The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Revell (August 1, 2009)
I was honored to receive a review copy of Laura Frantz’s first novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter. I first discovered Frantz’s wonderful prose on her blog, Imagination, and was pleased to learn her first book was being released in August. We have become “bloggy” cyber friends and I look forward to meeting her in real-life at the Kentucky Book Fair in November.
The Frontiersman’s Daughter is the story of Lael Click, a strong frontierswoman who battles life while dealing with many family secrets. Her father, a celebrated frontiersman – think Daniel Boone - is a former captive of the Shawnee Indians, a fact that haunts Lael throughout her childhood. She grows into a young woman while battling the hostile settlement her father founded in “Ken-tucke” – think Old Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg, Kentucky - the demons of family secrets and the destruction caused by a family feud.
Ma Horn is a great role model for Lael, teaching her how to heal with medicinal herbs. Simon, Doctor Ian Justus and Captain Jack make excellent heroes because they are all multi-dimensional characters, although I would have like to have seen more of Capt. Jack. Maybe there is a sequel in the near future? Lael finds it hard to decide between the three possible love interests.
The main focus of the book is Lael sometimes wavering faith in God. We watch her grow in her religious beliefs to become a strong Christian woman.
Frantz did an excellent job researching Kentucky history for this fictional biography; and of course, she is a Kentucky native, so the interest was natural. I think her details of the white man vs. Indian conflict were spot-on and she was able to give us both sides of the issue. Her writing prose is beautiful and flows from page to page and she has created a book you want to read from cover to cover without putting it down.
**In full disclosure, I live in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, so I am very familiar with The Old Fort Harrod - the oldest settlement in Kentucky. Growing up in Harrodsburg, I've had a natural love for all things related to Daniel Boone and James Harrod. I have read many non-fiction books on Kentucky history, but there are very few creative non-fiction books on the market. The Frontiersman's Daughter is one of those books. I cannot recommend this book highly enough - to my family and friends, and to people who have a natural curiosity about Kentucky, or just want to learn a little more. You will not be disappointed.