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The Pathfinders #1

The Wood's Edge

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400 pages, Paperback

First published April 21, 2015

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About the author

Lori Benton

13 books919 followers
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.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori's debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 291 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,329 followers
February 1, 2016
Can I have ten stars, please? Five is not sufficient for a story this deep and detailed! In fact, I've been putting off this review for way too long because I don't rightly know how to express how enjoyable this book was for me.

It's the type of story that draws you in and doesn't let you go. It's epic in its scope, following a family from the children's birth and the theft of the baby all the way to the young manhood of the twins. Benton draws you into a deep emotional understanding with many characters—Lydia, Major Aubrey, Two Hawks, Good Voice, Anna, and more. It's not simply focused on a single main character, but makes you care about all.

It also gets full stars for the Christian message. This is Christian fiction at its finest, with a deep salvation message—exploring the meanings of right and wrong and forgiveness and what constitutes family ties. Highly recommended and a new favorite...and I can hardly wait for book two to see what happens with William and all the rest.
Profile Image for Olivia.
674 reviews104 followers
June 27, 2018
{3.5 stars}

I had barely begun Many Sparrows by this same author, when I knew I would have to snatch up the rest of her books. I've always longed for books that would whirl me into a descriptive world, and hold my attention on every page. Lori Benton does just that for me.

This book was a whirlwind! It spans many years, bringing together the lives of family and strangers in a unique way. The first half was long and slow, and sometimes the months and years passed in between got a little tedious, although I was able to keep track of everything. Reginald was definitely a favorite character, but I'm not sure who I could put as my top favorite!!

The salvation message was strong and heavy...absolutely beautiful how it was described. So many verses and hope spanned throughout this story. The interlining struggles between the Indians and the settlers as America gained their independence, plays a factor into this evident gospel message.

I liked the romance...to a point. Without spoiling the story, let's just say I loved how things came together for one couple and there was so much emotions and joy found there. But there were a couple scenes that made me uncomfortable with kissing scenes, especially when right before the couple both agreed the Lord should be forefront in their interaction. I did appreciate that the man acknowledged her father and the courtship rules toward the end. There was another relationship that came together rather predictably, and the beginning of their relationship was a little awkward .

The ending was absolutely amazing, and the forgiveness and grace shown was profound. Brought tears to my eyes!

I'm really excited to read the sequel, and can't wait to see how these same characters draw nearer to one another. I'm especially curious to see more of William's character.
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 28 books1,187 followers
December 7, 2017
What an amazing saga, and I'm so glad I'm only halfway through it since this is the first in a two-book series! Lori Benton's ability really shines in this novel (as it does with all her others). I was so impressed with how she was able to span from the end of the French and Indian War to the beginning of the Revolutionary War by following the twisting tales of two families tied together by one impulsive act. Never did the book feel rushed. There were several POV characters, and she nailed the voice for each one. This book was full of history, love (without sap), and heart-pumping drama. Watching each character grow and develop was a genuine treat, and the ending was incredibly satisfying, while still leaving enough unresolved to compel me to read the next book. Well done!!
Profile Image for Robin Lee Hatcher.
Author 114 books2,702 followers
December 19, 2014
From the opening scene to the last line of the book, I was captivated by The Wood’s Edge. Rich in history, with characters to weep for and to cheer for, this is a novel that will linger in my heart for a long time to come.
~ Robin Lee Hatcher, bestselling author of Love Without End and Whenever You Come Around
Profile Image for Kelvey.
63 reviews22 followers
April 21, 2015
A beautiful story of faith, forgiveness, and God’s redeeming grace, The Wood’s Edge blurs the lines between history and fiction in a beautiful way. Set in 1700s New York, this historical novel is one you will not want to miss. You’ll be swept up from the very first page, and will not want to be put down!

From the first chapter, I was captivated. Benton is a mastermind at creating complex characters and weaving their lives together in an intricate way. I especially loved that in this novel, we get to watch Anna, William, and Two Hawks grow up. It added a child’s perspective of the things that were going on in the 1700s. I honestly felt so attached to both families by the end!

I also loved the perspective of the Oneidas in this story. There was no stereotypical “Indian”; you could tell that a lot of research was put into finding out about their culture.

The amount of spiritual lessons in this novel astounded me. I have never read a fiction book that had so many “gems” weaved into the characters lives!

If you love beautiful writing, complex storylines, lovable characters, and a great portrayal of God’s redeeming grace, then pick up this book! I rated this book 5/5 stars, but it deserves 1,000; The Wood’s Edge will always be one of my top favorites.

Beware though, as soon as you finish you’ll have to wait for the second book, A Flight of Arrows, coming next year! And let me tell you, I’m slowly dying inside without it! ;)

If you would like to check out more of my reviews, click the link here: http://www.kelvreadsbooks.blog.com to see my blog!

*The author was kind enough to send me an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was in no way compensated for this review.
Profile Image for Jamie Lapeyrolerie .
517 reviews121 followers
April 21, 2015
I don’t recall giving this book permission to end. Yet, it went against all of my bookish wishes and did. How terribly rude.

I’m here to prepare you Internet, so you’re welcome!

I don’t read much historical fiction from this era, but when it comes to Lori Benton’s novels, I can’t help myself. She immediately draws readers in and when it ends, you’re left wanting more.

I wanted to list my favorite characters, but that would turn into talking about most of the characters, so I’ll say this: Benton is able to tie in many lives and stories together without overwhelming the reader or having it be too much. It’s a wonderful tale of people’s decisions (both the good and bad), life happenings and consequences coming together – it’s messy, it’s beautiful, it’s life.

I love that Benton doesn’t shy away from telling a story that accurately portrays life in the forts, wilderness and settlements of 1700s. It wasn’t easy and people were far from perfect, yet Benton’s tale made me want to travel back in time, even if only for a week….let’s not get crazy people, a girl needs her Del Taco.

One more warning Internet. It’s all fun and games until you’re getting closer to the last page and realize this is book one of a series. Wait, what?!? I need more. Ahora por favor! So while I have to wait until 2016, it’s worth it knowing I’ll get to hang out with my friends again. ; ) This is definitely my favorite novel yet from Lori and I can’t wait for the next one!

Have you had the chance to read Lori Benton’s novels? If you have, what’s a favorite?

(Thank you to Blogging for Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2015/03/...
Profile Image for Staci.
1,658 reviews508 followers
May 20, 2015
Beautiful Writing - Check
Compelling Storyline - Check
Historical Detail - Check

I could not ask for more. This was a phenomenal novel and as good or perhaps better than Burning Sky, Lori's debut release.

I anxiously await the continuation of this story in The Flight of Arrows.
Profile Image for Rachel.
353 reviews29 followers
October 5, 2017
It took me several tries to persuade myself to start reading this book just because it looked long and I wasn't sure if it would hold my interest with the expanse of years it covers. Was I ever wrong! It was an awesome read!

This story follows the lives of those impacted by one terrible action and choice made by Major Reginald Aubrey. The consequences of that one choice will ripple through many lives for years to come. Set in Colonial America before the War of Independence, the author does a masterful job of weaving the story lines of the two families together.

Fleeing after the fall of the Fort with his wife and the child he stole, Reginald also rescues Anna, whose family has been killed in the massacre. Anna grows up believing that her "brother", William, is the son of Reginald and his wife. She has no reason to believe otherwise. When she learns the truth can she find the strength to forgive her beloved Papa? And how will it affect her relationship with Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she has been meeting in secret for years?

The Oneida family whose baby was stolen has never given up hope that they will be reunited with their son. The father has been plagued with a lust for vengeance that has played havoc with the lives of the rest of his family. When a missionary joins their village, will this family finally find peace?

I have no doubt you will be glued to this book as you get to know each character and follow along as they grow, make life choices, and strive to become the best they can be. This book takes you on a deep journey of the consequence of sin and the redemption and reconciliation found in repentance and forgiveness. I can't say enough good about it and I'm anxiously waiting for book two!

*Thanks to Blogging For Books for the complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions stated are my own.*
Profile Image for Gwendolyn Gage.
147 reviews25 followers
June 27, 2018
The “switched at birth” storyline gets a new spin in “The Wood’s Edge”. A French-and-Indian War soldier steals the white newborn boy of an Indian captive’s twins, placing his own dead newborn son in his place. The Indian family is devastated, and the grieved father swears to hunt down and exact revenge upon the redcoat who stole his son.

This was such an impactful and captivating tale! There are a lot of characters and multiple POVs, but they all work to paint a poignant picture of forgiveness and restoration. Two Hawks and Anna were my favorites, and upon reaching an ending that resolved the story but left so much untold, I immediately ran to the library and picked up the sequel.
Profile Image for Sarita.
1,072 reviews629 followers
April 6, 2016
This was my first book by Lori Benton, and what a treat! Lori will now be on my to-read list forever.

This was such a beautiful well written story, to find words to describe it and give it the proper praise it deserves will be difficult.

Lori managed to pen down realistic, emotionally deep and raw characters in such a way that I could see the story play out in front of my eyes, almost like I'm watching my friends. I felt the pain, the joy, the bitterness and finishing the story left me with a longing to sit down with these characters and learn from them about life.

The Christian message is so true and deep. Lori did an excellent job of portraying the effect of loss, bitterness, self-condemnation, guilt, unconditional love and forgiveness. The story unfolds over 20 years, and without that, the characters struggles would not have made such a deep impact.

I loved the characters, Two Hawks and Lydia being my favourite and William (the 19 year old) not being a favourite. I enjoyed watching the relationships develop between all the parties. It felt realistic. I also enjoyed learning about the Oneidas and their ways.

This was a great read and highly recommended to all Christian Historical fans
Profile Image for Amanda Geaney.
417 reviews266 followers
October 14, 2015
This was the first book that I've read by Lori Benton and her writing has made me an instant fan. The audacious sin which set this story in motion culminated in a powerful message of grace and redemption. Instead of connecting with one or two characters, I developed an emotional attachment to a group of about 6. In fact, Lori's storytelling coupled with Liz Pearce's audiobook narration brought me to tears while I was driving!

History buffs will like how the story is nestled between the French and Indian War and the beginning of the American Revolution. I was especially intrigued by the customs of the Oneida Indians and the work of the missionaries in their midst.

I will definitely be adding A FLIGHT OF ARROWS (April 2016) to my TBR.

[Disclosure: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while listening.]
Profile Image for Loraine.
2,913 reviews
July 21, 2016
The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths. Major Reginald Aubrey in the midst of fighting between the British and the Onedia makes a decision that will forever change the lives of his entire family. When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward?

This was such a fascinating historical read. Not many books touch upon the period prior to the Revolution when relations between the native Americans and British were so volatile. Benton's research into the New York tribes, their relations with the British, and the missionary effort to the Indians was excellent. Her descriptions of the area were vibrant and painted a picture of what early New York was like so that I could place myself right there in the middle of the scenes.

Her storyline and characters were complex. I loved the relationship between Two Hawks and Anna and how it grew from friendship as young children to something more as the learned they had more things in common than their differences. Reginald paid during his entire marriage for the deed he had done to try and keep Heledd from further depression. He thought he had done it for the right reasons but he knew others were paying for his choices, and it didn't strengthen his marriage as he hoped it would. The contrast between Good Voice and Stone Thrower was like the two sides of a coin. For all of the characters, it was only when God became the focus of their lives that they could find peace. The theme of faith, redemption and repentance flows well throughout this book.

The ending definitely left me anxiously awaiting book 2 in The Pathfinder series to find out what will happen next to all of the characters. I would definitely recommend this to readers of historical fiction and those who like authors such as Laura Frantz and Lynn Austin.

FAVORITE QUOTES: "But I think sometimes to claim a right is the wrong thing to do."

"If knowing God in my heart means losing a little of what it means to be Oneida--I do not think it means losing everything, as the sachems fear--I think it is only what must be remade in every man who comes to Creator through His Son, Jesus. White, black, red, and any other sort of man. If I have lost anything, what I have gained is a trade in my favor."

"No amount of sacrifice can atone for a single sin, not the smallest sin, or earn a right to God's forgiveness.

Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 13 books125 followers
May 7, 2015
Oh. My. Goodness! This book was incredible! A compelling journey that spans 19 years and tugs at the heart the whole way through. The final pages leave the reader sighing with contentment, while still leaving room for wonder & anticipation over its sequel (2016 feels like an eternity from now!). I finished reading it about 20 minutes ago and haven't stopped squealing since.

Lori, thank you! Your books never fail to leave me satisfied as well as deeply moved and amazed at the depths with which you write. I walk away feeling as if I take the characters - and the lessons they've learned - with me. Your style is rich and enveloping, and I simply cannot wait for the next installment!

I'm positive this book will prove to be my favorite read of the year, just as Lori's The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn was last year's.
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 25 books1,032 followers
April 28, 2015
Historical literary fiction has found its place in the CBA with poetical and lyrical wordsmith Lori Benton. The strongest of her triad of exceptional books, The Wood's Edge is heart-wrenching and so gorgeously written your breath will catch in your throat.

Excavating the horror of war and exhuming, gorgeously, the ties that bind and break, Benton weaves a tale that is so unique, so heart-stopping and so emotional that you will look up from its vivid pages surprised you are not immersed in its action.

Benton is a master and one of the strong historical voices currently writing in any genre. Do yourself a favour and fall into the world of the Wood's Edge. It will stay with you forever. It's painful and coloured and frantic and solemn and bright. I cannot praise this author enough nor applaud the work to properly do its scope and immense ambition and subsequent realization justice.
Profile Image for Savanna Kaiser.
191 reviews39 followers
April 24, 2015
To say this story was incredible almost seems like an understatement. In fact, it’s hard to find the words at all to review a book that left me in such awe. From the earliest pages, I found myself speechless and glued to the journey unfolding before me. I’ve never read anything quite like this. The Wood’s Edge took storytelling to a whole new level for me. I can’t wait for the rest of this new series.

Readers aren’t just stepping into one character’s journey when they pick this book up. They’re stepping into a much larger world, sown together with remarkable detail and dialogue. There you’ll meet multiple characters and experience the story through their eyes. You’ll sweep over many years and stand witness to great love and great heartache too. The birth of faith in new believers was exceptionally touching. It’s an amazing story, let me tell you.

I felt so much for these characters. I felt their pain, their desperation, their fear, and their shame. But I also shared their hope, their curiosity, and their joy. I felt like I knew them. I could see them. I was one of them.

The pace and progression of the tale was very well done, I thought. It covered a lot of ground between the different cultures. The real-life events flowed smoothly around the fictitious. While there were a lot of different names and details, the emotional depth and strength of the plot never weakened.

The Wood’s Edge has to be one of my favorite historical fiction books to date. I felt honored just to read it. I came away from it freshly inspired, encouraged, and convicted with the struggles of my own path. I know it will bless and impact countless others too. This one’s a keeper, my friends. Don’t let it pass you by.

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group and the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kerry Johnson.
Author 4 books68 followers
February 27, 2015
"At the wood's edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?"

These powerful words adorn the back of Lori Benton's third historical, The Wood's Edge, foreshadowing an historically detailed, emotionally-rich family saga that swept me up and wouldn't let go.

Sigh. Such depth, such pain, such beauty, all in one book.

The Wood's Edge is a tender love story on multiple relationship levels...Mother and son. Husband and wife. Father and daughter. Father and son. Friend and foe. Indian and British colonist. The author mines the depths of the human experience, twining it perfectly with the spiritual themes of faith, forgiveness, and mercy.

Lori's tale of two families bound together by one man's desperate, haunting choice is rich with well-drawn characters and heart-wrenching events, all tied carefully together. She's truly masterful at weaving scenes both emotion-packed and bursting with plot-pushing storytelling.

Her prose is simply lovely. You must read it to understand.

And the characters.

Two-Hawks, Anna, Reginald, Lydia, William, Good Voice, Stone Thrower...they're fictional, right? They're not real...or are they? Having finished the book late last night/early this morning, I'm just not sure now.

Lori Benton has written another unforgettable book. I can't recommend it highly enough, unless I climbed up on a really tall ladder and shouted with a megaphone. :)

Read and savor this story, and together we'll bide our time until 2016 and A Flight of Arrows is released (sequel to this story).

Profile Image for Joanne Bischof.
Author 16 books1,127 followers
August 20, 2016
This book was absolutely wonderful. Not only is Lori's writing lyrical, vivid, romantic, and historically rich, but I found the spiritual themes interwoven within to be exactly what I needed at the time. I love when God works that way and when he uses an author and a work of fiction, to remind us of very real truths.
Profile Image for Carissa (Regency Woman).
261 reviews49 followers
July 17, 2016
Fort William Henry, Lake George, New York, 1757

When Reginald Aubrey holds the cooling body of his hour old infant son in his arms he is left with a choice. He can either tell his unconscious wife that their son has died or he can kidnap a boy from a set of newborn twins born within minutes of his own son. The twins' mother is a white woman who had been captured as a small child by a tribe of American Indians and raised Oneida. Her children are half white/half Indian, except that one boy has pale eyes, pale skin, and blonde hair, just like his mother. What Reginald Aubrey decided that day set in motion a chain of events that he could never have anticipated. A stolen son who can hardly look at without feeling shame, a rescued baby girl a few months older than that son who he grows to love more fiercely than the boy who is supposed to be of his own blood, and the desperate vengeance felt by the Oneida family who is missing one of their own, who they call He-is-Taken.

Given enough time, a person's perception of something can change. I started reading The Wood's Edge sometime in the fall last year, but the timing wasn't right. I couldn't focus on the book with any level of credible enjoyment so I did the wisest thing I could do under the circumstances; I sent it back to the library unread and figured I would try again later. Today is later, and fortunately for me, I loved every moment of The Wood's Edge. Having already read Ms. Benton's debut novel, Burning Sky , and her subsequent novel The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn I knew to expect high quality. However, I really didn't think anything could come close to my love for Burning Sky, but The Wood's Edge sneaked in there and stole my heart, not quite topping her debut novel, but coming close.

What is it about Lori Benton's books? Maybe it's that she reads 5 gazillion history books to get the setting right. Or it could just be that she knows all the right thing to do in all the right ways to squeeze her characters just right. She develops her characters, forces the reader to love them, and then puts through the rigorous pain that is daily life. Lies and deceit have consequences. Not everything ends up rosily perfect. And because I, as the reader, fear for these characters that I love by chapter 4, I can't put the book down, even when terror takes hold that something TERRIBLE is going to happen.

Or it could be something as basic as I love American Indian literary characters. When they're done right. Which they are when Lori Benton gets her hands on them. The Oneida Indian family won me over: Good Voice the grieving mother, Stone Thrower the vengeful father, and Two Hawks the lonely twin of William, the stolen son who they named He-is-Taken. I was invested in Good Voice's pain from the very beginning and since Two Hawks is a major player in the story, he won my heart from the time he was a small child. He is both courageous and merciful and learns to put forgiveness ahead of vengeance.

Then of course, there's the cameo appearance of Joseph Tames-His-Horse who I LOVED in Burning Sky. Seriously, I loved him, and so meeting a teenage Tames-His-Horse and seeing his conversion to Christianity and finding out how he came by his Christian name, Joseph, is amazing. I love that she included him in The Wood's Edge, love, love, love it.

Then you have the Aubrey family with poor Reginald denying himself joy because the guilt of what he's done and the fear of retribution eats away at him every day. Lydia, the girl who was 14-years-old when the reader met her and whose teenage crush on Reginald is endearing, as well as her loyalty to the little infant girl he saved from the massacre at Fort William Henry. One child come by honestly and the other stolen. And dear Anna, who loves her Papa Reginald so very much, but finds her heart tripping over the Indian boy who looks so very like William, who she calls brother. As Anna and Two Hawks grow up together, him visiting her for news of William (because the Oneida family does discover his whereabouts), Two Hawks and Anna find affection that blossoms into love. Now THAT is what I call romantic.

One interesting part of the story is that we don't know William all that well. He's in England for school through much of this book, and when he returns he's a man fully grown with his own ideas about colonial uprisings and rebellions. It's tempting to dislike him because he seems brainwashed by the British, but at the same time his relationship with his father was never solid because of Reginald's guilt over how he obtained William. Being the 1st book in a series, The Wood's Edge does not tie up William's story neatly; that will have to wait for A Flight of Arrows, book 2.

I've been trying to find a good word for my feelings regarding Lori Benton's work, and it isn't easy. Her work is spiritually fulfilling in a way that a lot of Christian fiction lacks. She manages to share the gospel without really quoting the Bible verbatim or being too preachy, yet her conversion scenes are some of the most poignant I've ever read. These are real people coming to know a Savior who is also my Savior. I understand their feelings, their concerns, and the overwhelming joy in their Creator. It's beautiful imagery, and the way Ms. Benton describes it, those conversion scenes are straight out of reality.

Anyway, I think I've rambled on long enough. All of the characters in this book felt realistic; even the ones I didn't fully like, I still understood their perspective. Ms. Benton's prose is still top of the line, flowing with beautiful imagery that just sucks the reader so far into the story it's like you're there. If you haven't read any of Lori Benton's books before, The Wood's Edge is a terrific place to start. Enjoy! ❤
Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books355 followers
April 23, 2017
I simply love this era, this style of writing, this feel. Lori Benton, I love your books! ^_^ Set in a time of unrest, Native Americans hunting the forests, the Colonies and England stirring against each other, The Wood's Edge did not fail to catch my interest and capture my heart. (Just like Burning Sky and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn before it; and also Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. All set around the same time period). I don't know what exactly it is ... but I am just in love with novels like these. I don't think I will ever get tired of them. Lori Benton (and Laura Frantz), please bring them on! *grins*

The story starts in the midst of a terrifying scene of war. The French and Indian War. Regionald Aubrey is carrying his still newborn son away from his sleeping wife. Grieved. Tortured with the thought of having to tell his weak and troubled wife about the death of their baby. That's when he sees the Indian captive. She's recently given birth to two babies ...
Years later, his decisions of that day still haunt him. And unknown to him, it also haunts others. A young girl named Lydia. An Indian boy, Two Hawks. A heartbroken mother, Good Voice. His sins will reach far and wide to try and destroy many; even his beloved "daughter", Anna.

Honestly, The Wood's Edge wasn't what I was expecting. I was a bit worried I might not like it. The first main character I met was a young married soldier, Regionald. The next a teenage girl, Lydia. The next a sorrowing mother, Good Voice. And I was like, Hmm, so when am I going to meet the two on the front cover? Well, that came soon enough. It all worked out; giving just enough backstory, poignancy, and depth to make the story even better before we actually meet the main characters who are depicted on the cover. So yes. I quickly fell into this tale. And absolutely adored it.

It's heart-rending, yes. There's rough times. Terrible decisions. Dark secrets. Bitterness and revengeful thoughts. There's tears. There's hate. There is broken families and broken people.
But then there is beauty. Laughter. Love. Forgiveness cuts through the darkness, illuminating a path to joy and peace. To hope. There are second chances. A masterful story unfolds with grace and depth.

I just loved it. The meeting at the wood's edge. The budding love. The preacher in the Indian's village. ...After the bear attack. The redemption story. Ah! There's so much in here I want to spill out about!! But you'll just have to go read the book for yourself. I don't want to give any spoilers.

Cautions ... There may be some slightly frightening moments. A bit of violence depicted. As for romance, it's definitely for mature audiences. There were a few a-bit-heated scenes.

But I really liked the realness and deepness of this love story. First love. Secret romance. Young people who don't even quite realize they've fallen in love. Ah yes. And there were some boundaries set and things realized as it progressed that showed maturity and wisdom concerning romance on the characters' parts.

I mentioned a theme of forgiveness ... Yes. Powerful. Incredible. Real. It was just so very soul-touching, this story. I loved the faith theme. I loved watching the Truth of Jesus spread amongst the Native American village; seeing how they responded to it. I loved seeing how Anna's faith and journey to God played out. It was all just so beautiful! Eep! Touched my heart. <3

Anyway. Historical romance at its best. A sweeping drama. Rich. Emotional. Raw. Profound. As I closed The Wood's Edge, I just got this satisfied feeling, mixed with a little bit of awe. Contentment. Like, I just read a very beautiful story. And I can hardly wait to read the next one! A Flight of Arrows, <3
Profile Image for Joleen.
2,004 reviews1,210 followers
August 24, 2022
This was my first Lori Benton book. I was sure I owned a couple, I'm so familiar with her books, but when I looked in my collection I couldn't find any. So I picked up 3 and plowed right into this one. If I could guess the one word someone would say after reading this, or perhaps any Benton book, I'd guess it would be, "Wow!"

The Wood's Edge, by Lori Benton
Time Frame: 1757-1776
Location: New York (mostly Mohawk River Valley, and Schenectady)
Main Characters:
Lydia - ages 14-33 young girl to adult mid-wife. Good friend to the Aubreys
Reginald Aubrey - father to William and Anna
Heledd Aubrey - Reginald's wife
William Aubrey - son of Reginald and Heledd
Anna Catherine - became daughter to Reginald when he saved her from an Indian attack
Good Voice - White woman raised by Oneida Indians and mother to Two Hawks
Stone Thrower - Oneida Indian, husband to Good Voice
Two Hawks - The only child Good Voice brought home of the twins she bore

This was an amazing historical fiction book not easily forgotten. Spanning 19 years, beginning with the fall of British held Fort William Henry, NY to the Revolutionary War. The tale is woven of Oneida Indians bent on white man's destruction, culminating in a life change through faith that heals what seemed eternally broken. In this fabric is a family damaged by a sin that cannot be uttered, which at first seemed to ease great pain in one, but haunted the other all his days. It was of an apothecary's daughter who loved this family as if she were a part of it, bringing as much comfort as she could to people damaged and unhealthy in spirit. It was a tale of two boys who never met each other, linked by blood, one always knowing of the other and longed to meet, and the other never knowing the first existed. It was of a baby saved by a Redcoat Major from an Indian attack, becoming the light of his life, but rejected by his wife, eventually the link between the white family who raised her and the Oneida boy she grew to love. It was of an Indian family wanting revenge and to reclaim what was stolen, but learning Creator God and His Son's "red blanket of goodness" could change hearts to overflowing.

Well researched history, thrilling scenes, two diverse cultures, betrayal and devotion, rage and romance all composing one of the most engaging books I've read in years.

Can't wait to dive into the Burning Sky now.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 15 books513 followers
March 12, 2015
When I know I'm going to write a review of a book I tend to start thinking what I might say at about the two thirds point in the story. I didn't do that with The Wood's Edge. I didn't think about the amazing historic detail, I didn't think about the excellent writing, I didn't think about all the witty things I could say in praise of the story. I just READ the next page.

I was captivated and engaged so fully that I forgot about the mechanics of the writing. I just read another sentence and then another paragraph and then another chapter all the while thinking I had better go to bed soon.

That's the beauty of Lori's writing--you don't even notice it. All you see is story unfurling in your mind. Anna and Lydia and Reginald and Good Voice and oh, I'm a little bit in love with Two Hawks myself. Add in a delicately woven thread of faith and this book is just about perfect.

Now all that's left is the torture of waiting for book #2.
Profile Image for Dana.
147 reviews2 followers
May 9, 2016
I feel like I can't say anything different than most others have said! This book gives you a lot to chew on. What I loved:
Learning about the Oneida's
The war and turmoil during that time period
The character development
The romance (between Two Hawks and Anna and then the possibility of it with Lydia(but definitely her unfailing love for Reginald) and Reginald)
The Christian message was amazing (salvation, forgiveness, hope, faith)
I loved learning about the role of Christian ministers to the Native Americans (wowza)
I also loved how The Wood's Edge was used throughout the book and then the author explained about it at the end
What I struggled with:
I loved William as a child but then he went a way and I wasn't crazy about the adult he became, I wish he gave what he found out a chance but he was dismissive (thats all I am going to say without spoiling)
The fact that there was no closure in this book, I have to wait til the next one comes out, Oh wait, it just did!
Profile Image for Kiersti Giron.
35 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2015
I'm not sure I've ever wished before that I could give a book more than five stars, but I do with The Wood's Edge. Few historical novels have touched me as deeply as this one--and I've read a lot! :) I've come to expect from Lori Benton a beautifully crafted story that sweeps me away to the 18th century frontier, but this story of two families caught between cultures and histories yet inextricably bound together by human failing, heartache, and love...well, it completely blew me away, shaking me for the whole rest of the day after I finished it. Not only beautiful but powerful, with resonance of redemption and reconciliation that moved me to tears several times and left me deeply moved and, I hope, changed for the better.

If you have to choose only a few novels to read this year, let The Wood's Edge be one!
Profile Image for Amy.
246 reviews33 followers
January 24, 2015
Talk about a book hangover! I was completely captivated by "The Wood's Edge" from the very first page, as the story wove an epic and intricate tapestry of love, despair, recrimination, vengeance, condemnation, faith, hope, and forgiveness that here, as I close the back cover, has left me smiling and weeping and breathless for more. Heart-pounding romance... haunting, lyrical prose... riveting, realistic characters... all wrapped up in one of the most spiritually-challenging novels I have ever read... this book truly has it all.

How exquisitely painful the next year will be waiting to read more of this story!!!! Lori, couldn't you have written a 1,000-page novel so we wouldn't have to wait? :-)
Profile Image for Susan.
519 reviews56 followers
April 3, 2016
I did not want to finish. This is easily going to be one of my favorite reads, if not THE favorite read of the year for me.
Profile Image for April Jones.
225 reviews4 followers
July 2, 2018
The first several chapters seemed choppy, skipping several years between each. By the time Anna and the twins had become teens, I understood the need. The author developed a beautiful, rich storyline through the aging and maturing of all the characters, and she spent more time detailing their thoughts and emotions as they matured. I always love well-developed characters, and it is even better when their stories and trials bring them together, especially romantically.
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