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Tea Party Winners: Vicki Talley McCollum's Never Say Goodbye, A National Park Romance novella goes to: Caryl Kane, Deanne Patterson, Deana Dick, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners Beverly Duell-Moore and Cindy Pratt, Roseanna White's winners - Betti Mace, Gabrielle Meyer's winners -, Deb Marvin's paperback winner - Rachel Dodson

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz - Great Read for July 4th!!!



Laura Frantz is the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel's Lady (click here to purchase) and credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's ancestors followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides. Laura's upcoming release is titled "Love's Reckoning" and releases September 1, 2012.

"Family, faith, and friendships, and the intricacies of a woman's yearning heart are finely mixed ingredients in The Frontiersman's Daughter, a story as healing as Lael's herbs. You'll disappear into another place and time and be both encouraged and enriched for having taken the journey."--Jane Kirkpatrick

One woman searches for love--and herself--in a wild land.

Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded. Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills. But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself--and the power of grace and redemption.


Chapter One

Kentucke, Indian Territory, 1777

In the fading lavender twilight, at the edge of a clearing, stood half a dozen Shawnee warriors. They looked to the small log cabin nestled in the bosom of the greening ridge, as earthy and unassuming as the ground it sat upon. If not for the cabin’s breathtaking view of the river and rolling hills, arguably the finest in the territory, most passersby would easily dismiss such a place, provided they found it at all. The Indians regarded it with studied intent, taking in the sagging front porch, the willow baskets and butter churn to one side, and the vacant rocking chair still astir from the hurry of a moment before. Six brown bodies gleamed with bear grease, each perfectly still, their only movement that of sharp, dark eyes.

Inside the cabin, Ezekial Click handed a rifle to his son, Ransom, before opening the door and stepping onto the porch. His wife, Sara, took up a second gun just inside. A sudden breath of wind sent the spent blossoms of a lone dogwood tree scurrying across the clearing. From the porch, Click began speaking in the Shawnee tongue. Slowly. Respectfully. A smattering of Shawnee followed—forceful yet oddly, even hauntingly, melodic.

Sara and Ransom darted a glance out the door, troubled by every word, yet the unintelligible banter continued. At last, silence came. And then, in plain English, one brave shouted, “Click, show us your pretty daughter!”

Within the cabin, all eyes fastened on the girl hovering on the loft steps. At thirteen, Lael Click was just a slip of a thing, but her oval face showed a woman’s composure. Her pale green eyes fastened on her father’s back just beyond the yawning door frame.

She put one cautious foot to the floor, then tread the worn pine boards until she stood in her father’s shadow. She dared not look at her mother. Without further prompting she stepped forward into a dying shaft of sunlight. A sudden breeze caught the hem of her thin indigo shift and it ballooned, exposing two bare brown feet.

The same brave shouted, “Let down your hair!” She hesitated, hearing her mother’s sharp intake of breath. With trembling hands she reached for the horn combs that held back the weight of fair hair. Her mane tumbled nearly to her feet, as tangled and luxuriant as wild honeysuckle vine.

Woven in with the evening shadows was a chorus of tree frogs and katydids and the scent of soil and spring, but Lael noticed none of these things. Beside her, her father stood stoically and she fought to do the same, remembering his oft-repeated words of warning: Never give way to fear in an Indian’s sight.

Softly she expelled a ragged breath, watching as each warrior turned away. Only the tallest tarried, his eyes lingering on her as she swept up her hair with unsteady hands and subdued it with the combs.

At last they were gone, slipping away into the wall of woods. Invisible but ever present. Silent. Perhaps deadly.


*****

Evening was a somber affair, as if the Shawnee themselves had stayed for supper. To Lael, the cold cornbread and buttermilk that filled their wooden bowls seemed as tasteless as the cabin’s chinking. Somehow she managed a sip of cider and a half-hearted bite now and then. Across from her, her mother managed neither. Only her younger brother Ransom ate, taking his portion and her own, as if oblivious to all the trouble.

Looking up, she saw a hint of a smile on her father’s face. Was he trying to put her at ease? Not possible. He sat facing the cabin door, his loaded rifle lounging against the table like an uninvited guest. Despite his defensive stance, he seemed not at all anxious like her ma but so calm she could almost believe the Indians had simply paid them a social call and they could go on about their business as if nothing had happened.

He took out his hunting knife, sliced a second sliver of cornbread, then stood. Lael watched his long shadow fall across the table and caught his quick wink as he turned away. Swallowing a smile, she concentrated on the cabin’s rafters and the ropes strung like spider webs above their heads. The sight of her favorite coverlet brought some comfort, its pattern made bright with dogwood blossoms and running vines. Here and there hung linsey dresses, a pair of winter boots, some woolen leggins, strings of dried apples and leather-britches beans, bunches of tobacco, and other sundry articles. Opposite was the loft where she and Ransom slept.

The cabin door creaked then closed as Pa disappeared onto the porch, leaving her to gather up the dirty dishes while her mother made mountain tea. Lael watched her add sassafras roots to the kettle, her bony hands shaking.

“Ma, I don’t care for any tea tonight,” she said.

“Very well. Cover the coals, then.”

Lael took a small shovel and buried the red embers with a small mountain of ash to better start a fire come morning. When she turned around, her ma had disappeared behind the tattered quilt that divided the main cabin from their corner bedroom. Ransom soon followed suit, climbing the loft ladder to play quietly with a small army of wooden soldiers garrisoned under the trundle bed.

Left alone, she couldn’t stay still, so taut in mind and body she felt she might snap. Soon every last dish and remaining crumb were cleaned up and put away. With Ma looking as though she might fall to pieces, Lael’s resolve to stay grounded only strengthened. Yet she found herself doing foolish things like snuffing out the candles before their time and pouring the dirty dishwater through a crack in the floor rather than risk setting foot outside.

The clock on the mantle sounded overloud in the strained silence, reminding her the day was done. Soon she’d have to settle in for the night. But where was Pa? She took in the open door, dangerously ajar, and the fireflies dancing in the mounting gloom. She sighed, pushed back a wisp of hair, and took a timid step toward the porch.

How far could an Indian arrow fly?

Peering around the door frame she found Pa sitting in the same place she’d found him years ago that raw November morning after his escape from the Shawnee. They had long thought him dead, and indeed all remnants of his life as a white man seemed to have been stamped out of him. His caped hunting shirt was smeared with bear grease, his deerskin leggins soiled beyond redemption. Except for an eagle-feathered scalp lock, his head was plucked completely clean of the hair that had been as fair as her own. Savage as he was, she’d hardly recognized him. Only his eyes reminded her of the man she once knew, their depths a wild, unsurrendered blue.

Tonight he was watching the woods, his gun across his knees, and his demeanor told her he shouldn’t be disturbed. Without a word she turned and climbed to the loft where she found Ransom asleep. There, in the lonesome light of a tallow candle, she shook her hair free of the horn combs a second time.

The shears she’d kept hidden since the Shawnee departed seemed cold and heavy in her hand, but her unbound hair was warm and soft as melted butter. She brought the two together, then hesitated. Looking down, she imagined the strands lying like discarded ribbon at her feet.

A sudden noise below made her jerk the scissors out of sight. Pa had come in to collect his pipe. Her sudden movement seemed to catch his eye.

“You’d best be abed, Daughter,” he called over his shoulder, his tone a trifle scolding.

She sank down on the corn-husk tick, losing the last of her resolve, and tucked the scissors away. If she changed her mind come morning, they’d be near. Catlike, she climbed over the slumbering body in the trundle bed beneath her, surprised that a seven-year-old boy could snore so loud.

The night was black as the inside of an iron skillet and nearly as hot. She lay atop the rustling tick, eyes open, craving sleep. The night sounds outside the loft window were reassuringly familiar, as was her brother’s rhythmic breathing. All was the same as it had ever been but different. The coming of the Indians had changed everything.

In just a few moments’ time the Shawnee had thrown open the door to Pa’s past, and now there would be no shutting it. She, for one, didn’t like looking back.

Now translated into Dutch, also!!!

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Laura's latest release "The Colonel's Lady" also set during the American Revolution.  For US readers only.  Leave a comment and your email address to enter!

49 comments:

  1. I've already read "The Colonel's Lady" and thoroughly enjoyed it. Whoever wins it will be happy. :)

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  2. This book by Laura is one of my all time favorites. :) Can't wait to read the rest of her books.

    avonmathews@yahoo.com

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  3. The Frontiersman's Daughter is one of my all-time favorites. I can't wait to read the rest of Laura's books.

    Teresa Mathews

    avonmathews(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. The Frontiersman's Daughter is the ONLY book that I felt compelled to send a handwritten letter to the author b/c it was soooo amazing! I fully intend on rereading it someday! If you haven't read it, you simply must order it! :) You will be so glad you did!

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  5. Teresa tried to leave a comment, too, but it didn't "take" so I am testing out to see what might be going on.

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  6. I can't beleive I'm here so late! Today has been one of those days! Bless you three, Pegg, Diana, and Carrie - Lael's story will always be dear to me and has the most of me in it, I think:) Thanks for all the encouragement, ladies. You are the best!!

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    1. This snippet made me want to read it again! Sigh. What a great experience that was, finding your debut novel via Ruth.

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    2. Lori, You're just the best:) I will always love Ruth for bringing us together!!

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  7. Oh my, ANYTHING by Laura Frantz is superb (she's one of my FAVES!!!), but The Colonel's Lady is just over-the-top fabulous!! Don't enter me as I already own this work of art!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, If you were near enough to hug, I'd just smother you:) Everywhere I've gone today you've been dispensing boatloads of grace!! Sigh. I am very humbled and blessed, my dear friend.

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  8. I was born and raised in Ky and have read The frontiersman's daughter it was a wonderful story. I know I will be just as happy to read your latest The Colonel's Lady. thanks for sharing.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. Pol, It's always an extra blesing meeting a fellow Kentuckian and having them like my books:) Thanks so much for being here and saying such gracious things. Bless you!

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  9. I loved The Frontiersman's Daughter! Laura Frantz is a new favorite author of mine. :) Can't wait to read The Colonel's Lady. Would love to be entered, thanks so much for doing this.

    Happy Fourth of July!

    Blessings,
    Karen
    karenelangeATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Karen, I'm thrilled you liked Lael's story - thanks so much for your warm words. They mean so much! I hope you enjoy TCL. It was a joy to write. Praying your writing and summer are going very well!

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  10. Pick me! Pick me please! The Colonel's Lady! yes [especially because I love, love, love your imagine-this!]
    Kathleen
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. Bless you, Kathleen, for sharing the joy here:) Love your enthusiasm! God bless you.

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  11. I have yet to read one of your books and they sound really good.
    JWisley(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Joye, I'm so glad to meet you via my books:) I pray you like them if you read them. Thanks so much for your gracious comments! They bless me.

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  12. So great to see so many of you here! The literary world changed when Laura Frantz made her debut with The Frontiersman's Daughter! And she is such a blessing to so many of us. If you haven't read it yet, or her others, please do. But one of you will be the blessed winner! Happy 4th of July!

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    1. Carla, You're such a dear friend. Thanks for being here:) happy 4th to you, too! And your handsome men!

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  13. I would love to read this book. Thanks for offering it.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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    1. Wendy, Thanks for taking part in the drawing. Loved writing Roxanna's and Cass's story so much:)

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  14. Would love to win a copy of this book!
    Thank you ladies for offering it.....
    Blessings. Joy
    Ibjoy1953(at)yahoo.com

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    1. Joy, Thanks for taking part. Happy 4th to you!

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  15. Laura said: "Everywhere I've gone today you've been dispensing boatloads of grace!!"

    Actually, just the truth, my friend ... which, does, thank God, usually translate into grace! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, I'm wondering if your very name means 'grace'!? Bless you bunches!!

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  16. I'm not entering as I've already read The Colonel's Lady. I will say that The Frontiersman's Daughter is the perfect summer read! I loved every minute of it! :) Can't wait to read Love's Reckoning

    Beth

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    1. Beth, Oh, you bless me:) The fact that you came over to say such kind things makes me smile. Thrilled you've met Lael and Roxanna and want to meet Eden and Silas:) Soon!

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  17. I enjoy books set during the American Revolution. This sounds like one I would really enjoy. Thanks!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. So glad you like Revolutionary era books - me, too:) Bless you for taking part in the drawing!

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  18. Sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

    writer_weaver(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Anna, for wanting a chance to win. Bless you as you read!

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  19. I love reading Laura Frantz's books....and I would love to win Laura's book....'The Colonel's Lady'....I have shared on facebook and twitter....babyruthmac16ATyahoo.com

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    1. Hope you enjoy Roxanna's story if you read it - thanks so much for being here today!

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  20. Enjoyed your blog today...I'm a History buff so I definitely will read your book..Happy Fourth! JFWisherd at aol dot com

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    1. Jackie, From one history buff to another - happy 4th of July to you:) And bless you!

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  21. Would love to win this for my daughter who loves historicals!
    We love learning about our country!

    seventysevensusieq[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    1. SUSIEQ - your daughter would LOVE this book! Here's wishing she wins! We use random.org to pick, though! Blessings!

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  22. I will have to check out both books, they look great!
    bskaggs[at]zoominternet[dot]net

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    1. Teddy, Bless you for saying so:) I'm one happy author!

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  23. I would love to be included in the Giveaway of the Frontiers Daughter, I have the Colonel's Lady so i know it will be good. Please add me.

    ingrids62448(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Ingrid, So happy you have TCL and want to meet Lael:) Bless you for your kind words! And happy 4th of July to you!

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  24. I have heard so many wonderful things about The Colonel's Lady and I'm not surprised. Laura's writing always comes through in the best way. It would be a thrill to win a copy of this book.

    beckydwriter(at)gmail(dot)com.

    Thank you for your generosity!

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    1. Becky, Bless you for your kind words - they warm this author's heart! So thankful you're my reader:) Bless you this 4th of July and always!

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  25. Laura Frantz is definitely on of my favorite authors. Every time I finish reading one of her books I am always left wanting more! Please add me into the giveaway. Thank you!
    samanthaakuiper(at)gmail(com)

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    1. Samantha, Oh, you've given me a wonderful gift saying all this - bless you so much! Love the 'left wanting more'! OH MY! Happy 4th of Jully to you, my kind friend!

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  26. You know that picture of you and the cover of Lael look remarkably similiar. I'm thinking Lael must have looked a lot like you a few years ago. I love your covers! Can't wait for Love's Reckoning.

    julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

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  27. Thank you for the giveaway! I am thouroghly intrigied now! Thank you so much.

    ks4readin@yahoo.oom

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  28. I missed you all this week... I was on mission in WV. :) No computer access, I think I went through withdrawals.

    This book looks great... I LOVE the main female character's name-- Lael. Lovely!!

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