Burning Sky by Lori Benton is one of those riveting novels that make you regret the need for sleep. Each chapter begged me to proceed to the next and, when the final page was viewed, I reluctantly closed the book, wishing the story would continue on.
This is the tale of Willa Obenchain. After twelve years of captivity with the Mohawk tribe, the grieving young woman can barely say her own name. Her ability to speak her native English is as much a struggle as sorting through her sense of who she is. Is she still the white frontier-settler Willa or has she transformed into the woman dubbed Burning Sky by her Indian captors?
Her self-identity is further complicated by three men: a neighbor from her distant past, the Indian warrior from her adopted clan, and the stranger whose faith appears far stronger than his ability to survive the wilderness.
Willa is also faced with returning to an empty cabin that was once her home, now destined for auction because her parents were dubbed loyal to the British cause in the recently won American Revolution. How can she defend their honor when she doesn’t know where their loyalties truly were, or even worse, where her parents are?
Although these challenges threaten her sense of peace and trust in the God Who spared her life, the greatest battle for the stalwart Willa is recovering from a deeply, painful loss. Her seemingly-solid faith is in danger of succumbing to despair.
It is not surprising that author Benton is an artist, as her palette of words paints vivid descriptions of the frontier wilderness with both its beauty and harshness. But it’s the characters who are the true masterpieces. They are skillfully wrought through rich dialogue that is both credible and compelling. Benton has a depth of understanding about human nature that brings her cast of characters to an outstanding level of believability.
The history of America after the Revolution comes alive in these pages in a way that no textbook could ever teach. It is a tender yet realistic story that captures your heart and begs for a sequel.
I give Burning Sky 5 out of 5 Stars
Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.