I’m terribly sorry this article comes to you so late in the day. My weekend was busy, as was this morning, and I hadn’t finished the book I was meant to review by today. It’s done now, but it’s been a read-read-read sort of a day. I’ll be taking a watch-hockey break soon, before I begin my next review book. Be on the watch for my thoughts on Living Lies by Natalie Walters, coming your way soon.
FTC Disclosure: WaterBrook Multnomah gave me a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.
The waves of grace wafting throughout this book were beautiful. Each of the characters had choices to make that either gained grace or refused it, and their inner peace was so dependent upon those crucial decisions. This was an exquisite depiction of the choices people today have at their feet and the consequences—good or bad—of how each of us decide.
This book took me nearly a month to read. That’s not normal for me on a book I’ve highly anticipated for months. I’m not even sure why it took me half the book to feel completely invested. Was it because the slaves’ dialogue was stilted at times? Could it have been the departure in focus from the author’s previous books, shifting from Indians to plantations? I was happy to see Indians showed up—I think this is where Mrs. Benton truly shines—and that’s when my interest was securely hooked into this story… which was so late in the plot. Maybe it was the fact that the bad guy was poorly disguised. I knew pretty much from the jump who the baddie was, though I was thrilled that there was enough mystery and surprises around him to keep me advancing well from chapter to chapter, particularly as the climax drew near. Or could it have been because the leading lady seemed to rely on a man much more than the God she claimed to serve first and foremost? I wish her faith had been developed a bit more to better reflect her claims, yet I saw her heart for loving her neighbors was beautiful. Like I said, I’m not really sure why this book took me so long to read.
Plenty of things I loved about this one. The childbirth scene was especially good, with the perfect amount of detail. It was much easier to read than the one in Many Sparrows, which had too much detail, making it awkward and uncomfortable from a reader’s perspective. The discretion shown in the scene in The King’s Mercy revealed great author growth from one book to the next. Creativity shone brightly in the name choices for the Indian characters. Walnut, Squash Blossom, Runs-Far, and Cane-Splitter… ooh, they had me intrigued! The colors of the cover went so well together that they drew me in months ago, making me want to read the story beneath that beauty. Having a copy in hand, I further appreciated the wonderful cover design. The goal of the leading lady seemed a bit like propaganda at times, yet the passion and heart behind it were so lovely that I could overcome that first impression. Alex MacKinnon was a great hero. From his size and strength to his accent and heritage, he was intriguing from the beginning and was easy enough to root for. I’ve enjoyed learning about Scotland since I first saw Sean Connery in Medicine Man back in the nineties, and seeing Alex was from there made me smile. The country wasn’t featured much, save in the beginning of the story, but the rich heritage followed Alex on his journey. Most of all, I liked the nods to the book of Philemon. I didn’t catch this until the “Postscriptum,” but once I realized this, I thought back and recognized various plot points that paid homage to one of my favorite biblical books. Perhaps a second reading will reveal even more nods than I figured out this time around.
The antagonist in this story was a pretty evil dude, yet the story was not dark at all. His wicked deeds were mostly committed off the page, which lent more flexibility and exercise for my imagination. I love it when authors do this, because it keeps the book clean while revealing the scope of the enemy’s evil actions in a fashion that will lead the audience to see the ways in which the Lord overcomes even the wickedest of people and their terrible pursuits. I applaud Mrs. Benton for her discretion and courage, for it was brave indeed to tackle such a tough topic as sexual abuse, and in such an enlightening yet clean way. All the terror of the actual actions, like I said, was performed off the page, but the consequences were made clear and the fright the victims and their family and friends experienced was raw and real. This was all very well presented.
Overall, I liked the book. It took me a while to get into it, but it’s definitely an important book that many readers are certain to enjoy. There were many fantastic messages of hope and peace in this story.
I am still looking forward to whatever book Mrs. Lori Benton writes. She has a beautiful way with words that is lyrical and paints amazing pictures in my mind.
Content: one profanity, alcohol, alcoholic sauce, sexual abuse implied but not shown on the page