|A Pioneer Christmas Collection|
Debut novelist Shannon McNear has fashioned a terrific story of divided loyalties and unexpected romance in Defending Truth.
In what is now eastern Tennessee, immediately following the Battle of King's Mountain of 1780, loyalist militiaman Micah Elliot finds himself torn by the horror of what happened and a desire to flee. Hungry, shaken and miserable, he's discovered by a patriot's daughter out hunting.
Something about the battered man captures her attention, and Truth Bledsoe feeds him, only to learn he fought on the opposite side from her father during the battle. Still, her Christian humanity sends her back to feed him and help him recover his strength.
After a week, Micah recognizes he's got a pretty woman helping him and while still torn about his loyalties, feels the need to repay her. He spends the fall at her secluded farm helping Truth and her younger siblings prepare for the winter.
Hostilities linger when the overmountain men return home from the battle, but can attitudes change when Micah sets aside his own safety to defend Truth and her loved ones?
McNear's deft characterizations ring true throughout this tale, and my emotions were caught up in the question of how this one would work out. She provides insightful information on life on the frontier late during the Revolutionary War, when no one really felt safe and death lurked.
Truth Bledsoe is a well-rounded young woman trying her plucky best to care for her family. Her own loyalties war within as the handsome Tory unexpectedly captures her heart. Micah is torn by uncertainty--what really is right and whose side does he want to be on? How can he return home to a family who would brand him a coward? But worse, how can he leave behind a lovely young woman who has captured his heart, even while he fought against her father.
This fine novella begins A Pioneer Christmas Collection and sets a high bar for the stories to come. It's not a simplistic romance and it handles the Christianity of those on the frontier with grace and clarity. I loved it and thought it one of the finest historical novellas I've ever read.
Well done, Shannon McNear.
New York Times best-selling writer Michelle Ule is the author of three historical novellas and a contemporary novel. Her story, "The Gold Rush Christmas," is the final novella in A Pioneer Christmas Collection. You can follow her blog at www.michelleule.com
Giveaway: One commenter on this review will receive a copy of the book. To enter answer the question: What is your favorite Christmas story? Why? (Also--come back next week. For the Tea Party giveaway we have a copy of the book with a bookplate signed by all authors!)