Love's Reckoning begins with Liege Lee's desire for his daughters Elspeth and Eden to wed. The two sisters are like night and day. Elspeth, though beautiful, is hateful and full of spite especially where her sister is concerned. Eden is more of a girl than a woman at 19. She is sweet and kind with a quiet, godly spirit, despite her father's profane ways. Silas Ballantyne steps into the pages of the book. He is a Scotsman who fought in the Civil War and is trying to run away from the memories of his past. He is finishing his apprenticeship with Liege Lee to become a blacksmith. Liege wants one of his daughters to marry the new apprentice, as is an old tradition. It is decided that Silas will marry Elspeth. Which one will Silas choose? Elspeth, with her womanly, wordly ways? Or sweet, girlish Eden, with her thirst for the things of the Bible?
Laura Frantz has a beautiful fashion of writing. Every word is there for a reason, either to add beauty and poignancy or meaning and insight. She takes the reader out onto a diving board overlooking a beautiful, placid blue water. But she waits to let the reader jump in. I could feel the tension throughout the pages in how her characters acted. The tension kept on getting stronger and stronger until it had to snap.
Love's Reckoning is somewhat unpredictable. Eden had to grow up in a hurtful, horrible way. She didn't deserve any of the bad things that happened to her, but through it all she never grew bitter. The book is divided into two parts. The former part is longer, but the latter part is sweetly sad, ending in the joy the reader knows is coming.
Sentences and words that Laura Frantz used in this book are sticking in my head much, much more than other books. Love's Reckoning left me breathless and extremely reluctant to put it down. I believe that this novel is truly unforgettable.
The only part that was wanting was the epilogue. I found it odd, and out of place. Other than that Love's Reckoning may be Laura's best book yet. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the next book in the Ballantyne series, Love's Awakening. I give Love's Reckoning five stars.