This is another one of the books I reviewed for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.
In 1755 York, Virginia, 28-year-old chocolatier Esmée Shaw has never quite gotten over her former fiancé, Captain Henri Lennox, although it has been ten years. Now considered a spinster and determined to forget him, she is running her mother’s chocolate shop and working on new recipes. When Henri returns to complete a lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay, a former dream of theirs, Esmée is more shaken than she lets on. As war with the French seems more and more likely, will Esmée and Henri find a new peace of their own?
This is a well-written historical romance, and the dialogue rings true to the period. Bitter stings of lost love and hope of a new start are complicated even more by news of impending war. The writing is beautiful, but the plot moves slowly at times. It does pick up in the second half of the story. The history of the time is well researched. The technique of chocolate making in colonial times is fascinating, and I found myself craving chocolate while Esmée was creating her confections. Esmée is a very strong and accomplished woman for the time period, and the book is better for it. The politics, treachery, and conflicts of that era are well portrayed. There is a Christian theme of trusting God’s plan. Fans of historical romance and U.S. history will enjoy this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.
According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.
Readers can find Laura Frantz here.