Short & Sweet Review: Weaving history and fiction evenly together – without being left with too much of one and too little of the other – is no easy feat! Yet in The Wood’s Edge as in her previous books, author Lori Benton succeeds beautifully! Rich characters, complex emotions, and the enduring trilogy of faith, hope, and love tumble together in a narrative that somersaults through the tumultuous years containing the French and Indian War until the stirrings of the American Revolution. A riveting start to this new series of novels, The Wood’s Edge covered nearly 20 years of life and yet ended far sooner than I desired.
Summary: August 1757. Fort William Henry in the colonial New York frontier falls to the French and Indian forces. Within the British fort, two white women give birth that fateful night. One, the wife of Major Reginald Aubrey, sleeps after her difficult labor, unaware that her newborn son has died in her arms. The other, a woman raised to be of the Oneida tribe, also sleeps while she cradles her twins – one brown like the tribe that took her captive long ago, one white like the parents from whom she was taken. When Major Aubrey comes across this white Indian baby, so fair of skin and hair that he could pass for the Major’s own child, he does the unthinkable and makes a baby swap that will create haunting consequences for all affected by his choice. Years later, when the girl who had been rescued that same night and then adopted by Major Aubrey (if not by his wife) strikes up an unusual friendship at the wood’s edge, will his festering secret come to light and destroy everything and everyone he loves? And then there’s Lydia…
Long-winded Review: (Because y’all know I say more than that about books I like.) Another reviewer said, “I don’t recall giving this book permission to end.” Preach it, sister! And yet it just goes right on ahead and does what it pleases. It ends. And before it ends, Lori Benton ramps up the intensity with some oh-sweet-mercy-don’t-distract-me-now scenes that will have you forgetting to breathe due to the emotions holding you captive. I mean… wow. One of the most powerful scenes I have ever read. Ever. Across all fiction-dom. And then… “the end”. My angst was just as bad as what I experience with an NCIS season finale cliffhanger. Is it 2016 yet?
One thing I really loved about this book was the parallels between different characters and their choices. Two women had a decision stolen from them on the same night; only one actually knew about it. Still, one woman chose to do what proved necessary to survive the fallout while the other chose to constantly make her dissatisfaction known. Major Aubrey stole the living baby to replace his dead son; his wife never knew the difference and thought he was her own son. That same night, the major rescued a toddler from beside the bodies of her parents, risking his life to defend her against the Indian trying to kill her too. He unofficially adopted the young girl, but his wife always treated her as another’s child. This line about Major Aubrey and his wife is pure poetry in its irony: “With panic urging reckless haste, Reginald picked a path into the dismaying wood as, each carrying a stranger’s child, they started for Fort Edward.”
It begins at a wood’s edge – and it ends at a wood’s edge … but with nearly twenty years separating the two. Twenty years and countless opportunities for redemption, restoration, and repentance, if anyone chooses to heed the quiet voice of the Creator who whispers to them in the stillness of their hearts.
I give The Wood’s Edge 4 stars!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
About Lori Benton: Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and The Wood’s Edge.
Read an excerpt from The Wood’s Edge by clicking on the photo below!
Visit the Pinterest board for The Wood’s Edge for images related to the characters and the history of the book’s events!