Audiobook Mini-Review: An Uncommon Woman

11 Jun

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, who disappeared from the settlement years earlier.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when circumstances force Clay’s hand — and heart — the stage is set for one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at

My Impressions:

Laura Frantz has long been on my radar. Her books check all the boxes for me — well-researched historical fiction set in the early days of America with distinctive characters and a strong sense of place. So why have I waited so long to read one of her books? No idea, but I am glad I finally did. I listened to the audiobook of An Uncommon Woman. Set in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, it takes place in the wilds of what is now West Virginia. It is hard to believe that this was once the rough frontier. Relations between settlers and Native Americans were extremely hostile with raids, murders, and kidnappings being the common fears of the day. Into this setting, Frantz places Tessa Swan and Clay Tygart. Tessa is the only daughter in a family filled with brothers and is used to hard work and deprivations. Tygart is a war hero tasked with establishing a fort and defending the settlers who are claiming the land as their own. Their attraction is immediate, but there are lots of obstacles including the increased hostilities. I liked that Frantz presented both sides of the issues involved during that time. I found the setting fascinating, and loved how Frantz incorporated details, from language to mundane activities, to take the modern reader back in time. The romantic thread progressed naturally allowing for both characters to grow in their feelings. There is a bit of suspenseful action as well. A spiritual message is seamlessly incorporated — it never felt preachy.

I am so glad I finally read one of Frantz’s novels — An Uncommon Woman was so good. I already have another book ready to  go!


Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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