As my second Laura Frantz book, An Uncommon Woman was approached with a bit of baggage. I picked up this book because some Goodreads friends had recommended it, but I was a little scared from my experience with The Colonel’s Lady. As I dug into this book, I found it slightly similar, however, much better in some ways!
Characters: Tessa. I really liked her character. She wasn’t like a lot of historical heroines. (Alas, she’s an uncommon woman. Sorry, but I had to.) I thought she was had a well-rounded character – she loved fancy things, like a lace petticoat, and longed to live in a more civilized area. However, she worked hard and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty with her brothers. She tended the ferry, cooked, cleaned, gardened … she was a hardworking lady. She did what she had to in the wilderness. I think she was a really good representation of a lot of historical ladies who actually lived on the frontier in the 1700s. No, it wasn’t easy, but she did what she had to unflinchingly in the face of danger and disease and difficulty. She was my favorite character! Now, Clay … he was kind of a common man. (Sorry again.) He just seemed like the normal frontiersman hero dude. I really wish we could’ve gotten more info on his time with the Lenape and just about his background in general. I feel like he had all of these secrets in his past, but we never really got to hear about them at all. Somehow, he was the colonel of this fort that was somehow named after him. (I may have missed something here.) I think it was because he was such a great fighter or something? Anyway, I wish we had gotten some more action with him. I didn’t feel like I knew him that well, and what I did know, was a very average hero who was tall and fearsome and rugged. The side characters were lovely – Ross was such a great guy! The other brothers got a little scrambled in my mind, but I wish Jasper had gotten a bit more resolution. Oh well. I guess that’s real life. And of course, Maddie and Jude were nice additions to the cast. And Aunt Hester, the resident spinster who has to remind people that they must marry or they will be miserable like her. (Sorry again, but that plotline annoys me.) She was actually kind of fun, though, because she was always scheming over how to get the MCs together. And Keturah? So much potential, but she was hardly ever in there. More on her in a minute.
Plot/Setting: The setting is such a huge part of this book, and it was so well-done. Because frontier life is so different than my modern life, just reading about their everyday life and how difficult it was tended to be interesting. That’s a lot of what kept me engaged, because the plot was a bit lacking. There was so much that could’ve happened, and I was expecting the big thing in the blurb (aka, Tessa being taken captive by the Indians) to happen constantly. And then it didn’t. Forever. (view spoiler)[ And when it finally did, it was no big deal. Clay found her in about ten minutes. Okay, maybe a day? And then the whole thing with Ross being taken and somehow Keturah giving herself up in exchange for him was just not how I wanted the plot to play out. I thought for sure something dramatic would happen between Clay and Tamenen. There was so much potential there. (hide spoiler)] Also, Keturah was supposed to be Tessa’s best, deepest friend, but I never got that feeling from the book. Tessa just said she was, so as the reader, that was a letdown. I wanted to see a really sweet friendship instead of just being told it existed. The plot, in general, just lacked a solid climax and resolution. Tessa and Clay had this kind of spat right at the end, then everything wrapped up, and their life was good. It was not convincing. However, a Goodreads friends so kindly pointed me to the epilogue on Laura Frantz’s website, so if you’re looking for a bit more resolution, check that out.
Theme/Moral: This one wasn’t to heavy on any one moral. I suppose one would be friendship? But, as mentioned above, that didn’t come through too great for me. Clay kind of had a moment when he turned back to the Lord, but the extent of their Christianity tended to be a few prayers and being mostly moral.
Overall, this was nice frontier novel. The writing style worked well – it felt old, but it wasn’t thick or confusing. And thankfully, the romance was much less than The Colonel’s Lady, though there was about one paragraph that could’ve been taken out in my opinion. After this book, I’ll be looking to read more of Laura Frantz’s work!