The Frontiersman's Daughter
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell (2009)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Kentucke, Indian Territory, 1777
In the fading lavender twilight, at the edge of a clearing, stood half a dozen Shawnee warriors. They looked to the small log cabin nestled in the bosom of the greening ridge, as earthy and unassuming as the ground it sat upon.
Living in the small log cabin is the Click family. Ezekial Click's thirteen-year-old daughter, Lael, is known to the Shawnee as "Ezekial's pretty daughter". She has long, fair hair that is so different from the Shawnee ebony hair. While it frightens her when they ask to see her, she remembers her father's warning to never give way to fear in an Indian's sight and bravely steps into view. As Lael stands next to her father, the Shawnee look at her and then leave.
The story begins when Lael is thirteen and covers the next seven or eight years of her life. Lael considers herself a frontier woman, but when her childhood sweetheart asks her father for his permission to marry her, her father refuses. Ezekial Click has never liked Simon and fears he will not be faithful to his daughter. Without much discussion it is decided that Lael will go to Boston to finishing school. She feels quite out of place in Boston and has very little desire to become "a lady". She eventually makes her way back to the cabin in Indian Territory, but many things have changed while she was away. She was so eager to get home, but she finds home is not what she remembered it to be. Will she ever find love again?
I loved the historical setting. The relationships between the Indians and the frontier families were interesting, as were the quarrels between frontier families. Lael is a spirited, stubborn and fickle young woman. Her fickleness annoyed me at times, but I felt better when she could see it herself and realized she should not be that way. That struggle was her biggest one. She longs to be loved and because of this seems to be attracted to each male that shows interest in her. However, society at the time found it inappropriate for a man and woman who were not married to be alone together and it was this belief that kept her from doing something she would later regret. Lael has a heart for others who need help and often visits those who don't have many visitors. She also holds grudges against those who have hurt her or those she loves. Forgiving is another one of her struggles. Life was hard on the frontier. One had to work hard to survive. There was illness and the fear of Indian attack. But life was also peaceful and lived close to nature. You had to depend on others in order to survive.
If you enjoy sweeping historical novels with a strong female lead, I recommend this book.