The 18th century New York frontier bred courage in those who survived its perils. Willa Obenchain has courage to spare. Returning to her white parents' abandoned homestead after twelve years of Indian captivity, Willa believes a solitary life is the only way she'll never lose again what's twice been lost: her family, and her heart. As she begins the backbreaking work of reviving her farm, Willa's determined isolation is threatened. First by injured botanist Neil MacGregor, found unconscious on her land, and also by her Mohawk clan brother Joseph Tames-His-Horse, a man who cannot give up the woman he calls Burning Sky. Willa is a woman caught between two worlds and the residents of the nearby frontier village, still reeling from a bloody revolutionary war, are reluctant to welcome her home. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, Willa must find a new courage--the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow, and answer the question, "am I brave enough to love again?"
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"Burning Sky" by Lori Benton is not the Christian historical novel that you expect. Willa "Burning Sky" was kidnapped by Mohawk Indians when she was 14 shortly before the Revolutionary War. She was hidden and kept for 12 years. She had married a Mohawk and had children before she went back to her childhood home near Shiloh. When she arrives she takes in a wounded man and they live in her parents abandoned home. She comes back in contact with her childhood friends and neighbors only to discover that she is not entirely welcome and her parents are believed to be Tories.
In this novel, Willa is not your typical damsel in distress. She is a tough, independent woman who has blended both worlds into one being. She cares little for reputation or propriety. She wants what she in entitled to and is willing to fight for it. The reader will come to love Willa quickly. This novel also covers the centuries old ordeal of post traumatic stress disorder or whatever it is called during whatever war is happening at the time. This is a good novel and I give it a A-. I received this book for free from blogging for books at Multnomah publishing.
Wow, such an amazing debut novel from Lori Benton. There was so much that I loved about this novel. There was a rich story, real problems and solutions, and wonderful character development.
Willa was a strong yet fragile main character. Her honest reactions to the loss not once but twice of her family was raw and real. Neil's strong faith, as well as Joesph's, was awesome. Even through all the adversity that they faced, they still somehow had joy. There were such strong supporting characters as well which just added to the richness of the novel.
This was not a sugar coated read. Benton did an amazing job writing this multilevel story. If this is a debut novel I can't wait to read what she writes next.
I received this book from WaterBrook Press in exchange for my honest review.
Willa Obenchain is one frustrating, beautiful, fearful, courageous woman. I found myself a lot in her as I read Burning Sky.
Willa is caught up in two worlds. One she is running from, the other she is running towards. Both collide and drama ensues.
After discovering her parents home, she clearly figures out that they aren't there and begins a journey that ends with so much more than just finding the destination of her parents.
I had a hard time putting this book down. It's definitely a page turner. I think women will particularly like this book because Willa is a woman we can all identify with. She's afraid to love, yet she longs to be loved so much. She's courageous and willing to sacrifice her comforts for those she loves (though it takes her a while to get around to understanding the love part... but you'll have to read the book to figure that out. ;) ).
Pick up a copy and get to reading. Cheers!
*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review. All views expressed are mine.
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Review 4 for Burning Sky
FANTASTIC DEBUT NOVEL!!!
Date:December 9, 2013
Burning Sky is a novel about a woman who was kidnapped at the age 14 by Indians. Set in the late 18th century in the frontiers of New York, Willa Obenchain returns to her family's homestead after having lived among the Mohawk Indians for 12 years. She had been kidnapped when she was 14 years old and was raised as one of them and became an accepted part of their community, and eventually entered into an arranged marriage with an Indian man and had two daughters. After losing her husband in a battle and her daughters to an epidemic, Willa decides from now on she would live alone and care for herself. On her way back to her childhood home, she comes across an injured stranger on the border of her family's land. When he wakes up in Willa's cabin, he is forced to stay until his broken arm heals. She soon discovers that this man, this Neil MacGregor, is a doctor and a botanist, researching and cataloging the plant life in the Americas. Neil realizes that with each passing day he comes to admire and love her more and more. Neil unleashes feelings in her that she is not ready to face. I really can't recommend this book enough.This is a fantastic debut novel! "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".
Burning Sky by Lori Benton is a historic novel set right after the Revolutionary War. I wasn't sure what to expect from this story, but the plot sounded intriguing so I decided to go for it. I was drawn into the story from the very first page. The way the author writes for Burning Sky is such a mix of anguish and hope, stoic and vulnerable, love and emptiness. I was so drawn to her and her plight that I could hardly put the book down.
I was mixed about the two men who love Burning Sky. On the one hand, I wanted Joseph Tames-His-Horse to win her, and then other times I really wanted Neil MacGregor to get her! I waffled back and forth through the whole book even though I knew who she would get from the beginning. haha Now on to the synopsis.
Burning Sky was captured twelve years ago by the Mohawks and has since lived a relatively happy life among them. Now left all alone she travels back to her parent's home. Along the way, she finds an injured man who she brings with her. When she reaches the old homestead, it's nothing like she remembered it. Then she finds out that her lands are US property now since her parents were thought to be Tories. Determined to prove her parent's innocence and keep her land, Willa fights to get the evidence she needs before the auction in the fall.
Neil MacGregor is a botanist researching and cataloging the plant life in the Americas. When he wakes up in Willa's cabin, he is forced to stay until his broken arm heals. The longer he is there, the more he comes to admire and love Willa, but will he ever be able to break through her many defenses?
This historical novel is one of the best I have ever read. It was so real, and I loved learning some new facts about the Revolutionary War. I highly recommend this book!!
I was given this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.
The characters in this book are awesome! Willa Obenchain (aka Burning Sky) is a complex character because of the life she had to live. Taken at a young age by Mohawk Indians, she did what she had to in order to survive. She adapted to their way of life, never forgetting her heritage. So when all was lost to her, she decides to go back to the "white world" only to discover everyone she loved is gone. "I am the place where two rivers meet, sitled with upheaval and loss." - Willa Obenchain Neil MacGregor, despite his past, does not treat Willa like she's less than human (as some folks do because of her time with the Indians). Instead, he shows her kindness, compassion, and love. Is she willing to open her heart to him?
The story was good. I think I would have enjoyed it so much better had I not just finished a very similar book. It was also a little long, but not enough to lose my interest completely. At one point, I caught myself saying "how much more can this poor woman go through?!" I believe even the slow parts were necessary in order to understand each character and the situation at hand. The author did a great job in describing the time period, effects of the war, and the characters actions as related to their situations.
The message was one of trust. As Neil MacGregor, in his Scottish barogue states: "Dinna put your trust in men - not foremost. Men will come and go from your life, even those you love, some before you're ready to see them go. But I'll tell you this I've learnt: the Almighty loves you more than any man could, and He willna forsake ye. Not ever."
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I wish I would have read it at a later date, rather than right after another book with a similar plot. I would still recommend it to anyone!
**I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
Rich, evocative text creates a tapestry of images in this stunning debut novel. I easily lost myself within the pages and was always reluctant to return to the 'real' world. This epic novel isn't meant for a marathon read though, so I had to make the transition between centuries way too often. At 400+ pages you will want to take the time to savor every word. The historical detail is exquisite -- I swear Benton time traveled in order to draw on first hand accounts to lend authenticity to her story. :-)
My heart ached for Willa and a host of other characters. Prejudice is such a horrible blight in history no matter what the time period but I've always been touched by the treatment of Native peoples throughout North American history. I found Benton's portrayal of the People's dilemma to be a moving tribute.
A complex plot with plenty of twists and turns that left me gasping for breath along with a complicated romance made this a page-turning read. Burning Sky is just plain good! An exceptional book choice for historical lovers everywhere.
Willa Obenchain is returning home after twelve years of captivity among the Mohawk Indians. Instead of finding her family, she find her childhood home abandoned, and her childhood friend a bitter and resentful enemy determined to take her family's home. Her parents have disappeared and, because they were believed to be British sympathizers, their land will be going up for auction. Willa is determined to save her land and clear her parents name. And she is determined to do it all on her own.
I enjoyed this Historical fiction set in the aftermath of the American Revolution. It was well researched, and the writing was beautiful. I had a lot of sympathy for Willa. She is finally able to come home and she is met with suspicion and anger. She endured many hardships, and is a very somber character. I do wish more time had been given to the time she spent with the Indians. I didn't feel like there was much more than highlights about that part of her life.
While I liked the characters and the writing, I felt like the story got long in the middle. I had trouble staying interested. It picked up toward the end though, and had a good finish. I will definitely read other books by this author in the future. I would recommend this book to female readers who enjoy character driven stories in an historical setting.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review.
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Review 9 for Burning Sky
A gripping tale of a woman torn between two worlds
What a novel to debut with! Burning Sky is a deep, powerful journey back in time to the tumultuous years after the American Revolution. Burning Sky is the Mowhawk name that was given to Willa Obenchain, who was stolen from her family twelve years before the start of this book.
Willa built a life with the Mowhawks, but when she loses everything and decides to travel back to her original home, will she be able to make a life again amongst people who feel they have been terrorized by the very people she learned to call family?
Willa takes in a man named Neil MacGregor when she finds him injured on the border of her family's land. Neil is originally from Scotland and is a botanist sent to document the flora and fauna of the west. Willa is a strong, yet traumatized woman. Neil unleashes feelings in her that she is not ready to face. Will she ever be able to let her guard down? Neil has his own struggles to overcome. Will he be able to determine what God really wants for his life?
This novel is full of beautiful imagery and offers the reader a window into another time. The distrust that Willa, the two children in her care, and Willa's adoptive Mowhawk brother face is intense. I really enjoyed the author's writing style. I felt totally immersed in the time period and very invested in the lives of the characters.
Willa Obenchain was captured by Mohawk Indians when she was fourteen and adopted into one of their clans. Twelve years later, after the death of her family from a smallpox outbreak, Willa returns to her family's land, on her way discovering a wounded man who she feels responsible to bring back to health.
Upon arriving at her former home, Willa discovers the barn burned down, the house empty and the yard grown up- and her missing parents suspected of being Tories...
This was an awesome book. It was written with so much depth and character. I was really impressed with Lori Benton's writing. I loved this book. I highly recommend it!
Thank you so much to WaterBrook Multnomah for sending me a free copy of Burning Sky in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 11 for Burning Sky
I highly recommend this book.
Date:September 25, 2013
This is a great book. i really enjoyed reading it. It is about a young woman that was taken from her home by indians. Years later she returns home and finds her parents gone. She finds a wounded man on her property. She takes care of him and brings him back to health. She doesn't trusts anyone. She only trusts God. I highly recommend this book. It is a great historical christian fiction.
I told myself I wasn’t allowed to buy/download anymore books until I made it through at least 10 of the books in my TBR. Since I have the self control of a five year old around a cookie jar when it comes to books, that rule was thrown out the window. But I justified it by telling myself I had a long plane ride ahead of me, so it was okay. Which book did I break the rule for? Burning Sky by Lori Benton.
Benton’s debut novel can best be described as a symphony, each page stirring your heart. In some ways I knew what to expect, especially since I read so many beaming reviews about it, but my heart came out with more beauty than I expected.
Like so many during that time, Willa's life wasn't black and white. There's countless stories where women were abducted, yet they grew to love and care for their life as a Native American. The internal struggle Benton showed through Willa's character, while was sometimes painful, was real. Along with the actions of the other characters. It wasn't an easy or simplistic time in history, but instead interwoven, messy & complex, yet when given the chance, beautiful.
Have y'all been able to read this one? How about other tales of this time period (like the miniseries Into the West)?
On a completely random side note, did you know with iBooks you can copy and paste sections?? Perfect for when I find a quote I love. I gotta say Kindle, on this aspect they got you beat.
In her debut novel "Burning Sky," Lori Benton writes a sweeping tale of restoration after the American Revolution. With her Mohawk family dead, white captive Burning Sky leaves the life she has known these past twelve years and makes her way back to the home of her white family, taking back her birth name: Wilhelmina Obenchain. At the border of her father's land, she finds an unconscious man with a broken arm - the botanist and doctor Neil MacGregor - and she drags him with her to the abandoned farm that her family had once owned. Because her parents were suspected Tories when they disappeared during the Revolution, their land was confiscated, and has now come up for auction, though Willa intends to save it by proving her parents were loyal to the Americans. Finding herself pulled many ways, Willa seeks the truth of what happened to her parents, while her clan brother Joseph Tames-His-Horse encourages her to return with him to the Mohawk nation, and Neil plants himself firmly in her life, slowly thawing her frozen heart.
Without sounding like a textbook, Benton does an excellent job incorporating the history of upstate New York into the novel. At the border of British Canada, many villages suffered raids by marauding British and their Iroquois allies even after the war was officially won. While I was taught in school about Paul Revere and Boston Tea Party, I do not remember anything of the civil war being fought amongst the Iroquois nations that had occupied the northeast. Although the six Iroquois nations had been united for centuries, most of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras sided with the Patriots in the Revolution, while the rest joined the British. While it is not a main focus of the novel, Benton brings out the sorrow of the People who were forced to fight against their brothers in a war that ultimately led to the loss of their homeland for all six nations.
With all their humanity - their flaws, failings, attributes, and accomplishments - Benton's characters feel very real; none is perfect, but none is wholly evil either. Even Richard, as contemptible as he is, was once a loving young man, and I can pity the vicious man that emerged from war. Joseph Tames-His-Horse, the Colonel, Anni, Goodenough - all are decent people, friends to Willa, but like real people, they each have their faults and blind spots.
I really like Neil; he is not the tallest or the strongest or maybe even the best looking man in Willa's acquaintance, and since his near scalping, he can no longer even read or write, but what he lacks physically he more than makes up for spiritually. Granted, he is not perfect - he still questions God and disobeys His instruction, but he learns. He repents. He makes changes. Of all his good qualities, Neil's ability to be content is most impressive; as a doctor, scholar, and scientist, words have been his world, and to lose the ability to read and write could throw any person into depression and bitterness, but he continually - though imperfectly - practices being content in the circumstances God has allowed to befall him. My life is a breeze in comparison, but I still have much to learn from him!
More than anything, this is a novel of healing and restoration. So many of the characters are broken inside, hurting, and afraid. Although Willa trusts in God, she is afraid to let others into her heart, for fear of losing one more person she loves. After being stolen from her birth family at fourteen, she has also lost her Mohawk husband to war and her children to smallpox. However, in spite of the loss of two families, God restores her heart and provides her with a motley party that becomes her new family.
After growing up on Lois Lenski's "Indian Captive" and Elizabeth George Speare's "Calico Captive," both about young women as they grow up in captivity, it was good to read about what happens when the captive returns to her people, the changes in her, and the whites' attitudes towards her. Benton has written a beautiful, in-depth novel that I highly recommend. 5 out of 5 stars!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
"Burning Sky" is an exceptional first novel by its author, Lori Benton. It’s historical Christian fiction just as the genre should be. Set in America’s northeast just after the Revolutionary War, "Burning Sky" tells the story of a young woman forcibly taken from one home only to have her new home destroyed by violence and disease. When she returns to her original home, she finds her parents’ cabin abandoned. She also finds a wounded man dying on their property. She must nurse him back to health as she struggles to make a new place for herself in a somewhat hostile environment.
Though she trusts no one else, Willa Obenchain, called Burning Sky by the Mohawks who adopted her, clings to the God she loves. In one of the most beautiful passages of the book, she realizes that, though everything she loves has been destroyed, if she’s still breathing, God still must have a purpose for her life. Her challenge is to find that purpose with God’s faithful guidance. The whole book is a testimony to what God is able to do when people offer Him faith like that.
I loved reading this story and am happy to recommend it to you. Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.
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Review 15 for Burning Sky
Beautiful description, characters, and story!
Date:September 10, 2013
This book. What to say? This is the first book I've gotten from WaterBrook Multnomah for a while, and I chose it because the idea of a Mohawk captive returning home intrigued me. But it was so much more than that.
The cover is beautiful. The depiction of green land, and a river cutting through it, with the fiery sky and a mysterious woman above it is breathtaking. The story is equally beautiful. Apparently, Lori Benton is an artist, and she is an artist of words as well. You can almost see her painting the words across the page, filling your mind with colors and description.
The description is awesome! (As stated!) Lori Benton blew me away with her attention to detail and historical accuracies. I still cannot believe she is a first time author. Seems crazy. You can tell she takes her writing serious and wants it to be the best she can make.
The characters! From Willa, who you might want to grab by the shoulders and shake a few times, to Neil MacGregor, the adorable, sweet, godly botanist Scotsman (one of my favorites), to two part Mohawk/part white settler children, the story will sweep you up with it's deep characters who all add something important to the tale.
This story has heart, and will touch you. Such sadness abounds in these pages, and it may make you a little teary eyed, but along with the grief, there is light, love, and joy! The continuing theme about the bruised reed shall He not break will give you hope.
I recommend this book to any historical fiction lovers, or anyone who wants to give the genre a try, though I suggest the reader be at least fourteen due to themes discussed because of the horrors of war.
Pick up this book, and you will learn so much! Highly recommended.
Willa Oberchain grew up in the frontier of New York during the Revolutionary War. She lived in a small cabin with her parents and grandmother until she was 14. At this time her life changed forever when she was captured and carried off by Mohawk Indians. Her name was changed to Burning Sky and her way of life was drastically altered. She slowly adapts to her new life. Little does she know that the change is only temporary. She lives with the Mohawks for 12 years. One day her world once again comes crashing down around her and she is left alone with only scattered memories and heartbreak. With nothing else to do, she decided to find her way home to her parents.
Going again by the name of Willa, she returns to her parents farm only to find it deserted and her parents missing. Encountering a handsome Scotsman along her parents property she learns that her parents are suspected as being Tories. As Willa and Neil work to rebuild the farm her Mohawk brothers returns to reunited her with her Indian Family. Willa is caught between two lives, and she doesn't know which one is for her.
Lori Benton is an excellent storyteller and writers. This setting, characters, plot, and imagery she weaves in this book are amazing.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing and am not being compensated for my review.
Burning Sky is the debut novel by Lori Benton and I can't wait to read more by her. Lori Benton from the first page captured my attention and never let it go till the end.
Burning Sky to the Mohawk tribe she was carried off to or Wilhelmina (Willa) Obenchain as she was called by her parents and friends before she was taken, is trapped between the two worlds she has now lived in. Willa lived with her parents and grandma in the log cabin on the frontier of New York State during the Revolutionary War. She lived with them till she was fourteen, the day she was carried off by a band of Mohawks. Willa was taken as a replacement for another child that had been lost. She was adopted into a clan and had a new family, even though it wasn't what she wanted. Over time, she adjusted and had a life amongst her new people. Twelve years later, her new life was snatched away from her with only the memories and heartache as company. Not knowing what else to do, with no connections to her Mohawk life, Burning Sky or Willa as she starts to refer to herself heads back to her old home.She arrives to her family's house to find it abandoned and the barn burnt to the ground. There are no signs of her parents and worse, there is a rumor around the settlement that her parents were Tory. Her family's land has been seized by the government with other Tory land in the area to auction it off.
Neil MacGregor was a formally trained doctor now working as a botanist for the American Philosophical Society. He has been commissioned to go into the frontier to help document and create a field guide of the flora and fauna of New York State. In his travels, he has some misadventures that leads him to be knocked unconscious on the bordered of Willa's land with, a fractured wrist. Willa cares for him till he is able to take care of himself. Neill has every intention to leave as soon as he is able, but something keeps him around Willa's land longer.
Willa is a woman who has had to deal with two major traumas in her life, but she keeps pushing through. After the second trauma, she is determined to live her life alone and away from anyone, not wanting help or to be close to anyone. Willa has closed herself off. Not only does Willa deal with heartache, but she also has to find out who she really is. Fourteen years of her life, she lived on the frontier on a farm, then for twelve years, she lived as an adopted Mohawk daughter. She lives between two worlds and both pull her in their direction, but she has to figure out where she belongs. Some people in the settlement were and are her friend, while others see her as nothing more than used garbage after her life with the Mohawks.
Burning Sky pulls you in. Lori Benton has captured this time and has brought it to life with her smooth and beautiful writing style that keeps you wanting to read more. There is mystery involved with Burning Sky and as you read, you will be led to your answers with Willa and Neil. Burning Sky was a hard book for me to put down. I had to know what was going to happen!
Thank you to Water Brook Press and Blogging for Books, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.
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Review 18 for Burning Sky
very good book
Date:August 19, 2013
This is the first book I have read by Lori Benton. I enjoyed it very much. The author very quickly drew me into the story and I couldn't put the book down. The main character Willa is a strong woman who is dealing with loss and grief but she is determined to find her path in life and seek God's will. You will not be disappointed with this book.
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Review 19 for Burning Sky
Date:August 16, 2013
A wonderful treat awaits the reader of Burning Sky by Lori Benton. Her magnificent way with words provides a feast for both mind and heart. Fascinating characters face daunting social problems in their swatch of history. As they struggle for solutions, the reader gets a peek of answers as pertinent to today’s issues as they were in the past. A rewarding read awaits.
From the very first page, I was caught up in Burning Sky/Willa's struggle to survive physical and spiritual trials that at times were very painful to comprehend. The historical facts made this story even more enriching. I found myself questioning how I might have handled her situation.
The characters Lori developed were so very real. Your heart is drawn to both Neil and Joseph and anticipating Willa's decision as to her future was intense.
Lori Benton's first book is a treasure. I can't wait for her second book.