Has Laura Frantz ever failed to enchant me? ever failed to illuminate worlds lost to our generations with the glow of hope and romance? ever failed to breathe life into stories of wonder and adventure that captivate and enthrall?
I think not.
The Seamstress of Acadie is one such book. Frantz took a place that exists only in history books and revived it with the tip of her pen, weaving joy and light and love into something that should have been dark and desolate. I’ve come to expect this level of excellency from Laura Frantz ever since I first read A Moonbow Night off my computer screen on a lazy afternoon. Though I didn’t realize it then, reading ebooks for the first time at age thirteen, how integral her works would become to my own writing and how much I would treasure them for years to come, I see now how Temperance and Sion were only the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I’m loathe to compare an author’s books to each other, because I know how confusing it can be, but I simply can’t help myself this time. Unlike The Rose and the Thistle—last January’s release—The Seamstress of Acadie felt nostalgic. Even as it explored something uncharted and unique, it hearkened back to Frantz’s previous novels. The plot was reminiscent of A Bound Heart, but more evenly paced, and it combined elements of The Colonel’s Lady and An Uncommon Woman, so much so that I felt transported back into those stories, into my hours reading of Cass and Roxanne and Tessa and Clay. And then the way Frantz wove Sylvie and William’s story into Henri and Esmee’s from A Heart Adrift…oh, how I squealed when my beloved Henri and Esmee waltzed across the page!
Yes, it was nostalgic. It was reliving all the best moments of Frantz’s many lovely works—and I drank it in.
This is such an atmospheric story. From the opening lines to the final words, Frantz painted the wilds of Acadie with vibrant shades and sealed each page with the scent of apple blossoms and chocolate. It astounds me how she was able to place me into the thick of this story.
And the way it all unfolded…oh, my heart could barely take it! From the twists and turns of the plot to the delicate dance of Sylvie and William, reading this story was like watching a ballet—beautiful, stirring, inviting you in until your heart beat in time to the music and every breath followed its cue.
The only thing I adored more than Sylvie and William, their enemies-to-lovers romance, their personal journeys to find peace and hope…was Bleu. I genuinely cannot put into words how phenomenal a character he was. From his first introduction through to the end of the story, I was searching for the next appearance of his name on every page. I need his story. Desperately.
Apart from the utterly fabulous Bleu, Sylvie and William were simply precious. I was moved on their behalves and so invested in their stories. The sole element that disconnected me was Sylvie’s hardness—perhaps that is the word I’m looking for. There never seemed a time where she truly grieved and expressed emotion over the loss of her family. Oh, she always mourned for Acadie and the life she had there, but sadly I didn’t feel like the same attention was paid to her family.
Regardless, Frantz once again succeeded in creating a story that felt sensual and alive. As though I could reach out and touch it and be enveloped by the blooming apple trees and unforgiving frontier and war-torn lands. Frantz makes history an experience, not just a memory, in every book. She personifies the frontier and forgotten ages through her strong and relatable characters. She reminds us of the souls long since gone who were marked by wars and storms and loss and yet left their mark of love and hope on this grief-laden world.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
~ the book ~
As 1754 is drawing to a close, tensions between the French and the British on Canada's Acadian shore are reaching a fever pitch. Seamstress Sylvie Galant and her family--French-speaking Acadians wishing to remain neutral--are caught in the middle, their land positioned between two forts flying rival flags. Amid preparations for the celebration of Noël, the talk is of unrest, coming war, and William Blackburn, the British Army Ranger raising havoc across North America's borderlands.
As summer takes hold in 1755 and British ships appear on the horizon, Sylvie encounters Blackburn, who warns her of the coming invasion. Rather than participate in the forced removal of the Acadians from their land, he resigns his commission. But that cannot save Sylvie or her kin. Relocated on a ramshackle ship to Virginia, Sylvie struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. When her path crosses once more with William's, they must work through the complex tangle of their shared, shattered past to navigate the present and forge an enduring future.
~ the 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. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. 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. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net.
Have you ever learned the history of Acadie or read a book set there? What are some of your favorite atmospheric reads? Have you read a novel by Laura Frantz?
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