My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing
After fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River. It's a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucke--men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew looking for an experienced guide. When his guide appears, Sion balks. He certainly didn't expect a woman. But it is not long before he must admit that Tempe's skill in the wilderness rivals his own. Still, the tenuous tie they are forming is put to the test as they encounter danger after danger and must rely on each other.
With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.
What an amazing reading experience! I was completely transported to the historical setting and the story which never felt rushed, but never felt slow either. Since my parents took my sisters and I camping and backpacking often, I've loved the outdoors and exploring the mountains. The descriptions of the wilderness and how Sion and the surveying team worked to establish accurate maps and guides was fascinating. I loved that Tempe was an explorer of the country too, and that she appreciated the little wondrous details of nature. The author did a great job of depicting the grim realities of the harsh frontier, including violent encounters with Native Americans, without being disturbingly graphic. Tempe and Sion are both weighed down by grief that hasn't passed by, but their developing relationship begins the healing process, and amidst the chaos of warring Indians on the move and the unforgiving wilderness, there is an undercurrent of peace and blossoming romance. The personalities of Tempe's family and Sion's team are vividly portrayed and provide opportunities for conflict, growth, and compassion. Highly recommend!!!
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)