With two very different horizons stretched out before her, one young woman stands on the cusp of an unknown future.
Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew.
As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?
Book #3 of The Ballantyne Series
Publisher: Revell, 2014
Cover photography and design by Brandon Hill
Papa had forsaken his black mourning band.
The shock of it stole through Wren like ice water. For two years her father's shirtsleeve had borne a reminder of her mother's loss, as telling as the lines of grief engraved upon his handsome face. Not once had he taken off the black silk. But all of a sudden it was missing. And Wren ached to know what stirred inside his russet head.
It had all begun with a letter from far upriver. From New Hope. She'd paid the post, wonder astir inside her as she studied the elegant writing. Ansel Ballantyne, Cane Run, Kentucky. They received a great deal of mail, mostly from Europe and the violin collectors and luthiers there, or from Mama's family, the Nancarrows in England. Not Pennsylvania, with the Allegheny County watermark bleeding ink on the outer edge of the wrinkled paper.
Meet Rowena--Wren--Ballantyne, a native of Cane Run, Kentucky and talented violinist. At twenty-five years old, she's never courted or visited her socialite kin in Pittsburgh, owners of one of the biggest fleets of steamboats around. She enjoys a simple life, the fresh air in the mountains, her freedom to lose herself in her music. But when a letter arrives, beckoning her father back east, every aspect of her life changes in ways she never saw coming.
Meet James Sackett, avid abolitionist and the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. The life he leads now is very different from his orphan upbringing. He will be forever grateful for his apprenticeship with Silas Ballantyne, to which James has pledged his friendship and trust. Then Silas's granddaughter, Wren, steps aboard the Rowena, the very woman the boat was named after, with sun-bronzed skin and wild eyes... Between the growing danger of sneaking slaves across free state lines and spending time with the one woman James can never have, his life is in constant turmoil.
Quotes from classic authors such as Mark Twain, John Keats, Jane Austin, and many more open each chapter. Romance, deceit, loss, and danger keep the pages turning in this beautifully written story I devoured within three days. The cover is gorgeous with the fall colors of the mountains. A great read on a chilly autumn night. I gave this book 5 stars!
*I received a free copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel's Lady, Love's Reckoning, and Love's Awakening. She is a Kentuckian currently living in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. Along with traveling, cooking, gardening, and long walks, she enjoys connecting with readers at www.LauraFrantz.net.
See behind-the-scenes footage of the cover shoot for Love's Fortune here.