By Lori Benton
For readers of Sara Donati and Diana Gabaldon, this epic historical romance tells of fateful love between an indentured Scotsman and a daughter of the 18th century colonial south.
When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy–exile to the Colony of North Carolina–he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves–and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.
(Back cover summary from Waterbook & Multnomah)
This book isn’t due to release until June, but I was able to read an early copy via NetGalley. I had just finished Many Sparrows, and found myself fallen in love with the way Benton tells a story, as well as the setting she paints so vividly. It was then I remembered that newest novel waiting on my Kindle.
The King’s Mercy is a little different from what Lori Benton normally writes, but it still contains her signature elements. Though it begins in the Old World, the story quickly moves to a plantation in North Carolina, and the troubles there. I loved the characters in this book. Alex is a hero who possesses strength and leadership, but he also is deeply flawed in several ways. The same with Joanna. While strong, she’s also distinctly human, and able to be hurt just as any other.
The plot of this story was engrossing. As it progressed, I was trying to figure out who was causing the troubles at Severn, and though I was right on a couple things, it unfolded into so much more. The villain’s intentions and background speak to real-world situations that grieve the characters, and my own heart.
The romance in this book is also spot-on. It felt like a natural progression of shared hopes and dreams and mutual respect for the other’s strengths.
Last, I loved the secondary characters in this book. They were colorful, meaningful, and added so much to the story. The King’s Mercy focuses on just that: mercy. The mercy God gives us primarily, but also mercy toward others, and giving up control and surrendering to Him.
In all, this is a satisfying tale that once again leaves me looking for more books from Lori Benton.
About the Author
LORI BENTON was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy nominee The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; and Many Sparrows.
(Biography from Waterbrook & Multnomah)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.