A Moonbow Night
Baker Publishing Group, 2017
The wilds of 1877 Kentucke have claimed many a life, but Temperance Tucker has no fear of death. She freely roams the wilderness around the Moonbow Inn that she runs with her mother and brother, taking little personal notice of the rough backwoodsmen that come and go on their quests for adventure or to settle the land until she meets Sion Morgan and his crew of surveyors. There is a strength and tenacity about him that intrigues her, as well as a wildness that gives pause. When he asks her to accompany them as a guide wisdom instructs her to decline the offer.
Sion is surprised when Tempe reluctantly agrees to accompany them, given her earlier refusal. Clearly there are forces at work that he doesn’t know about, but silent as an Indian in the woods, a great shot, and knowledgable of the land, she is an asset despite the secret she carries. As their team heads farther and farther into the wilderness, it becomes clear that they are in more danger than they anticipated. There is unrest among the Indians, something both Tempe and Sion are all too familiar with on a personal level, and the peril only increases the farther they go. Injuries, close calls, and a budding romance accompany them on their journey and a betrayal sends them down a path they never could have predicted.
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I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t expect to love this book. I wasn’t crazy about the cover or the title, and I had read another book by Laura Frantz a couple years ago that wasn’t to my taste. I’m not really sure what made me choose this one given all of that, but I’m glad I did! I’m not sure if experience improved her writing style or what, but this story flowed forward with a lot of momentum and was fraught with peril at every turn.
There were secrets, both intentional and unintentional, that led to some interesting friction. There were elements of faith, and how that plays out when a person is faced with grief or hardships. There were many multifaceted relationships, not just Sion and Tempe and their burgeoning romance, but also with a host of likable (and a few unlikable) supporting characters. There are even a few characters that I couldn’t decide if I was supposed to be sympathetic towards or not, even up to the end.
I felt like this book did a great job of showing both sides of the coin when it came to Indians vs. settlers and who had a claim to the land. There were injustices and terrible acts on both sides and neither group was portrayed as ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’. The characters displayed respect and appreciation for both worlds, even as their lives were threatened.
It ended pretty much the way I thought it would, and there were a few twists and losses I didn’t expect along the way. I really enjoyed this book and flew through it as fast as I was able. If have any interest in history, adventure, or romance, pick up copy for yourself.