Book Review: Tidewater Bride

20 Jan

I only discovered Laura Frantz’s books last year, but she quickly became one of my favorites for historical fiction. While she usually writes about early American life, in Tidewater Bride she has gone back farther in time to 1600s Virginia Colony. I loved the rich detail of this book. Recommended!


Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in the Virginia colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family’s shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz takes you to the salty shores of seventeenth-century Virginia in this exploration of pride, honor, and the restorative power of true love

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:

Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz is set in the early days of American history. The Virginia Colony is still new enough for those who survived the first years to remember all of the hardships. But things always progress, and men’s pride and arrogance often blur lessons of the past. That’s what I found in this recommended historical romance.

James Towne and the upriver Hundreds are prospering, but there is a lack of women to help maintain and grow the Colony. Selah Hopewell is tasked with making the transition easier for the English women who are to become tobacco brides. I loved Selah’s perspective and her faith. Her admiration for tobacco lord, Xander Renick increases after her family moves upriver and closer to his farm. There’s a good bit of chemistry between the two and the obstacles to their relationship are soon removed. That’s not to say that the road to happily-ever-after is smooth. Tidewater Bride has an especially distasteful villain who seeks to undercut all that Xander and Selah hope to build. Frantz is deft at weaving historical details throughout the narrative. I especially liked the insight into a woman’s role and place in that time. A differing opinion by a woman could send her to the stocks! It was definitely a white man’s world in those days. Frantz does not sugarcoat the treatment of Native Americans, or Naturals as the colonists termed them. She also explores the beginnings of slavery in the New World. The faith of many of the founding colonists is related as well. Both Selah and Xander depend on God, even as they experience doubts in difficult situations. I found their reliance on scripture to be especially inspirational.

For fans of Frantz, Tidewater Bride will be a must read. For others new to her writing, I say give this one a try. Historical background, complex characters, and a great story make it a recommended read.


Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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