29 July 2011

Book Review of The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The Colonel’s Lady

By Laura Frantz 

Revell  (August, 2011)

Five Stars *****

Laura Frantz http://laurafrantz.net

Roxanna, at almost nine and twenty, is a full grown woman and the oldest of Laura’s heroines thus far. She sees through a woman’s eyes and as someone who has experienced loss but can still reach out to love others, included a little girl who has lost her voice. This mute child, similar to the daughter in the movie “The Patriot” is believably continually mute for she experiences one horror after another.

Roxanna’s father was a scrivener for the colonel but she must take his place after he is killed.  Laura does a nice job of incorporating her work into the storyline and of explaining what is involved without fussing over it (no easy feat).

While Christian readers who do not partake of alcohol may be surprised at finding this included in The Colonel’s Lady, this was a very real problem in Kentucky, especially, through the 19th century. I cannot address beyond that as I have not read, but quite likely given the history of turning to spirits for many reasons including difficulty at times with ensuring drinkable water.  And imbibing is not glamorized nor sugar coated in this book.  Similarly, Ms. Frantz introduces some of the more tragic ladies of the time, many of whom experience devastating outcomes for their immoral behavior. And while it is not “on the page”, some of the severe punishments given to soldiers are also mentioned. So, gentle reader be advised that this is not a “glossification” (my word) of the times nor does TCL whack you over the head with the gory details such as some recent Christian fictions I have read. 

Biggest complaint: Must wait another year for another Laura Frantz book!!!  Second biggest complaint: Not available on audio and if it was I would listen to this and her other books over and over again!!

This review by Carrie Fancett Pagels was initially posted on Colonial Quills (http://colonialquills.blogspot.com)  I received a copy of The Colonel’s Lady from the publisher however I have already pre-ordered a half dozen copies for giveaways.  My opinions are my own. 

Giveaway:  Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a copy of TCL!


  1. Thanks for the interview Carrie, it piqued my interest in this book. Thank you for mentioning about the alcohol consumption, I know some people won't like that but it just shows that Laura was being realistic in her writings. I learned early on alcohol wasn't for me, when I was a teen the pastor of the church I attended decided to use some good ole "homemade wine" for communion...uuuggghhhh...I was trying so hard to be good but I remember turning to my mom and telling her "if that's what wine tastes like, I'll never be a wine-o" LOL! Thank goodness the church I attend now serves Welch's Grape Juice! tsmathews61@gmail.com

  2. Another great, insightful review from the pen of Carrie Pagels! I am so looking forward to reading all of your comments on this awesome book as is Carrie, I know!

    Teresa, I'm with you on the alcohol. Yuk! I drank one time when I was young and hubs and I were celebrating our anniversary. I spent the night someplace I didn't want to be; with my head stuck in the toilet bowl sick all night, thinking I was going to die. That was the 1st and last time of alcohol for me!

  3. LOL Teresa, and they apparently made homemade wine in the colonies using all kinds of things. Wonder how awful some of those were? Poor Diana, that was no celebration!

    Kentucky's issues with alcohol consumption increased up through the civil war, from what I have read. They thought that was safer to drink than some of the water and there was even encouragement to drink whiskey and rations of it were provided to workers in the fields.

  4. Oh, dear, just left a novella of a comment and Blogger wouldn't take it! So here goes again:) Good morning Teresa, Diana, and Carrie! Happy Friday! I have some jam making in my forecast, plus getting a kid to camp this weekend. It's 57 or so here in the woods. Not Kentucky weather, that's for sure;)

    Poor Diana - what a memory! I was always afraid of that happening so never tried it. Hubby, on the other hand, sewed some wild oats but was wonderfully redeemable:) God is so gracious and forgiving!

    Thanks so much for the honest, insightful review, Carrie - and the giveaway!!

    During my research I was shocked to find alcohol consumption the norm during the 18th-century. Even toddlers and small children were given spirits to drink often beginning with breakfast. Can you imagine? This was considered less risky than drinking water in many cases but was fraught with other perils. Like Carrie said, Kentucky had a true problem with alcohol, fostered by the increase in distillers there and Pennsylvania and other parts. Even George Washington was a master distiller. It was respected and very lucrative then and a valuable means of trade when coinage was in short supply or devalued.

    Like you, I shun all alcohol though know many Christians who don't. And as you all have said above, TCL is a realistic portrayal of the times. If I ever have to sugarcoat history and thus rewrite it, I will stop writing! I read so many books that deal history a disservice by not handling the conditions of the times with integrity.

  5. Laura, I wasn't saved at the time, but I'm glad the good Lord allowed me to go through that experience; I learned a valuable life-long lesson!

    That is why I love your books so much, Laura, they are so exciting and realistic! I think they should make a Hallmark movie of this novel...it would be awesome. I kept thinking that thought as I read TCL...this would make a GREAT movie!

  6. I have this book sitting on my TBR shelf (so no need to enter me into the giveaway!) and can't wait to dive into it. I read the first few paragraphs and am totally intrigued! I like Laura's writing style!

  7. Thanks for coming by, Laura, and sharing with us! I agree Diana - movie material here! Katy, I love Laura's voice, too, and her writing. Don't get started on TCL unless you are ready to spend several days reading almost nonstop so you can keep turning the pages!

  8. Enjoyd the review, and I am reading the book and loving it. Laura is one of my very favorite authors. I only wish we didn't have to wait for so long for the next book, but with all the research that she does, and the details of her books, it's all worth waiting for.
    Gertie Pridmore Email: gertiepridmore@yahoo.com

  9. Gertie, Thanks so much for stopping by OTT! Good to meet you! Laura is my favorite author and TFD is my current favorite book, bound to be a classic when Laura is old and grey! Blessings and you are entered!

  10. Very nice Carrie. I don't know if I would have thought twice about the use of alcohol in this setting. Thankfully some publishers don't rule it out, especially in historicals--not to promote, but for the realism.

    I'm so looking forward to this book. I'm not ashamed to admit I will trawl cyberspace for a chance to win it! I've heard we have the hero's POV (hmmm, the Colonel?) in this one. Nice!!

    Thanks also, ladies, for the start up of your (collective) new blog Colonial Quills.

    debraemarvin at yahoo.

  11. Hi Debra - good to see you here! I have surprised at how many of the "rules" I read about when I first started with ACFW four years ago seem to have softened. LOL about trawling cyberspace - you don't have to do that. Why don't you come do a guest post or two and we'll "pay" you with TCL!!

  12. Funny the mention about alcohol. In the Netherlands it's quite normal that Christian drink a glass of wine or beer on birthdays.
    Our pastor is from Canada and we heard from him how most Christians in Canada and the US don't drink a drop of alcohol.
    I don't drink alcohol either, but most Christians around me drink a glass of wine so now and then.


  13. Carrie, I accidentally found Dina Sleiman's comment in the wrong spot (maybe got confused b/c sometimes comment thingy at top; sometimes at the bottom), but she would like to be entered in the giveaway to win The Colonel's Lady. Glad I saw it!


  14. This book sounds interesting! Can't wait to read it. I am currently reading Courting Morrow Little and enjoying it very much. Laura Frantz is a new favorite of mine.

    Wonderful giveaway! :)

  15. Congrats, Debra Marvin for winning The Colonel's Lady! You are in for a real treat!

  16. Hooray! What a great prize! Thank you Carrie and Diana - I'm so looking forward to it.

  17. Will watch for your address and congrats again!

  18. I am so excited about this book. I have been looking for a review copy. I would love win a copy please enter me if it isn't too late.


  19. Patricia, Debra won TCL, but Laura is all over the place this month. And we may have another review up and giveaway on OTT, so watch for our posts to see if we put up another review and giveaway of TCL later this month or in September! Blessings!


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