cover image Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Lori Benton. Tyndale, $25.99 (450p) ISBN 978-1-4964-4431-8

Benton’s elegant and haunting latest (after Many Sparrows) centers on a forbidden late 18th century love affair. In 1793, Boston-raised Ian Cameron and his friend Thomas leave for Ian’s home of Mountain Laurel, N.C., in hopes that Ian’s woodworking skills will be enough for him to become heir to his uncle’s plantation. There Ian meets Seona, a slave who has a secret passion for drawing, even though doing so is forbidden on the plantation. Ian, who is uneasy at the idea of becoming a slave owner, invites Seona to design some of his woodwork. Their collaboration leads to mutual attraction and a secret engagement, though they are both worried about being caught. When Thomas offers Seona a chance to escape, Ian’s drastic reaction impacts the lives of every person, free and enslaved, on the plantation. Torn between society’s expectations and his heart’s desires, Ian attempts to find peace by diving deeper into his faith. Benton’s bracing tale depicting the brutality of slavery and the power of faith to heal will appeal to fans of Laura Frantz. (Sept.)