The Wood’s Edge

The Wood’s EdgeThe Wood's Edge by Lori Benton
Series: The Pathfinders
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Waterbrook Press on April 1, 2015
Pages: 400
Also in this series: A Flight of Arrows
Also by this author: A Flight of Arrows

 

A father bearing the weight of an unspeakable crime. Two women, filled with compassion and longing for love. A family torn apart by grief and seeking retribution. Lori Benton brings all these characters together in The Wood’s Edge, a historical fiction set against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War in America.

Whereas some novels are fairly predictable in terms of their endings, I truly had no idea how this story was going to end.

I do not want to say much else in terms of the plot, or I’ll give too much away! The story is such that a great deal of its pleasure comes from the sheer surprise and uncertainty of how the events will unfold. Whereas some novels are fairly predictable in terms of their endings, I truly had no idea how this story was going to end. So to avoid spoilers, I won’t deal with any specifics from the plot.

The depth of research to The Wood’s Edge is admirable. If you enjoy fiction that becomes a study on a lesser-known portion of history, then the Revolutionary War – the conflict in America between the British, Confederates and the native Indian nations in the eighteenth century – is a historical event you will enjoy learning about for its richness and complexity. From the complex snatches of language to the details of Oneida Indian ceremonies, the author has outdone herself in terms of creating an authentic setting for this story.

As a reader who likes to know more about people rather than places and politics, I did find some of the intricate details of history a little hard to swallow.

There are quite a few principal characters to follow and it was a bit jarring to jump from one perspective to another at times. However, they all fit beautifully into the setting, believable and likeable – even those that are terribly flawed.

I have to say that this was a story of two halves for me. At the start I felt it dragged a little, perhaps simply because there was quite a bit to learn in terms of the historical detail. As a reader who likes to know more about people rather than places and politics, I did find some of the intricate details of history a little hard to swallow. That said, it is necessary for authenticity’s sake, and the characters still came through to capture my attention and thus kept me reading.

The romance was sweet, the author’s use of language is beautiful, and the story flowed with such moving depth and breath-taking tenacity towards its conclusion.

By the middle of the book, however, I was hooked. The stakes were just so high in terms of what happened, and I felt the emotional weight of every decision and action made. I was tense and even a little tearful at times. The romance was sweet, the author’s use of language was beautiful, and the story flowed with such moving depth and breath-taking tenacity towards its conclusion. I was slightly exhausted by its end, but the journey was worth it.

So, in conclusion: if you’re seeking a novel that gently entertains you and isn’t too demanding a read, then maybe you’ll want to leave The Wood’s Edge for another time. But keep it on the ‘to-read’ list.

I first wasn’t convinced by it, but as the enormity of its events came to a head I realised how much I cared for the characters. I also realised how effective and impacting its faith message was, particularly on the subjects of atonement and reconciliation. A treasure of a novel.

–Christel


In a moment of weakness and grief, Major Reginald Aubrey makes a decision, that just minutes prior would have been unthinkable. But looking at the sleeping woman with her healthy twin newborn boys, Reginald makes the fateful choice to exchange one of her living children for his dead son. The decision is impulsive—an attempt to protective his wife and her fragile mind. However, the consequences are far reaching and what grief he hoped to assuage is quickly replaced with years of self-loathing and strained family relations.

Good Voice knows the dead child is not her own. Unfortunately, Fort William Henry is falling and in order to survive with her living child, she has to move forward hoping to one day recover her stolen child. But the stress and grief caused by her missing son eventually tears her family apart. Can anything salvage the broken pieces and reunite her family with their kidnapped son? With strong suspense, a complex plot, and compelling characters, The Wood’s Edge is a fabulous book even for those who would not typically read historical romance.

Lori writes compelling fiction that transcends the historical romance genre, able to appeal to a wide range of readers.

Generally, I do not read historical romance, but in Lori Benton, I’ve found an author that writes books I enjoy, regardless of their genre classification. Her books have strong suspense, realistic characters, intriguing stories, enjoyable romance, and great historical details that balances well with the fiction. In short, Lori writes compelling fiction that transcends the historical romance genre, able to appeal to a wide range of readers.

The Wood’s Edge spans about 20 years, beginning during the French and Indian war and continuing through to the start of the American Revolution. During this time period, a lot happens not only to the main characters, but also to the colonist and the Native American population as a whole. Lori does a wonderful job of integrating the history of the time period with the story of the characters while managing to keep the book engaging through what could easily become a plodding expanse of years. Throughout this book, the reader gets a wonderful glimpse of the difficulties facing both cultures. For those familiar with American History, many of the struggles will not be surprising, but the presentation of these situations certainly leaves an emotional impression and gives the reader something to think about.

The Wood’s Edge is perfect for a book club.

This book is perfect for a book club. There are many philosophical and spiritual topics begging for further group discussion. One of these topics I found particularly interesting was the missionary Samuel Kirkland and his influence on the Oneida culture. Lori provides a great balance between the benefits of Christianity and the sometimes legalist approach of Kirkland. While the affect this part of the story has on the characters is important to the book, it is also prompts the reader to see the far-reaching consequences of missionary work, both positive and potentially negative.

The presentation of the romantic portion of The Wood’s Edge is quite refreshing. The romance between the characters has a gradual progression that feels natural instead of an instant attraction that lacks depth. Not only is the romance believable, it adds to the story rather than interrupting the story. The end result is a romantic storyline that it satisfying for romance lovers, but also appealing to those who prefer less quantity and more quality romance in their stories.

The romance between the characters has a gradual progression that feels natural instead of an instant attraction that lacks depth.

The characters in The Wood’s Edge are wonderful. I’m thrilled that they’ll be back for another book! They are vibrant and ignite a whole range of emotions. Regardless of their role in the story or base personality, they are enjoyable to follow and their development is quite natural. At times it is difficult to know how they will handle a situation, but each decision (good or bad) makes sense and follows a logical path to a believable conclusion.

One of the best parts of this book is the irony. Much of it leads to questions about God—be it obedience or patience with His plan. In so many ways, the story is guided and directed by God whether the characters recognize it or not. Through a tangled web of irony, The Wood’s Edge points a clear path to God’s purpose.

It has a strong intelligent storyline with good suspense, wonderfully realistic characters, insightful spiritual themes, and excellent historical background.

This book offers great entertainment for all types of readers. It has a strong intelligent storyline with good suspense, wonderfully realistic characters, insightful spiritual themes, and excellent historical background. Just like Lori’s first two books, The Wood’s Edge is a highly enjoyable story that’s engaging from page one. I’m so looking forward to the second book in The Path Finders series!

–Melissa

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