In The Mistress of Tall Acre, Laura Frantz explores the time period directly following the American Revolution. What is life like for a young woman whose family was on “the wrong side”of the war, a heroine left friendless in the new United States with her home under threat of confiscation?
Sophie Menzies is an endearing and sensible heroine. At the close of the war, she is sinking into poverty, alone and ostracized in her home Three Chimneys. The only person who doesn’t seem to care that her father had Tory connections is Seamus Ogilvy, the American war-hero whose young daughter has befriended Sophie. As a widower, Seamus quickly sees Sophie as a good candidate to provide a mother for his daughter. But even though she agrees to his proposal, he still has no assurance that her heart can ever belong to him….
I used to really, really dislike American historical fiction. For me, books set in America have always lacked the richness of the Old World setting that I love in historical novels. Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Calico Captive were two exceptions that captured my fancy, but taken as a whole, American HF was not for me.
Laura Frantz has changed my mind on this subject. Courting Morrow Little and her Ballantyne Legacy trilogy make 18th century frontier life, abolitionists, and westward expansion almost as interesting as…well, as the Black Plague or the Battle of Agincourt. The Mistress of Tall Acre is a wonderful addition to the Frantz canon. Its well-rounded characters and satisfying romance flesh out a period of history I would never have thought to explore.