Caught Between Two Worlds–Meet Willa Obenchain from Burning Sky by Lori Benton

burning skyReview of Burning Sky by Lori Benton

I am the place where two rivers meet, stilted with upheaval and loss“.  So begins the narrative of Willa Obenchain–also known as Burning Sky–with these words spoken to herself as she is on her way to her first home.  Taken from that home when she was 14 by Mohawk Indians, she learned to live contentedly among them until war and disease forced her to return. Yet she is not sure what she has to return to–after 12 years the Revolutionary war has changed everything and her parents may not even be alive.  Surprisingly, Willa does not return alone–for she encounters a wounded man and his dog along the way.  She drags him to her parents cabin, which turns out to be deserted, and nurses his wounds.  She soon discovers that her neighbors are hostile, and that she may not even be permitted to stay–for they suspect her parents of having been Tories, and they plan to auction off their land.  Still she is determined to survive, to plant a crop and keep the only thing that is left to her.  Yet her neighbors will not let her forget her tainted past, nor will her Mohawk brother, Joseph Tames-His-Horse.  And then there is the matter of the man she rescued, the Scotsman Neil MacGregor, who wants to lead her in a different direction.  Above all, she must learn to trust the Almighty to direct her to the right path.
Lori Benton is a new author (this is her first book published by Waterbrook Press, a Christian publisher) and I am so glad I picked up the advance reading copy of this book!  It was a delightful read and I was drawn in by Willa’s courage and the difficult choices she had to make. Her journey was a much one of the heart as it was one of survival, as she learned to overcome the emotional trauma she had endured and decide whether or not to risk opening up her heart to others again.  The tension of seeing which man would win her affections–Joseph Tames-His-Horse or Neil MacGregor–made me keep turning the pages, along with wondering how she was going to overcome the many obstacles that threatened her survival.   Neil MacGregor was also a quite intriguing character as he faced his own decisions about what course he would take–and often spoke to the Almighty with his Scottish burr in quite amusing and remarkable ways.
I would definitely suggest this book to lovers of thoughtful historical romances, especially if they enjoy stories which explore a person’s relationship with the Almighty along with their relationships with others and personal growth.  It also has some suggested questions for those that might want to use it for a book discussion group–for which I think it would work well.  I will look forward to more books from this author!

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