Title: The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn
Author: Lori Bentson
2014, Waterbrook Press
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Frontier dangers cannot hold a candle to the risks one woman takes by falling in love.
In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn't come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.
Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble headed their way, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin as been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As her pursuers draw ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all - loving a man who has risked everything for her?
This is the first book I've read by this author. It is set in North Carolina in 1797 - soon after the Revolutionary War. It is told from the POV of Tamsen Littlejohn and Jesse Bird.
I really enjoyed this novel. It had enough snippits of historical facts in it to be interesting, but didn't spend so much time on them that it bogged down the story. I even learned a few things! I learned that at one time there was a State of Franklin some of the history around it. Who knew?
I was a little worried at first that the story was going to be a little too far-fetched for me. Tamsen running off with an Overmountain Man that she didn't know at all seemed a little crazy to me - even though I knew she was desperate. I got over it though because I liked what followed. I was pleasantly surprised that Tamsen and Jesse - although thrown together and alone - didn't fall immediately into one another's arms. Some time was taken to develop their relationship and I really appreciated that as a reader. As a lover of those marriage of convenience novels, I appreciated a novel in which they didn't use that "convenience" as an excuse for rushing into something they probably shouldn't.
I enjoyed all the secondary characters and how they brought a lot of interest to the story. Jesse's involvement with the Cherokee Indians was also interesting and I thought the author portrayed them in a very positive light. I also learned that a breachclout is not just two pieces of material hanging down as I thought... but actually covers from front, under and then to the back. Again... who knew?
Tamsen and Jesse's journey is fraught with danger and many lessons. At one point I thought it was going on a little too long, but then the resolution at the end started - perfect timing! I loved the way it ended and was satisfied with all the characters. I especially liked how the author kept bring to light how God works to bring all things together in his timing.
I really enjoyed this novel and would definitely pick up another by this author. I really appreciated how much historical research she must have done to make this novel possible.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Want to know more?
Read Chapter One