Book Review: The Wood’s Edge

26 May

At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?
 
The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.
 
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.
 
When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both — Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

Lori’s debut novel, Burning Sky, earned the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

My Impressions:

The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton sat on my shelf waaay too long! Ever since reading her excellent debut novel, Burning Sky, I knew I had to read more of her books. But alas, the TBR pile reaches to the rafters. So to make sure I would move this worthy book up to the top of the pile, I convinced my book club to make it one of our 2017 selections. And am I ever glad! The Wood’s Edge is another well-crafted and researched historical novel that I would recommend to anyone. The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that there is a sequel, A Flight of Arrows. Now to influence my book club to add it . . . .

The setting of The Wood’s Edge is the New York frontier in the 20 years leading up to the Revolutionary War. A lot happens in that time — the culmination of the French And Indian War, the expansion of the white settlers into previously held Indian lands, and the growing dissent of the colonials with His Majesty’s governance. World changing events. But for two families, one white and one Indian, their worlds are changed by the switching of two babies during the siege of Fort William Henry. As one family grieves and vows vengeance, another is haunted by guilt that cannot be confessed. As the colonies march towards war, the two families are on a collision course that can shatter more than one life.

I love when a novel teaches me. I learned so many things about colonial life, the make-up of early Native American society, and the efforts of missionaries to bring the gospel to the the Six Nations of The Iroquois Confederacy. The Wood’s Edge is so well-written, that I felt I had stepped back in time as I immersed myself in the story. Characters, true to the time period, are complex, real, relatable, and relevant for the modern reader. None are perfect, but have flaws and sins common to us all. The female characters are especially strong and are vital to the story. The theme of undeserved grace runs throughout the narrative and is beautifully portrayed in more than one character. I believe this book will create great conversation at my book club.

I highly recommend The Wood’s Edge to anyone looking for a thoughtful and thought-provoking novel. For fans of early American history, this book is a must read!

Highly Recommended.

Great for book clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I won this book in a giveaway. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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