Book Review | Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

Mountain-LaurelMountain Laurel

#1 in Kindred series

North Carolina, 1793

Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again—into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona—beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.

A story of choice and consequence, of bondage and freedom, of faith and family.

My Thoughts

When you come across an author of this caliber, you rush to read every book they’ve written. I have been an admirer and vocal supporter of Lori Benton ever since reading The Wood’s Edge (2015).

One thing that endears me to her is how she consistently pens sympathetic characters who have to stumble down the wrong path in order to find their way—The Way. Often times, as it was with Ian Cameron, self-reliance and fleshly desires lead to heartache and forced humility. The destruction left in the wake of Ian’s choices frequently made me wonder how his world could ever be set right. As I read, I allowed myself to imagine each character’s motives and actions in light of the times. This process was made possible by the author’s skill blending relevant historical details with emotionally captivating scenes.

So far, I’ve only mentioned Ian but I should also mention Seona, the woman of mixed heritage who wins his affections as well as my two favorite secondary characters, Lily and Judith. I liked Seona from the start. In some ways she’s naive, yet in others, she has experienced too much darkness for her age. Despite this, she possesses an indomitable spirit and effervescent hope. As for Lily and Judith, I caution readers not to mistake their meekness for weakness because underneath their calm demeanor beats the heart of resilient women with incredible faith.

The truth is we all long for stories about people who are flawed and fallen because we see ourselves in them and when they triumph we celebrate their victory. I continue to read Benton’s works because I relish such stories. Once you read Mountain Laurel, you’ll understand why I’m such a fan of this author and you’ll join me in waiting for the conclusion of the Kindred duology. There is more of Ian and Seona’s story that needs to be told!


About the Author 

LORI BENTON was raised in Maryland, with southern Virginia and Appalachian frontier roots generations deep. Her historical novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she expertly brings to life the colonial and early federal periods of American history. Her books have received the Christy Award and the Inspy Award, and have been honored as finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year. Lori is most at home surrounded by mountains, currently those of the Pacific Northwest where, when she isn’t writing, she’s likely to be found in wild places behind a camera.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review | Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

  1. I have my copy preordered!

    I read each of her books pretty much as they come out. One of these days I am going to go back and reread Burning Sky which I remember loving. I often recommend it to other historical fiction lovers.

    Liked by 1 person

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