Lori Benton’s Burning Sky: A bruised reed shall He not break

Renee Ann Smith —  August 11, 2013 — 10 Comments
“’It is about the heart and knowing the voice of the Great Good God in your spirit,’ he told them in his newborn fervor. ‘It is by His grace we are saved. By His goodness, not your own.’”
So speaks Joseph Tames-His-Horse, the Mohawk truth-teller from Lori Benton’s sweetly evocative novel, Burning Sky.

Burning Sky tells the story of Willa Obenchain, who was abducted from her family home at age fourteen in the early days of our country—when New York State was a frontier. (As an upstate New Yorker I so enjoy imagining that. Think Drums Along the Mohawk and Last of the Mohicans.) She lived with the Mohawk People until her husband died in a raid and small pox killed her children. As the novel begins, grief-stricken Willa is returning to New York to live out her days alone. However, God has other plans.

upstate new york today

Upstate New York today. My view of Catskill Mts. as I drive to work.

If Willa were a Bible character, she’d be . . .

Initially, Willa’s view of life could be summed up with Naomi’s pronouncement from the book of Ruth: “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

Her story made me imagine what might have been different for Naomi had she been as young as Willa when tragedy struck. In real life, God brought new blessings to Naomi and filled up the three empty places in her heart.

The same happens for Lori Benton’s character, Willa. And her journey from brokenness to blessing, filled with adventure, romance, and grace, makes for great reading. I devoured this 300+ page story in two sittings and highly recommend it.

A section I loved  . . .

“’Sister,’ said the Indian, ‘I am called Joseph Tames-His-Horse, and I have come far to say a thing to you. In my dream of you, I was saying it. Will you let me say it now?’

For the first time she didn’t recoil at a Mohawk calling her sister. She would listen to anything this Indian had to say, as long as he said it in English. But what he said was one of the very last things she’d expected. A verse of Holy Scripture.

‘A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.’ Believe this, my sister, because He who said it is both great and good, and cannot lie.’”

burning sky 11a

Beautiful reminder, no?

Thoughts stirred by this theme: Reeds were bent and bruised not only when trodden under foot but also when used to fashion something strong and good—like a roof or basket. Though we don’t understand why griefs come as they do, we can rely on God’s promise that He will not crush His children.

Who will love this story?
  • Readers seeking faith-strengthening fiction.
  • History buffs, for sure
  • Fans of Laura Frantz, Rosslyn Elliott, Jocelyn Green, Elizabeth Camden, Colleen Coble.
  • Readers who love people of God portrayed as strong, believable characters.
  • Older teen readers on up.
  • Homeschoolers may particularly appreciate the attention to detail in capturing American frontier life of the 1780’s.

I purchased (pre-ordered even) Burning Sky after noticing comments and ads while browsing Amazon and Romantic Times. (It’s a Romantic Times Top Pick.)

***Follow this link to purchase or wish list your copy.

See more book reviews & top picks here.

Or check out my Goodreads shelves.

LoriBenton 3About the author: 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.

You can connect with Lori at her website here and her Facebook page here.

This week I’m linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Miscellany Monday, Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Unite @Rich Faith Rising, The Better Mom, Modest Mondays, GraceLaced Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday Muse, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Wednesday Hop @Adorned from Above, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Desire to Inspire,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faithful Friday Blog Hop, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Aloha Friday Blog Hop, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, TGIF, Friday Company Girl Coffee Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Sunday Collective, and Heart Reflected.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

10 responses to Lori Benton’s Burning Sky: A bruised reed shall He not break

  1. Sounds like a fabulous book. I may just see if I can find it before my vacation next week! I love the info on the bruised reed as well. Great addition to your review!

    • I think you’ll appreciate it, Lisa. The main character reminds me of the story you shared on your blog about your husband’s great-grandmother Carrie—the same kind of strong woman of faith. I enjoyed reading your story & visiting your website. So glad you connected today! Blessings!

  2. I know that I would love to read this one. I like this era. I am putting it on my ever growing list.
    Thanks for the review and blessings to you!

  3. Beautiful review, Renee! Yes, this book is on my must-read list. :-)

  4. What a beautiful review, Renee. Thank you for sharing such deep and thoughtful insights. And I love your gorgeous graphic of Joseph’s words! I’d love to add it to my Burning Sky Pinterest board, with your permission. :)

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment on my review, Lori! As you can tell, I loved your beautiful story. Can’t wait to let my students have at it. And, please, feel free to share the graphic anywhere. Blessings!

  5. I love it when a book I read makes this kind of impact on me. I can see that I need to add this to my book list, Renee. Lovely…just lovely.

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