Tag Archives: Lori Benton

Top 10 Tuesday — Vivid Settings

23 Jul

In some books the setting takes a backseat to characterization or plot — the book could take place just about anywhere. But in some books the setting is a major player in, well, setting the scenes. 😉 Whether it is the time or place, an author that can skillfully bring the reader to the site of the story is tops in my books. (Sorry/not sorry for the pun 😉 )  This week Top 10 Tuesday challenged bloggers to share settings they would like to see more of (or not at all), but of course I am tweaking yet again. My list features books that got the setting just right, allowing me to see and feel what the characters did. I hope you find a place to visit and a book to love!

For more on settings, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Settings in Recent Reads

 

Alaska — Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble

Ancient Israel — The Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Colonial Canada — Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Colonial North Carolina — The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Edisto Island, South Carolina — The Bridge Between by Lindsey Brackett

Medieval England — Prince Edward’s Warrant by Mel Starr

WWII Germany — My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

WWII Poland — The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

Yellowstone National Park — Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Top 10 Tuesday — Baby Names Inspired by Favorite Characters

9 Jul

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a character freebie. My husband and I will be first time grandparents in early 2020 *woo hoo*, so it is time to bring out baby name suggestions. I am listing boy and girl names inspired by recent novels I’ve read. What do you think? (And no, I don’t really think any of the names on my list will be chosen by the parents! 😉 )

 

Top Baby Names from Recent Reads

Girls

Annie from All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

Belinda from Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Camden from On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Cecile from The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma

Elsie from Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Joanna from The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Kayden from Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Kiera from Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Rosa from The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Sophie from The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

 

Boys

Alex from The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Itzhak from The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Kjell from Dawn’s Prelude by Tracie Peterson

Nate from Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Reef from Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Seth from On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Stone from Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Tank from Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble

Zach from More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

Zander from Sweet on You by Becky Wade

What’s your favorite character name?

 

 

Book Review: The King’s Mercy

27 Jun

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.

 

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.

 

My Impressions:

No one does historical fiction better than Lori Benton! At least that’s my estimation. Her novels demonstrate extensive research and attention to the smallest details that bring a time past to life for the modern reader. Her latest book, The King’s Mercy does just that. With characters that capture your heart, a time and place at once foreign and familiar, and messages of truth, this book is a must-read for everyone, regardless of genre preferences. It earns a very highly recommended rating from me.

The King’s Mercy is set on a plantation in the North Carolina colony in the mid-1700s. A very prosperous enterprise, Severn is run like a ship by its owner, a retired Royal Navy captain. Benton does a great job of bringing that era to life. There is rich description of the many activities that were involved in supporting the plantation system. Slavery and indentured service was part and parcel of the plantation, and Benton reveals the cost to body and soul. Often in novels, just a few characters are developed with others serving only as extras. But Benton has a wide variety of well-developed characters — free and slave, hero and villain, white and Native American. The multi-layered culture that made up the colony is meticulously detailed, providing a complete picture for the reader. Of course a few characters stood out for me — Joanna — the stepdaughter of the plantation owner, Alex — the Scottish rebel sentenced to a 7 year indenture, and Jemma — a young slave woman determined to find freedom. These three, along with others, embody the human spirit’s need for freedom. Freedom and what that truly looks like is the theme of The King’s Mercy. The book was inspired by the book of Philemon and the slave Onesimus. With a subtle hand, Benton weaves Biblical truths and allusions throughout the novel. If you are familiar with the journeys and letters of Paul, you will recognize the parallels between scripture and this novel. The King’s Mercy certainly made me want to dig into my Bible.

There’s adventure, suspense, romance, and rich history all within the pages of The King’s Mercy, making this book widely appealing. It is also one you will think about long after you turn the last page. It is also now my favorite book by Lori Benton. It is definitely a must-read.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for book clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author and Waterbrook for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone)

Book Giveaway! — The King’s Mercy

20 Jun

To celebrate the release of her newest book, The King’s Mercy, Lori Benton is giving away one copy to one of my readers! Yay!! Thanks so much, Lori, for your generosity. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment. Easy peasy! The giveaway runs through June 30. (Please only US residents.)

 

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.

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.

Guest Post — Lori Benton Author of The King’s Mercy

13 Jun

I am so excited to welcome today author Lori Benton, author of The King’s Mercy. I was first introduced to Lori’s writing in her debut novel, Burning Sky. Wow! I was blown away! There is no doubt about why that book was a multi-award winner. All of her books I have read since are of the same calibre — excellent writing, original plotting, richly detailed historical settings, and characters that steal a reader’s heart. Lori shares with us today the work of bringing story to history in her latest offering. Thanks so much, Lori, for visiting today!

 

Fact vs Fiction

By Lori Benton 

In his book The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, James Alexander Thom (author of Follow The River) writes, “The past is where we get the raw material we use to make the stories by which we earn our bread. The raw material is already there, inexhaustible. We pick bygone time up by the handfuls and, like clay, see if it feels right and then form it into stories about the past.” It’s an apt description of what it’s like to sift through history, pluck out facts and dates from the historical record, then mix them with the elements of Story to create a historical novel. 

I found the raw clay for my latest release, The King’s Mercy, in the 1740s. The story opens with Scottish Jacobite prisoner Alex MacKinnon’s flashbacks to the Battle of Culloden, and what happened to the Jacobite Scots captured by the Duke of Cumberland’s forces during that battle — exile and indenture. Next I introduce a plantation setting along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, complete with master, overseer, and dozens of slaves. Later, the story visits a Cherokee town deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. 

Aside from that very real battlefield on a moor near Inverness, Scotland, these settings sprang from my imagination, but they’re based on research gleaned from the work of dozens of historians, with every detail of culture (food, speech patterns, clothing, possessions, work, play, education, beliefs, prejudices, and attitudes) included in The King’s Mercy lifted from those pages. But such details of time and place are merely dry bones until they are enlivened by the beating heart and filtered through the mind and senses of a character living in that moment.  

James Alexander Thom again: “Those who read the prose of a historian understand that they’re looking back. But we novelists, and our readers, aren’t looking back to that time. We are in that time, looking forward. We are living in the historical moment, through the vividness of our stories, and looking to the future to find our outcomes.” Presenting the facts seamlessly embedded in historical fiction as accurately as possible is important. So also is presenting a story-world so vivid to the senses, and characters who are a product of the times in which we’ve placed them, that the reader forgets what the outcome of that particular moment in history is, and can live in the suspenseful and uncertain now along with the characters. 

What was it like to smell, hear, taste, touch, and see day-to-day life on a plantation in colonial North Carolina, or a sleety, chaotic battlefield, or a prison ship anchored on the Thames, or a thatched council house in a Cherokee town? Those details are every bit as vital in creating the authenticity of historical fiction as is conveying to the reader a knowledge of the laws that governed the institutions of colonial slavery and indenture, or prisoners of the British Crown, or how many chiefs there were in each Cherokee town. Sensory details are what immerses a reader in the factual world the fictional characters inhabit, and helps them see that world through their eyes. 

Better yet, they feel it. 

 

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.

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.

First Line Friday — The King’s Mercy

7 Jun

Happy Friday. Today I am in Alaska! Squee! A bucket list check off for sure. But I could not leave the lower 48 without scheduling a First Line Friday post featuring the talented Lori Benton‘s latest novel, The King’s Mercy. I got a chance to read it before going on vacation, but you will have to wait for my review. Just know it is excellent!

For more fabulous first lines, check out Hoarding Books. But don’t forget to leave me a comment before leaving. 🙂

 

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.

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.

Happy Book Birthday! — The King’s Mercy

4 Jun

Yay! Another book from the talented Lori Benton was released into the world today! The King’s Mercy is an historical novel featuring Alex MacKinnon, a Scotsman sentenced to indentured service in the American colonies following the battle of Culloden. I cannot wait to dig in. Find out more from the info below.

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.

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.