February 1, 2013

Silas Ballantyne

This historical hero is a lesson in what makes simple men great. Silas is an incredibly strong man spiritually, emotionally and physically and yet has a humbleness that almost doesn't seem to fit. He has a quiet wisdom and generous spirit that frankly I'm still surprised survived through what he endured before his novel begins. Of our heroes to date, Silas is probably the strongest mix of wounded and gallant we've ever had. On the surface he is a Scotsman indentured servant, blacksmith, musician but there are so many more layers to his character. His author Laura Frantz placed him in a story so well woven the reader fully appreciates every part of him through an incredible story. I wasn't very deep into the novel when it turned from a book into that incredible reader experience we all crave where you forget it's a book because you're a part of the story of two people that you care for, fear for, cry for, rejoice with, while praying their love and destiny triumphs in the end.

About Silas Ballantyne's novel Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz (released Sept. 1, 2012):

On a bitter December day in 1784, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania. Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship quickly and move west. But because he is a fast worker and a superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in York by appealing to an old tradition: the apprentice shall marry one of his master's beautiful daughters.

Eden is as gentle and fresh as Elspeth is high-spirited and cunning. But are they truly who they appear to be? In a house laced with secrets, each sister seeks to secure her future. Which one will claim Silas' heart--and will he agree to Liege's arrangement?

In this sweeping family saga, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

From Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz:

      She brightened, reminding him of a child eager to please. "I could knit you a hat, some stockings. Our winters are very cold--"
      "Nae." As soon as he said it, he felt a tug of regret. Her lovely face grew pinched. Gentling his tone, he added, "You can ill afford more work."
      Her chin lifted. "'Tis my way to do such things. If it's not your shirt I'll be sewing or your stockings I'll be knitting, 'twill be someone else's."
      The softly spoken words put him in his place. "I'm in your debt." He shifted in the doorway, suddenly at sea. "D'ye have need of anything? I could make you a ladle, some tongs for the kitchen. A cowbell or two."
      "Might you have another book?"
      "How goes the Thomson?" he asked, remembering the poems he'd lent her.
      She smiled, the dimple in her cheek deepening. "Fareweek, ye bughts, an' all your ewes, An' fields whare bloomin' heather grows"
      Her Scots was so charmingly mangled he couldn't check a grin. "Here's another you might like." He stepped back into his room and produced a worn copy of brown leather. "I've but three more, other than the Buik."
      "The Buik?" she echoed, taking the offering.
      "The Bible."
      Something so poignant passed over her face at his answer, he found himself nearly holdings his breath. She asked quietly, "Might I have that instead?"
      He hesitated. "You have no family Bible?"
      The answer was in her eyes before it reached her lips. "Nay, no Bible... no Buik."
      He'd suspected the Lees had no Holy Writ, just as they said no prayers. And he sensed he'd erred in his asking, as she was turning the color of her red cape. "Mine is in Erse--Gaelic--or I'd give it to you straightaway."
      Her eyes filled with tears. His gut twisted. That she was thirsty for heavenly things, there could be no doubt. He'd oft felt the same so understood her need. Yet he had needs of his own. And he needed to distance himself, starting now...
      "Might you... read it to me?" she queried.
      Heat climbed up his neck. "'Tis a big book."
      She looked away and he saw her disappointment.
      "Aye, I will," he said. "But when--where?"
      When she glanced up at him again, her face held a rare resolve. "Here in the stairwell. I don't know when. Soon. For now I must see to noonday dinner."
      With that, she started down the steps. He watched her go, wanting to change his mind, call her back. The weight of what he'd just committed to, simple as it seemed, nearly made him groan. 'Twould be easier to simply attend kirk, he reasoned, thinking of the stone church atop the hill. He could see it now in the distance, had watched a few faithful congregants emerge despite the sullen weather a half hour before.
      He wanted no complications, no romantic entanglements. If Elspeth had asked him, he would have questioned her motives. There was a slyness about her, a cunning that was entirely absent in Eden. Aye, Eden was cut of a different cloth. With Eden, her hunger was for the Word, not him. Not time spent with him. And she was willing to risk her father's ire--for ire it would surely be--to get the spiritual sustenance she craved. Who was Silas to deny her?
      A snatch of a Gaelic Psalm wended its way through his tangled thoughts.

      My God with His lovingkindness shall come to meet me at every corner.

      Even in a stairwell.

Copyright 2012 by Laura Frantz. Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score:
It's too big a spoiler to tell you where a lot of these come from, but you'll see very early on in the story that Silas makes decisions rooted in his faith, his honor as a man, and to protect the people around him.

Wounded Score:

Here's an insider glimpse into the labor of love that is this blog. I spent a good forty minutes typing in a different excerpt that gave you a look into the scars on Silas, his body and his heart, but ultimately decided the one above showcased more layers of Silas and the tone of everyday interaction with Eden. For those of you who have read the novel, that second place excerpt was Silas's dream of his beloved homeland he wakes from in enough pain to pick up his father's violin. One of the many favorite moments I have of him in this novel, because it was such a pure glimpse into the life and heart he kept so hidden from everyone.

Softie Score:
From that dream I mentioned earlier we get a look at how good Silas is with kids, unlike Eden's sister Elspeth. It also got him a gallant orange head but he also writes a note for Eden and hides it in a book for her that will just melt your heart. Later as he helps her to grow in faith through some beautiful tender moments (that involve more writing) you're going to fall more in love with him. Just like Eden.

Stupid Strike:
A wounded hero always has a natural predisposition to react from anger and pain in a way they regret later. While I completely understand the combination of his own past and temper together with Eden's good intentions in a dark part of the novel taking them both in a direction I didn't want for either of them, I understood it. That's why there's no orange. As much as I wanted to rail at Silas to use all that strength to push past his own pain and Eden's and fight for them and their future, I understood what happened and why. It was a thin line for me between respecting her wishes and an inability to accept, confront and make peace with his past and the pain of the present. Back to the things I love about Silas and good Lord, there's just SO many.

Swoon Score:
There. That's better. If it seems I've tread much lighter through this hero feature than normal, I have. Love's Reckoning has such a powerful reader experience ripe with deceit, intrigue, longing, villains disguised as heroes and a hot mess of lies, coverups, and jealousy, that avoiding spoilers tied my fingers. What I can tell you is when Silas's nomination came in and I scoped the blurb on Amazon, nothing about it screamed FHF potential to me. Thankfully someone who shall not remain nameless, Stacey Zink, stayed on me. The ebook went on sale and I eventually reached it in my reading. Thank you Stacey and thank you Laura Frantz for creating such an epic hero in Silas Ballantyne. He was a sleeper of a hero but wow, hero-girls, Silas will get in your soul very quickly and own it until the last page. I wish I could put my hand in his just to know what it is to touch hands that can make such beautiful things, from guns to lanterns to music, that can make a fist and mead out justice, translate God's Word, and dry a tear with the tenderness of new snow.

About Silas Ballantyne's author Laura Frantz:

Award-winning historical novelist, Laura Frantz, was born into a family who followed the legendary frontiersman, Daniel Boone, to Kentucky during the turbulent 18th-century and still resides there today. Passionate about all things historical, she writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Celtic themes. Her family lineage is Scottish, English, and Irish. She is the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel's Lady, and Love's Reckoning: The Ballantyne Legacy.

Frantz 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

The FHF exclusive directly from the author:

Silas has always struggled mightily with his temper, something that landed him in grave trouble early on. When living in the Scottish Highlands on the Duke of Atholl's estate, he threatened to kill the  duke's son. As was common in this time period, Jamie Murray, the duke's heir, had seduced Silas's sister and she later died in childbirth. When Silas turned volatile, his family was evicted from the estate as part of the Highland clearances, even though Silas's father held the coveted position of fiddler and composer to the duke. Silas had to live with the fact that he was responsible for his family's sad fate, something that led to his conversion and his driving ambition to establish the Ballantyne legacy.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble  Christianbook.com

The giveaways:

One copy of Love's Reckoning: The Ballantyne Legacy (winner's choice of format, print of ebook)
For Love's Reckoning existing readers, $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble giftcard.

Please include if you would like to be entered for the book or for the gift card and if your profile won't let me look up your e-mail, please include your address in a spam fighting format like silasb at musicandmetal dot com. 
IMPORTANT: For the giftcard drawing, as always we need the name of a character not used in the excerpt or the feature and once that character has been used, please choose another.

Winners will be announced February 14th, 2013.

Hero girls chime in please: Is the feature easier to read with the light and dark orange reversed like this? If you can't stand the black background (or anything else) this is the time to say so. Also, I won't be able to comment and interact as much this month but know that I'm watching the comments and will get everyone in their appropriate drawing. Lots going on with my own heroes I hope to be able to share soon.

Now let's play!


Melissa Jagears said...

Um, I can read it on your blog, but it was Horrible in my blog reader. I'd say kill it. I took the advice of someone who said he wouldn't sign up for my blog unless I did the normal white background, black letters, and when I did, three people signed up right then siting (is that how you spell that) that they signed up because they could read it better.

And I got a kick out of reading your gushing over Silas, the hand-holding thing. ha ha, Are you married???? Hubby just might be a bit jealous over Silas. :)

And I've read it, so let me go look up a character - Stephen Elliot the board president.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks, Melissa. That's helpful. I know why it did that in blogger and will show up in the feed yellow. I think it's citing (yeah I looked it up at my fave website lately, www.wordhippo.com). But I didn't know either, hehe.

I got you in the giftcard drawing with STEPHEN ELLIOT

I know I need to do some site overhauling in the spring. For one I want the roster to include the covers and now that the blog is growing exponentially, I need to be more aware of how we look and our readability across a broader platform. But for right now, back to my manuscript. =) Always great to see you here, on FB or Seekerville.

Marianne Barkman said...

Nancy...it is hard on my eyes to read your blog this way. Normally i wouldn't comment on a blog look, but you did ask. And i would love to be entered to win Laura's novel. Love your review! Thanks


Library Lady said...

My two favorite gifts for Valentine's Day, a book & a gift card.
If I win, I would like to receive the book, "Love's Reckoning" by Laura Frantz.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so.
Janet Estridge

Patty said...

I don't have a hard time reading it, but I do prefer black type over color.

As for this book, can't wait to read it! I just recently read Laura's first two books and need to get my hands on a copy of 'The Colonel's Lady. They were all great.


Laura Frantz said...

Oh my! Happy Friday, ladies! I'm on west coast time so am a little late to the party but thrilled to be here nonetheless. So good to see Melissa here and meet Marianne and Janet and Patty. Patty, thanks very much for taking time for Lael and Morrow's stories. I hope you enjoy my rascally Colonel McLinn and Roxanna just as much!

And Nancy, I had heard about you and those orange heads but it took dear Stacey to bring us together. Still smiling over that:) Love your commentary and pics and insights into Silas and his world. You have a wonderful writing style! Thanks so much for making Friday special.

Carla Olson Gade said...

What a fun post! Laura writes such amazing heroes, and Silas is a worthy addition. That was one of my favorite scenes that you posted.

J.W. Doering said...

I've not read anything by Laura Frantz, but I love books written with a Celtic 'heart'. My husband's grandmother is from Scotland, so I hope to visit there one day. I have read and enjoyed the 'Lowlands of Scotland' series by Liz Curtis Higgs and it sounds like 'Love's Reckoning' is very similar in style. I would love to be entered in the drawing to win a copy!

As far as the blog format is concerned, I do not mind the black background & bright letters. I've heard that dark backgrounds are easier on your eyes and have found that to be true. Maybe change it to a grey and have white or pink letters instead?

Laura Frantz said...

Carla! A true joy to see you here:) Given those deadlines of yours, I feel so blessed. Thanks for your kind words about this scene. I think it's so interesting we authors have favorite ones. This is one of mine, too.

Laura Frantz said...

Hi J.W. So good to meet you here. I hope you do get to Scotland one day. It's always been a dream of mine as well and I went just last month with Liz Curtis Higgs:) She's one of my favorite authors. Love the series of hers you mention as well as Mine is the Night and Here Burns My Candle. And if you haven't read her My Heart is the Lowlands, please do! I just finished that one before the trip.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy Friday to be here!

Stacey said...

Thank you for reviewing this book, Nancy! It was one of my favorite's that Laura has written. Of course, I am guilty of saying that with all of her books. She is such a talented writer. I encourage everyone to buy this book, because the journey will be worth every minute invested.

Now, a character not mentioned...David Greathouse.

Angi said...

Oh Nancy! So glad you had Silas on FHF. Yes, I've read the book, and have to say that it is possitively one of my all time FAVORITE books, and Silas, one of my all time favorite heroes. While I've loved all of Laura's books, this one just swept me away. I literally didn't want it to end. So thank you for featuring it here. No need to enter me in the drawing. I just wanted to drop by to show my support. :)

Nancy Kimball said...

I love that you both shared this because it validates that was the right one. When I'm reading a novel, I bookmark places where the hero is beginning to look like an FHF hero, and the moment that I know he is, and the rest of them and then when I sit down to write the feature I think about his character elements and which one will best showcase him, the story, and engage the hero-girls.
Clearly that was one of my favorite scenes, too. hehe. Carla, nice to "meet" you. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Laura, it's a treat to see you spending time with the hero-girls new and old and some new faces of your readership.

I so appreciate the feedback on format and took the time to clean up some typos in the post. They were very much my mistakes, especially in the excerpt. We should be all fixed now and thanks for overlooking them. That's what happens when you're finishing it caffeinated out of your mind two hours before it's due to post. Again my fault because Laura got me what I needed from her weeks ago, hehe.

Stacey, thank YOU. This is exactly why this blog exists. Find and feature the very best of the Christian Fiction Heroes. I see your giftcard entry there with DAVID GREATHOUSE.

Angi, appreciate it so much. You are very much one of the names and faces that pop us when I think of the hero-girls.

Everyone else, thank you so much and I wish I had the time to respond to each of you but know you're all important and I'm loving the support for Silas and FHF.

Nancy K

Sally Bradley said...

Love Laura and her books. Sounds like you haven't read her book Courting Morrow Little yet. Read it, and you'll have her here again. :)

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in the giveaway for the book. I like the black background. It's easier on my eyes.


Laura Frantz said...

Stacey, I owe you a huge debt of thanks for being a super marketer for Silas:) He appreciates that as do I! And for linking Nancy and I. I'm so impressed with her site here and several of my Facebook friends have said the same. I was in the dark about those orange heads but now feel in the loop:) Thrilled Silas is more orange than not! Nancy is a wonderful writer, too, as are you.

You're brave to mention David G!

Laura Frantz said...

Angi, SO thrilled you and Nancy are already buddies here:) And thanks so much for your kind words. They always bless me and encourage me to write on:)

Laura Frantz said...

Nancy, It's a real gift to be here. You are quite popular and a fine writer - your commentary about the book is just stellar. You really "got" the book.

As for the colors and font, all shows up well for me on my end. I didn't notice any typos! Thanks again for a wonderful post.

Laura Frantz said...

Sally, That's high praise coming from you, my friend. Thanks so much for mentioning RS:) Great to know he's not forgotten. Happy Friday to you!

Laura Frantz said...

Thanks, Rose, for stopping by this busy Friday. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Whitney said...

Ah, another worthy hero feature, Nancy! One I’m sure too love. :) I must say that I just skimmed the post because I'm about to start this book, and I hate knowing too much about a book/movie before reading/watching it. Have no fear, I will return to it later. :)

You may, however, toss my name in the hat for a copy of Love's Reckoning. Can’t wait to hear more about your own heroes. :)

Hi, Laura! *waves* It's been such a blast running into you everywhere. Nancy definitely had quite the fun idea with the orange heads. Hehe.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this. Since I already have The Reckoning I would prefer the giftcard for Amazon. Two of the characters not mentioned are Jemma and Isaac. Thanks! Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Anonymous said...

About the colors, the black is much better. I could hardly read the light yellow on white. Maxie

Noela Nancarrow said...

Ohhh reading this brought me back, great to see my favourite fictional hero of all time featured here! Never has a character captured my heart and imagination like our Silas Ballantyne! As Laura (and my hubby, lol) knows, I'm completely and utterly in love with this hero!! Wheest, he can read to me anytime!! :)

Abbi Hart said...

This is a great book! And Silas is definitely a worthy hero! I loved all your commentary on him. My first thought for a name was Sebastian the dog but I'm not sure if he counts as a character so I'll name Judge O'Hara! I'mm really looking forward to reading more Laura Frantz books in the future I already have Courting Morrow Little in paperback and The Frontiersman's Daughter on my kindle!

I like the blog colors as they are!

Laura Frantz said...

Whitney, Oh, you're the best:) But I've probably already told you that at least once today! Isn't Nancy clever with those heroes?! Thrilled you want to meet Silas. Happy Friday to you!

Laura Frantz said...

Hi Maxie, Thanks for mentioning Jemma and Isaac. I miss Jemma very much:) Hope you win! Happy Friday.

Laura Frantz said...

Love that WHEEST, dear Noela:) It says so much. He can read to me anytime, too! Can't wait for you to meet Jack, Ellie's hero. I will have a cover for you very soon!

Laura Frantz said...

Abbi, LOVE that you thought of Sebastian:) He sure deserves at least half a vote! Thanks so much for taking time for Lael and Morrow, too. What would we do without Kindle and those e-readers? Or readers like you!!?? Thanks so much for making my Friday a memorable one!

Amada Chavez said...

I WOULD LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this!!! Thanks for the opportunity! :)

Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)


Pam K. said...

I've been wanting to read Love's Reckoning for awhile; this review makes me want to read it very soon! I'd love to win a print copy.
You asked about the orange print. In the e-mail version I received, it was orange on white, which was hard to read. The orange on black here is easier.
Thanks for giving away a copy of this book.


Laura Frantz said...

Hi Amada! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for you to win this, too! Thanks so much for your enthusiasm:) It's priceless.

Laura Frantz said...

Pam, Thanks for stopping here and wanting to read Eden's story. Would love to have a book come your way! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Deborah D said...

I would love to enter into the drawing for the Gift card. Character not mention is Isabel O'Hara.


Marissa said...

Aaaaahhhhh!!! I'm so excited to see Silas as the Hero this month! I absolutely love this book!!! I'm so glad I finally got to read it! Well worth my time. :) For the gift card: one character not mentioned is Giles Esh.

I can read the orange and black just fine!


Laura Frantz said...

Deborah, Thanks for reading and mentioning Isabel! She reappears in book 2. Have a blessed weekend.

Laura Frantz said...

Oh Marissa, You've made my day! Thanks so much for your kind words and the mention of Giles. I'd nearly forgotten him right along with Eden;) So happy you're friends with Nancy and those heroes of hers. Have a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book!
Thanks for the opportunity.
Katie J.

Teddy said...

Ooo, please enter me for the book! I've seen it advertised online several times but never found it at the library. =-( It sounds wonderful!

happygret said...

About the orange on black. I read FHF on my laptop and love it. No trouble seeing it.
Silas sounds like a great character. You know I look to you for what to add to my TBR pile :-)

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I keep seeing Laura Frantz's name pop up on a lot of the book blogs I follow --I really need to see if the library has some of her books! Thank you for the opportunity to win her latest!

Regarding the orange on black, I think it's alright to read, but I don't prefer it over the "normal" black text/white background. =)


Samantha Kuiper said...

I would love to win this book! I have read every single book by Ms. Frantz, except for Love's Reckoning, and they all are wonderful reads!

I do like the orange and black but sometimes it is hard to read depending on where I am reading it off of. :)

April Gardner said...

You had me at Laura Frantz. Nuf said, right? LOL BTW, Yesterday, I picked up last month's FHF (Ridley) and am already falling head over heels for him. :-)

Jasmine A. said...

Please enter me in the Book Giveaway :) I have been wanting to read one of Laura's books for quite awhile.
Have a great day!
Jasmine A.

Lane Hill House said...

MARGARET the housekeeper for The Ten Dollars to put toward another of your books at Amazon!
This looks like Halloween to me and hard to read; the orange seems "fluorescent"(like chartreuse is between yellow and green), and over time, hard to read on black. Guess I just like reading on a lighter color.
Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

Amy Campbell said...

Has Pastor McCheyne been used. I don't see it, so I'm gonna go with it. :)
I love Laura's books! I've all of them except The Colonel's Lady. I just ordered it though with a gift card I got for my birthday. :)
The colors of the blog are okay with me. May be different on my mobile though.
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Michelle Sutton said...

I'm voting for Silas! I loved this book and it was at the top of my list of over 104 books I read last year (tied with one other) and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who loves good historical fiction and romantic tension. Yum! Silas is a real honey!

Brittany Britta said...

As far as how your blog looks, I think the orange letters are just a little bright on my eyes. But I can read them ok.
I would love to win a copy of the book though!

bluegrassbirdie at gmail dot com.

Megan Parsons said...

I would love to win the book! I love the orange text on the black on your blog. It makes it easier to read!
makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

Cathy Richmond said...

Oh, Silas! I love how the heroic way he stood up to the bullies in Eden's life. Apprenticeship was akin to slavery (Rosslyn Elliot's Fairer Than Morning showed the misery of apprenticeship, too). When Eden saw how Silas stood up to her father and Elspeth, it gave her a little hope and helped her grow a little stronger. Oh that Elspeth! When is the next book in this series coming out? I can't wait!!!

Johnette Ferguson said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog...if you don't mind my honesty...the color choice hurts my eyes...but I can read it.I don't mind the black at all..and a pop of color is great..but this color just hurts me...lol. I would love to be entered to win the book! My e-mail is sunydey26@aol.com.
Thank you!!

Teresa Hall said...

Nancy, careful about using that "white,"..... it doesn't work, remember??????? : ) Love, mom

P.S. Hope you enjoy your chocolates on Valentine's Day. YOU are MY hero!

Nancy Kimball said...

You girls are WONDERFUL! Lots of important feedback on the layout that I so appreciate and will be taking that into consideration when it's time to make website and blog updates.

And lots and lots of support for Silas and for Laura. Reaffirms he was FHF material for sure. I love it when that happens!


A copy of Love's Reckoning in format of her choice is Samantha Kuiper.
A $10 giftcard to Amazon or B&N is Amy Campbell.

Happy Valentine's Day and our newest hero posts in less than 24 hours. See you all soon. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks, Mom. I did. Always a good day when you drop by my little corner of the web. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

104 books! That is awesome but I want to know which one it tied with! Share! Share!

Nancy Kimball said...

Excellent. =D