Tag Archives: Lori Benton

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.

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Books Over The Blogging Years

28 May

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge from That Artsy Reader Girl is a list of favorite books from the past ten years. Only 1 per year!? That really is a challenge. My  10 year blogging anniversary is coming up in October, and in the course of reading 1000+ books, I have read many that were truly excellent. Whittling the list down was a daunting task, but here is my list. I hope you find one that you too must read.

Top Books from Each Year I Have Been Blogging

 

 

2010

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.

However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

2011

The City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng– City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love–and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?

Told through Will and Katherine’s alternating viewpoints–and inspired by the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents–City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes “vividly and with great historical perspective” (San Jose Mercury News).

2012

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.

Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

2013

Invisible by Ginny Ytrrup

Ellyn  chef, cafe owner, and lover of butter–is hiding something behind her extra weight. While she sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.


Sabina  tall, slender, and exotic–left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. Why? 


Twila has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival.


As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes will open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created n God’s image.



2014

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

2015

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

2016

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl – before it’s too late.

2017

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it himself.

A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambithat connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Outstanding Audiobooks

26 Mar

I listen to audiobooks while I walk in the mornings. I find it helps engage my mind while I automatically traverse the very familiar roads in my neighborhood. Because I pack my reading schedule with review books, I rarely read a book just because. Audiobooks help fulfill that need. My list today, Outstanding Audiobooks, consists of the most recent books I have listened to and loved. A variety of genres are represented, so there should be something on the list for just about everyone. They were excellent choices, both for content and the reader’s excellent portrayal of the characters. I don’t hesitate to recommend them to other audiobook fans.

To find more great audiobooks, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Outstanding Audiobooks

 

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

Top 10 Tuesday — Traveling Back In Time

26 Feb

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday. This week we were charged with sharing the various book locations we would love to visit. I decided to share places I have journeyed to recently that are best suited for book travel. Each well-researched book brought a new perspective to a time and place in history. And while a time machine would be required to visit the places I have listed, it is my affection for flush toilets, antibiotics, and the safety of my own home, that prompts a book-only adventure! 😉

For more bookish travel, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Locations I Liked Visiting (But Only In A Book! 😉 )

 

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon (early 1800 Florida)

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson (WWII Austria)

The Liberty Bride by Marylu Tyndall (War of 1812)

The Patriot Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse (Revolutionary War)

Prince Edward’s Warrant by Mel Starr (14th century England)

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (early 1800s Tennessee)

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman (French Revolution)

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund (1850s orphan trains)

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette (OT Israel)

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma (WWII Poland)

 

Where would you like to travel?