The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

Monday, September 14, 2015

About the Book:
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
Source: Publisher (via Life is Story)
Publication Date:
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Genre: Fiction; Historical Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

Historical fiction, no matter the market or genre, is hit or miss for me. I enjoy history, but certain periods in time do little to capture interest. Perhaps it might have something to do with having seen a period drama visualize a period in history that didn’t appeal, or maybe it’s simply the aptitude of the characters effect. Whatever, many historical novels just aren’t my cup of tea. Laura Frantz’s writing has delighted readers everywhere and her latest has been met with no less enthusiasm. It’s not difficult to understand why.

Independent (relatively so) of her renowned Ballytyne Legacy novels, opening these pages will introduce readers to Sophie and Seamus. Sophie is the unmarried daughter of a “traitor” in the revolutionary war, a war that is only just over. With her father back in Scotland, Sophie is left behind, trying to make a go of their home as she awaits her brother’s return. As his former commander, Seamus hears the rumors of Sophie’s brother and his return to Scotland before his neighbor hears news of her brother’s whereabouts. But for now, life moves on following the turmoil of a war. Seamus is back at Tall Acre with a small daughter who barely knows him. As relatives attempt to take her away and Sophie nearly loses her home, the most logical solution seems for the two to marry and present a united front… but at what cost will this marriage of convenience come?

Anyone who picks up this novel will find it impossible to put down. The story that begins to take shape is like a master painting as Laura brushes each layer over top of another in a masterful artist rendering of these characters and their lives that come alive in the most vivid of ways. To begin with, the story is a poignant one. Having two people fall in love post-marriage allows some liberties that, if rendered well is sure to produce some of the most genuine love stories there are in fiction. Laura’s novel achieves this and then some. Sophie and Seamus’ relationship is absolutely beautiful. Even that lone word seems inadequate. Every moment, progressive act or conversation is full of every emotion it needs to be in order to fulfill the reader. Adding a young child to the mix enhances rather than detracts from any of the story cues.

If any potential flaws do creep into the elegant narrative, it’d be the eventual climax. Some may find it either too “contrived” to be believable for the story or perhaps a bit too horrid for their liking. Lest I give away spoilers, this is all I’m willing to say, but I will also clarify, I didn’t mind the direction the story took. It was really all very interesting and for a time, the expected conflict keeps the reader guessing. Combining elements of mystery (almost “gothic” in nature, albeit not in a scary way) and genuine romance coupled with a setting rich in history is the trappings of Laura Frantz’s latest novel. The historical aspects seem expertly woven into the fictional portions, marrying the two in a most attractive fashion. From the language to the dresses, the author seems to know her stuff. It was a 400+ page book I was hard-pressed to put down, so lost was I in the wonderings of what else was about to visit these characters and challenge them, only to end up never breaking their spirits and instead, making them stronger.

This review first appeared on Life is Story.

Sincere thanks to Revell Books for a complimentary copy of this novel.


  1. Sounds good. I'll have to put it on my to read list.

    1. It IS indeed an amazing story, Kaylee. I'm not the biggest historical aficionado, but this novel... it's quite lovely. :) Enjoy!

  2. I really hope to read this soon!! I read Laura Frantz for the first time this year, and WOW...what a storyteller! She has quite the gift.

    1. She IS a lovely storyteller. I agree, Heather. This was the best I'd read by her. So fabulous - wishing you happy reading! :)

  3. I just grabbed this one from NG and I'm so glad I did since you gave it 5 stars. I just skimmed your review, so I'll have to come back after I've read it. :)

    1. Wishing you happy reading, Tressa. I hope this one meets your expectations; it was a wonderful read for me. :)

  4. "... wonderings of what else was about to visit these characters and challenge them, only to end up never breaking their spirits and instead, making them stronger." So wonderfully said! This is a beautiful review of an equally beautiful book. (there we go with the word "beautiful" again :) But is there any other way to describe Laura's work?

    I didn't think the climax was too "contrived", though I was a bit frustrated with the extra hints & things the synopsis said prematurely. But, I've already said that in my review. My frustration has in no way overshadowed the bigger story or my love for this book. It's a favorite, for sure!

    1. I don't think so, Courtney! Though I feel (in this story), "beautiful" is inadequate. :)

      You are perhaps right about the ending. I suppose more what I should have said it ended in expected ways (i.e., everything wrapped up nicely so as to uncomplicated the complicated... or some such phrasing ;D). I read my stuff as much as I can prior to posting it, but I hesitate changing anything I submit elsewhere... when it's just here, I edit stuff all the time. ;) I agree about the synopsis too! Though, it wound up being amazing, so I didn't mind in the least - kind of a surprise, which is always a plus when reading fiction. :)

      One of my all-time favorites. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Courtney. Always glad to have you visit. :)


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