The Colonel's Lady" is, without a doubt, the best book I've read all year. Laura Frantz is an exceptional author.
The plot gripped me from the beginning, and the author lost no time revealing the book's theme of love, forgiveness, and war-time intrigue. Colonel McLinn has accidentally shot his scrivener while on campaign in the Kentucke wilderness during the American Revolution. His scrivener's dying request is for McLinn to take care of his only daughter, Roxie. Imagine McLinn's surprise and heartache when he returns to his post at Fort Endeavour and finds Roxie there -- penniless, destitute and teetering on the edge of spinsterhood despite her beauty. Her father was her only hope of a future. What will happen to her now?
The characters came alive, causing me to care about what happened to them. Even the main character, Roxie, had a refreshing personality! I have read so many books spotlighting "cookie-cutter" heroines, where the writing focuses on her reactions to the hero and her circumstances, leaving her uniqueness as an individual in shadows. Roxie is anything but "cookie-cutter", and by the time I turned the last page, I felt as if I knew her personally. And the hero, McLinn! He's more than the gruff but gentlemanly soldier. He's haunted by his secrets, and an evil twin brother. What I loved about him (besides his Irish heritage and good looks) is that even in the face of rejection, he allows himself to be vulnerable.
The pace was a bit slower that what I usually like, but never once did the story lose my attention, demonstrating the author's skill. The day-in and day-out aspects of the story made it more real and life-like. I was transported to the Kentucke territory during the time of the American Revolution, and I learned so much about how they lived. What they ate. What they did to pass the time in a lonely wilderness fort hemmed in by the danger of war.
I was blown away by the beauty of Frantz's writing voice, and her eye-opening descriptions. How many times have I read a book and lost track of what the scene looked like during fast-paced action or dialogue? Never happened in "The Colonel's Lady". Just as I began to lose the scene in my mind's eye, Frantz would bring it back in riveting clarity.
My favorite parts of the story were "Fort Smitty" and "The Cribbage Game". (That was for Laura and those who have read the book -- I'm not saying anything further. :-)
Five stars (if that wasn't already obvious). I'm a new fan of Laura Frantz, and will be collecting all of her books. She currently has two others out there: "The Frontiersman's Daughter" and "Courting Morrow Little", and she's currently working on a series entitled "The Ballantyne Legacy". I can't wait to read them!