Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Wood's Edge (The Pathfinders #1) by Lori Benton

24450417This review was written by: B
Received: Blogging for Books
Publication Date of Book: April 2015
Pages: 400
Stars: 4.5/5

Official Summary:

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:
For me, historical fiction novels have always been a hit or miss.  There has never quite been an in-between, and I am frequently left disappointed and unfortunately bored.  Having said that, The Wood's Edge completely blew me away and exceeded all of my expectations with unrivaled ease.  You can tell from page one that the story was beautifully woven together with passion and tenderness.  The scenes and events that created the masterpiece that I now write about were stunning and alive, blending the perfect amount of history and fiction together for the journey of a lifetime.  I will admit, however, that it took me about one hundred pages to actually feel invested in the book, but then I became undeniably  hooked and was unable to let it out of my sight.  I would have gladly accepted The Wood's Edge if it were nine hundred pages instead of three hundred eighty.  I was so entirely and utterly engrossed with the characters' lives that no amount of pages could have discouraged me from growing dispassionate towards them.  I am dying to read more of the Path Finders series!

There is something truly unique about this book.  While it contained a large cast of characters, I felt empathy and an attachment towards all of them.  It can be so easy for a reader to feel overwhelmed when presented with too much information or a surplus of people all at once, but Lori Benton somehow managed to pull my heartstrings again and again, allowing me to fall in love with everyone ten times over.  Also, this story encompasses more than just a few years during the 1700s.  In fact, it covers almost two decades, and in that time the characters grew into wonderful, inspirational people.  If you think about it, three hundred eighty pages seems to be an insufficient amount of space to span two entire decades over, but Benton fluidly flowed through the years so naturally that it was barely noticeable.  On top of that, I do not believe that I have ever seen so much character development in a novel before.  The Wood's Edge is simply perfection.   

I can only begin to imagine how much research Benton must have had to conduct in order to put this story together.  It is unfathomable.  As a reader, I found the culture of the Oneida people to be mesmerizing, and their way of life was well explored.  This Christian novel was a moving, inspiring, enthralling, and captivating read.  I was spellbound, and my family had to rip it from my hands to get my attention.  This is my first Lori Benton novel, and you can definitely expect me to be reading more from her in the future.  She has proven herself to be a dedicated and capable author.  I can't wait for A Flight of Arrows to come out!!!!  Perhaps this is what they call addiction.    

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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