything that moves. By the same token, Cassius awakens a hidden fiery side to Roxanna that she had long denied. At times, she's the only one who can handle Cass' irascible tendencies, and it's touching, if not downright funny, to see her succeed.
Over time, Roxanna and Cass develop a lovely relationship, one of the most pleasurable I've read about in a while. They understandably bond over her scrivener work, but they also match wits in cribbage, and come together to take care of little Abby. As Roxanna notes, Cass the soldier, Cass the employer, and Cass the father are three very different men. Yet knowing them all allows her to know herself, grow, change, and eventually become the woman he, and others, need.
Laura's secondary cast is absolutely brilliant. Characters like Bella, Graham, and Five Feathers may not get much page time, but they're written in such a way as to stick in your mind. Without giving too much away, a villain nicknamed Lucifer is one you love to hate, and one you enjoy seeing go down as a result of human faith and divine intervention. There are also some revelations about little Abby that add shading to her character and make her a more important player than most little kids are in this type of novel. Laura doesn't cash in on the kid factor much, but when she does, it works beautifully.
The Colonel's Lady is not necessarily a suspenseful novel, but there is a lot of suspense woven in, especially during the last quarter or so. Some of it feels a little thin, but most is done well. The revelation of who the spy at Fort Endeavor is, was one of my favorite parts - I had my eye on one specific character, so the real culprit surprised me, but still made sense. There's also a scene near the end where Roxanna interacts with the villain behind the spy, which is crafted with a practiced and deft hand.
The Colonel's Lady feels a little long, and there are some places where Roxanna and Cass going round and round about their relationship gets a little old. But considering what both of them had to deal with, I can understand why they'd take longer to wise up to what's right in front of them. Overall, the novel is a triumph, and I look forward to more like it from Laura Frantz.
Rather, the setting of the story is Kentucky - our heroine, Roxanna, having traveled from Virginia after her mother's passing, in order to reach her father who is currently serving in the Revolutionary War as a scrivener to one, Colonel Cassius Maclinn. When we first meet Roxanna, she's on foot with several soiled doves and one little mute girl, Abby, having been routed from their flatboat which had been traveling downriver in an effort to get to Fort Endeavor.
Weary and on the run from British soldiers and Indians, they finally arrive at Fort Endeavor, only to find Roxanna's father is out on a winter campaign with Colonel Maclinn and most of the soldiers with only a skeleton crew remaining at the fort. Roxanna and the women are soon fed and given travelers' hospitality - the light-skirts enjoy their time with the soldiers while Roxanna ensconces herself in her father's cabin to wait for his return.
However, all has not gone well on the campaign and Roxanna's father has been killed, but not before exacting a promise from Cassius to "always take care of Roxie." When he arrives and unexpectedly finds Roxanna there, he's struggling with tremendous guilt, for indeed he feels responsible for her father's death. Plus, he's enraptured with Roxanna, having carried a locket with a painting of her lovely face inside it which he removed from her father before he was buried.
Most of the book is filled with the the day-to-day happenings of life in and around the garrison and the attractive "stone house on the hill" where Cassius lives. Since Roxanna isn't ready to head back toward civilization, Cass installs her as his scrivener in her father's stead, which works out well for Roxanna and for the storyline. In this role, we are able to get glimpses of correspondence to the colonel's commanding officers, hear Shawnee royalty who are being held prisoners, interviewed and get a really good picture of how Colonel Maclinn takes care of business.
As I read this book, I had no problem getting a really good picture in my mind of how Cassius operated in his role as Colonel Maclinn, understood in part what drove him, including his values, his honor and his heart. The ability to draw the reader enter into the portals of a storyline in this manner is surely the trademark of a gifted writer. The characters included within the storyline - faith, prostitutes, soldiers, Abby (the young niece of one of the prostitutes) a former slave, Bella and Hank, Cass's valet and man servant, all add to the storyline.
There's also a villain out there somewhere who just happens to be the twin brother of Colonel Maclinn and who serves the British army, often impersonating Cassius, causing a considerable amount of difficulties for Cassius. This part of the storyline has its own element of trickery and surprises contained within the story, including a spy that Cassius is well aware of inside the garrison, but cannot pin down.
All in all, a very well written and entertaining book. I highly recommend it to lovers of romance who enjoy the steadiness of the H/h becoming acquainted with one another, falling in love, facing what appear to be insurmountable obstacles to their love, overcoming those obstacles and finding the fulfillment of their love and a stronger faith together.
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You won't go wrong with this book.