A MOONBOW NIGHT, Laura Frantz, Revell, 2017, 9780800726621
I read and love so many books set in the United Kingdom and Ireland that an American setting can be a refreshing treat sometimes. This one has stayed in my mind since I reviewed it for the February, 2017 issue of Historical Novels Review. Part of my family lived/lives in rural West Virginia, and Frantz’s setting is close enough geographically that it tugs at my emotions and reads “home” to me.
This story opens in 1777 near the scenic Cumberland Falls in what is now the state of Kentucky. It takes settler Temperance Tucker and frontiersman Sion Morgan on a journey of hardship, danger, and emotional pain. As swarms of pioneers push through the Cumberland Gap into Native American lands, the Indians push back. Sion and Tempe both have experienced tragedy in the past, suffering greatly due to Indian activity.
Tempe guides Sion and his surveyors through beautiful, treacherous lands to the Green River country. Facing peril all the way, the two fall in love, but are haunted by their pasts. Even more harrowing problems loom in the wilderness as cultures clash. It is doubtful whether Sion and Tempe can even survive, much less work through their individual traumas well enough to build a life together. This is a Christian book, although not a “preachy” one, and the characters’ faith supports them throughout their distressing frontier experiences.
Laura Frantz is a Kentuckian who lives in a log cabin. Her writing portrays a gritty, rooted reality that helps bring three-dimensional texture to the story. Recommended.