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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Book Review: The Wood's Edge



Have you ever picked up a book and put off reading it because of the sheer length of it?  I admit, I did it to this book without giving it it a chance.  I received it in early June along with a few other books to read and being that this one is almost 400 pages long, I put it aside and instead read the shorter books on my list.  Two night ago, I finally picked it back up: the synopsis intrigued me and I knew I wanted to at least get a few pages into it.

What ended up happening is that I spent the next two days reading it straight two nights in a row, staying up til the wee hours of the morning because I was so enthralled with this book.  When I got down to the last 60 pages, I actually wished that this book had at least another 200 pages because it was that good.

Synopsis:

At the wood's edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald's wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood's edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin's absence, another unaware of his twin's existence. And for Anna, who loves them both--Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

My Thoughts:

It is very rare for me to give a 5 star rating for a book but in this case, each star is well deserved.

From the first page, this story captures your attention and manages to hold it through to the last page and leaves you wanting more (and luckily, Lori Benton decided to make this a series and is scheduled to release the second book in 2016).  This is the story of love, rejection, grief, guilt, hate, and about forgiveness through God's love.

Lori Benton excels as a writing, weaving a beautiful story.  While this book does follow multiple characters and their personal stories, Benton succeeds at making each character a relevant part of the story, each contributing a piece of the overall puzzle.  None of these characters are lily white and each have their flaws and secrets that makes them believable.   There are a few occasions one might read a particular passage and think "Why is this in here? Get back to the main story!!" and then later those interactions come back to add something important to what is going on.

It is also obvious that Benton had thoroughly researched the Oneida people and the historic events that surrounded them at the time this book takes place.  The Native people presented in this book are not "stereotype" but instead the reader is given the opportunity to see their interactions from an everyday family life standpoint rather than savages.  The Native culture is presented with respect to the people and Tribal customs, which is always a plus in my book (being of Native American heritage).  

I highly recommend this book to everyone.  But be warned, once you read it and then finish it, you'll be waiting for A Flight of Arrows, the second book of the Pathfinder series, to be released next year.


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