In our family, we always learned history best through Story. If you give me characters to love, I'll soon care about their times and places. I'll want to know what shaped them and where their life was likely to go.
And it helps if the story you tell is vividly described and set in a fascinating period... like it is in The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn! It's here! Lori Benton's second book!
After an act of violence leaves her in grave danger, Tamsen Littlejohn is forced into a desperate exile.
With nothing extra but a cloak and a metal box containing secret papers, she flees into the wilderness.
Her guide is a man whose name she doesn't even know, and a revelation about her heritage has changed the way she views herself and the world around her.
If your heart was stolen by Willa in Burning Sky, then you've definitely been on pins and needles waiting for Tamsen's story. It's time for another adventure... this one into the Overmountain settlements in Tennessee.
It's uncompromising country, with rushing streams and wild animals and thick forests. No place for a lady, that's for sure. No place this lady has ever needed to go.
And the danger isn't only found in the environment: the settlers are divided under the two battling governments that really did bisect Tennessee territory between 1784 and 1789. Think roughshod politics, often "taken with a side of lead." (You learn quick not to announce which government you favor.)
Tamsen is being tested in mind, mettle, and spirit.
This is one great story. You feel like you're right there with Tamsen, and over almost 400 pages you get to meet so many other great characters. For example, Jesse Bird's Pa Cade is one of my favorite characters.
This brings me to the one single thing I would change about this story.
I'm unsure if I even want to mention it, but this is such a serious thing, and causes so much brokenness in our world that I am very sensitive anytime it comes up in a book or anywhere else.
There's a minor character, a 15 year old girl who was "in love" with Jesse before Tamsen came along. This girl is nearly raped by two unsavory characters, and when Tamsen asks Jesse if it was their fault, Jesse says Bethany is old enough to be accountable for her actions. I wish that line could have been left out. If what happened to Bethany was a near-rape, then by definition it had nothing to do with any of her actions, because a rape is not provoked or asked for. Bad behavior by a man (or two men) is not caused by any action of any fifteen year old girl. Other than that line, Jesse is hero material. He did genuinely care for the women in his life... both Tamsen and young Bethany... I wish he hadn't said that.
All Bethany had been looking for was love and affection.
So get ready to travel with Tamsen Littlejohn.
This journey will cause her to question her past and trust in her future, and she's taking you along.
Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God's transforming grace.
When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband – often scouring the brush for huckleberries, which overflow the freezer and find their way into her signature huckleberry lemon pound cake.