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Mountain Laurel

(Kindred #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  86 reviews
North Carolina, 1793
Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again--into his planter uncle's heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona--beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she's been drawing for years, ever since
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Tyndale House Publishers
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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 ·  208 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Lori Benton
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Started 2004, April 10
Finished 2019, December 31
Release date: 2020, September 1
Dates reflect how long this book took to research, write, wait for a publishing home, edit, and release.

[6/28/20] I want to share about Mountain Laurel's very long journey to publication, and my hope for this book. Although this will be my seventh published historical novel set during the 18th century, it's actually the first I wrote. Because I came to it largely ignorant of the time period (I couldn't have told you
Bonnie DeMoss
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is 1793, and Ian Cameron has returned to Mountain Laurel, his uncle’s plantation in North Carolina, where he spent time as a boy. Now a grown man, he is being groomed as his uncle’s heir. When Ian sees Seona for the first time, he is immediately captivated by her green eyes and does not realize she is enslaved to his kin. When he learns of Seona’s hidden talent as an artist, he encourages it and finds ways for her to hide it from his cruel step-aunt, Lucinda. Lucinda does not believe slaves s ...more
Amanda Geaney
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you come across an author of this caliber, you rush to read every book they've written. I have been an admirer and vocal supporter of Lori Benton ever since reading The Wood's Edge (2015). 
One thing that endears me to her is how she consistently pens sympathetic characters who have to stumble down the wrong path in order to find their way—The Way. Often times, as it was with Ian Cameron, self-reliance and fleshly desires lead to heartache and forced humility. The destruction left in the wak
Melissa Tagg
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every year, there are two or three book releases I look forward to more than any other...and Lori Benton's books are ALWAYS on that list. She is one of my very, very, verrrrry favorite authors and I truly believe she is one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. I'm really not exaggerating when I say every one of her books has felt like a masterpiece to me. So needless to say, I was so ridiculously and excitedly impatient to read Mountain Laurel...and now that I have, I really don't know ...more
Lori Benton has penned an expertly crafted tale. I cherished every word and emotion as the magic of its prose whisked me away to frontier America. Benton does not shy away from the tough subjects of right and wrong, handling the issues of slavery and immorality with grace. Mostly, it chronicles the spiritual journey of Ian Cameron, as he comes to grasps with his role as his uncle's heir on Mountain Laurel.

Ms. Benton crafts characters who wound their way into my heart. With each page, I uncovere
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Lori Benton's writing is beautiful and it's clear she has researched the time period and setting. I am glad there will be a sequel (Shiloh) as there is a lot left to be sorted out. ...more
Jocelyn Green
Wow. Lori Benton is an extremely talented author (one of the very best living today), but this book also proves how brave she is. The historical context of North Carolina in the 1790s is a rather painful one, but with unflinching detail, Lori has given us a story of slavery and redemption, bondage and freedom, of slow corruption and of spiritual transformation. I had a hard time rooting for the hero in this book because of his perspective and choices, but taken in the world in which he lived, it ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
Mountain Laurel is the first book I've read by Lori Benton, although I've heard wonderful things about her previous books and have a couple on my TBR.

I didn't really have any expectations for Mountain Laurel. I started it curious to see what the story would bring...I feel like it was one that slowly sucks you in and takes you on a journey unlike any other.

The characters were deep and felt realistic; they made questionable choices and had some challenging moments. The ending left me slightly conf
Deanne Patterson
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am impressed every time I read a book by this author.
Each new book I read by Lori Benton becomes my favorite by her and I think to myself she couldn't possibly top her last book but somehow she manages to do it.
The research she puts into each book is incredible and I was interested in reading more about her research in the author notes in the back of the book.
Mountain Laurel is a book written from the heart, it's the good,the bad and the ugly of the time period. While it may not always be pret
Heidi Chiavaroli
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From Endorsement:

With a masterful pen, Lori Benton creates a poignant story that will have readers flipping pages late into the night. Filled with historical authenticity, heart-touching romance, and inconceivable circumstances, this book is a celebration of freedom—both the physical and the eternal. I finished Mountain Laurel with both a sigh of satisfaction and a longing of expectation for what comes next for these characters. I highly recommend this novel!
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No Spoilers!

Author Lori Benton has written an emotive, literary masterpiece as hauntingly beautiful as it is disturbing—the forbidden romance between its pages timeless, all consuming, and powerfully passionate—despite dire, insurmountable circumstances.

Ian Cameron is a kind, compassionate man, easy on the eyes, but uneasy with the role of slave owner—especially when he meets the beautiful, light-skinned, green-eyed Seona. I loved her grit, quiet strength, and compliant spirit, and I literally
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I wanted what I wanted, thought I knew what was best, and found a way to make it happen."

Ian Cameron's return to Mountain Laurel causes quite a stir. . . .among his kin, among those his kin own, but ultimately within the deepest recesses of his weary soul. Had he run away again, or had he found home; it seemed a mighty peculiar combination of both, especially after he discovers the one for whom his heart must have been longing for all along; Seona.

Seona's green eyes and fair skin taunted the t
Leighellen Landskov
"Every man makes himself a slave to someone or something. Your white skin doesna spare ye that."

Mountain Laurel is an amazing revolutionary war time epic. If you enjoyed Lynn Austin’s Refiners Fire series or Francine Rivers Redeeming Love, you will love this incredibly heartbreaking historical fiction novel set in a 1790’s plantation. The story revolves around a young man named Ian, who comes back down to the south after living in Boston to take over his Uncle's plantation. He falls desperately
Rochelle Saldaña
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mountain Laurel is a story woven so perfectly, bringing history and people who may have lived together. Perhaps what I loved most is that the book isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are heartaches and challenges. Tough decisions were made and evils were done. I am now anxiously awaiting the second book. I’m so glad that the story will continue. This may be my favorite Lori Benton book. I didn’t think Burning Sky could be topped, but this one was so good!!! Romance. History. Mystery. Gut wrenchi ...more
Cathy Gohlke
Love forbidden, sacrifice, redeemed. Mountain Laurel casts long shadows of kinship through generations of a society that breeds slaves and secrets. Only Divine wisdom can unravel this web of human passions and intrigue so tightly woven. Only Divine mercy can pave a road to loosen the chains of bondage—those worn by the enslaved, and those binding the hearts of slavers. Exquisitely penned, with all the beauty of a highland song, Lori Benton throws wide the door of a culture born in Scotland and w ...more
Karen R
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another epic historical tale by Lori Benton, rich with unique characters and a beautiful narrative. The early American setting of a North Carolina plantation showed how entrenched slavery already was in a country who fought for and won freedom from England just a decade before. Part one of a series, the book was a satisfying read full of human drama, passion, and inspiration.

The author does a wonderful job of pulling the reader into the lives of the characters--both slave and free. A glimpse of
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Gutted. This book. Has left me gutted.
There were times reading this when Mountain Laurel and I were not on speaking terms with each other. I was so angry, conflicted, heartbroken, hopeful, and amazed... Like every other book I've read from Lori Benton, this story takes you into the early heart of America, and you feel. Every. Gritty. Throb of that heart. You go through the emotions that the characters are feeling, because they are real and understandable. Relatable, in the truest human sense of
Cheryl Barker
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this historical fiction masterfully written by Lori Benton. Set in late 1700s North Carolina, slavery was among several serious topics Benton built her story around. Lyrical storytelling style, characters that come to life, and emotional depth that kept me fully invested definitely make Mountain Laurel a book that historical fiction fans won't want to miss.

This story will continue in a second book, but Benton handled this in expert fashion in my opinion -- no cliffhangers, but instead a n
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lori Benton weaves a narrative that is rich in history, people and emotions. It will take you on a journey of love and heartbreak, freedom and bondage, and truth and secrets. Lori Benton’s descriptions are so rich in detail that they’ll take you back in time to a world so far removed from ours. There you meet Seona (pronounced shona), a woman who’s been a slave her whole life and never dreamed of a life beyond it. Ian is running from his past when he arrives at Mountain Laurel, only to encounter ...more
Whew, this was a rough one! Lori Benton is in my top three favorite authors, so I snapped up the audiobook in order to listen to it while I travel. I just finished it.

Shaking my head. What to say?

Was it a bad story? Certainly not!

Was the writing sub-par? Oh my, no!

Was the flow or plot difficult to follow? Meh, once in a while until she takes the reader down the road to background explanations.

Was it enjoyable? Hm... this is where I struggled.

I had a hard time setting this book down because
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will admit to really enjoying this book. There are times I struggled with it though. It was historically accurate in the relationships but they still are harder to accept today. It also gives a great perspective and many times I was brought to tears. Beautifully and artfully written as Lori Bentons books are written. She has a beautiful way of sharing a story with her words. And I’m so glad this book is just the first! I am ready to read more of this family’s trials and triumphs. I received a ...more
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As always Benton has delivered another wonderful story! She's my go to for historical fiction.
I always look forward to seeing what she comes out with next and I'm never disappointed! She's fabulous and I highly recommend her.
I love how her research is turned into stories so that we can enjoy them too.
Her characters were so very real that I could feel their feelings coming to me from out of the book. I couldn't out the book down until I had finished Ian and Seona's story.
The many turns of this
Susan Snodgrass
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
'He went on breathing. The pieces of his heart kept beating. And on that road grace met him.'

Set in North Carolina in 1793, Lori Benton once again takes her readers on another journey to the American frontier. Ian Cameron is his uncle's heir but cannot be easy with the role of slave owner, especially the one called Seona. As a deep bond forms with them, Ian realizes his life has become incredibly complicated and finds himself in a place where generations will feel the consequences of his choices
Kami S
Oct 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I had to mull over this one a few days before I rated it.
The writing is a solid 5 stars.
Character development, 5 stars.
A page turner, 5 stars.
Characters feel like real, 5 stars.
Historical accuracy, 5 stars.
BUT... I didn't like the story.
There's huge mistakes and huge consequences... misunderstandings... more mistakes, heartache and more consequences. I get that the story is about a faith journey, real life situations in an unfair world (esp the history of our country at that time), humans
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Lori Benton’s books since her first book, Burning Sky in 2013. I don’t even read the synopsis on the back of the books anymore because I know that if Lori Benton wrote it, I’m going to love it!

Reading this story was like taking a trip back in time. I felt like I was in North Carolina in 1793. These characters wrapped themselves around my heart, flaws and all. This story has unapparelled depth, both in the characters themselves and in the very fabric of the story. I took my
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mountain Laurel captures the reader

Lori Benton has done it again with a story impossible to put down. Mountain Laurel people the imagination with characters that spring to life. The story is filled with romance, history, and passion that leaves you wanting more.
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Lori Benton has written a story that will stay with me for many days. Set in North Carolina in the late 1700’s, the conflict between freedom and slavery is shown through the lives of Ian Cameron and his uncle Hugh Cameron, the owner of a tobacco plantation. From the beginning , the reader is drawn into the lives of those who live and work on Mountain Laurel.
The human cost of slavery is told in gripping narrative, filled with dueling emotions. All of the characters, each one fully drawn and fully
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my first experience with reading anything written by Lori Benton, and I am amazed at her talent.
I first picked up the book and began reading because I kept hearing rave reviews from other avid readers, but the cover left me a bit unsure, and actually led me to believe that I just might not actually like it all that well.
As I began reading, the story pulled me in a bit slowly at first, but the longer I read, the more captivated I became. And I ended this book in love with this author's t
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’ve absolutely loved Lori’s previous books, so it was such a disappointment to not like this one! The story seemed to drag on forever without really going anywhere. I guessed the “twist” early on, skipped through the majority of the middle and obviously didn’t miss much as the ending made sense. Although, she did leave the ending open without much closure as the story is to be continued in the next book which I always find a little annoying. Can’t say I cared enough about the story to pick up t ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Mountain Laurel is an intriguing look into the institution of slavery after the Revolutionary War, and what it would be like for someone to inherit that.
Both Ian and Seona are characters with depth. Both have certain set ideas as the book starts, and those are challenged depending on the pressures around them. I liked the dynamic of Thomas’ and Ian’s relationship. I think that really displayed some of the intricacies of the period.
Because of who the characters are from the beginning to nearly th
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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 bond ...more

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Kindred (2 books)
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