After reading Lori Benton’s first novel, Burning Sky, I started watching for the second. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn did not disappoint me at all! Both books were original and captivating, exceptional reads.
Like Burning Sky, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is set in post-revolutionary war America. For this second book, however, Benton takes readers east, setting the story right in the middle of the conflict over the Lost State of Franklin, the part of our country now known as Tennessee.
The story opens with Tamsen’s stepfather attempting to arrange a profitable marriage for her–the marriage for her, the profit for himself. For the sake of her mother, often abused, Tamsen agrees to meet the man her stepfather has chosen. This meeting does not go well, however, and, as other circumstances complicate matters, Tamsen finds herself forced to flee. Jessie Bird, an overland trail guide with a mysterious past, finds himself in just the right place at just the right time to come to her aid, and the pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn begins.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story full of twists, turns, and surprises but had to suspend disbelief on several occasions through the last third of the book. Were such a pursuit to happen today, it would be much harder for Tamsen and Jessie to get away. In the early years of our country, however, with so much wilderness to cover and only recognition by strangers willing to admit they’d seen the pair for help, Tamsen’s stepfather and suitor would have had a much harder time than they did catching up with them again and again. I was willing to ignore this, however, in order to stay caught up in the intensity of the book. That’s one mark of a great story!
Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I’m already watching for Lori Benton’s next!