New release in historical Christian fiction
In the past I’ve talked about how there are some books that I, a fast reader, find myself slowing down to savor and trying to extend the story as long as possible. That was my experience with Burning Sky by debut novelist Lori Benton. I was only a third of the way through the book and was already dreading the end. Some stories you just don’t ever want to part with. Let me give you a peek into this powerful novel:
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 and she feels 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 pace 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 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?
The fact that Burning Sky is a debut novel is amazing. It’s almost four hundred pages of beautifully crafted scenes and characters that are associated with seasoned authors. The research Lori put into the story makes it that much more gripping. You find yourself learning about American history in the midst of the novel. I love that!
There are several strong characters that you grow to love but none more so than Willa. She is such a strong, though conflicted, woman who tries with all of her might to lead a quiet, solitary life. It seemed that every turn she made, the Lord was giving her things to prevent her from being alone. Willa slowly learns that the life she is meant to live is not what she had orchestrated in her own mind. God knew she needed to be surrounded by the strength, courage, and love of others.
I can already predict that Burning Sky will be on my list of favorite novels for 2013. I’m anxiously awaiting Lori’s next book which will release in Spring of 2014. If you are a fan of Laura Frantz or Jody Hedlund, I highly recommend Lori’s new release.