Uncommon Woman

Written by Laura Frantz
Review by Fiona Alison

In the western Virginia borderlands, Tessa Swan, her mother and five brothers run Swan Station, a large ranch near the ferry crossing of the Buckhannon. Life is dawn-to-dusk toil, and Tessa rarely thinks of marriage, although there’s no shortage of men, but when Clay Tygart arrives, Tessa falls in love. A hero of the Indian Wars and redeemed Lenape captive, Clay has returned to Fort Tygart to train new members for the local militia. His acknowledgement of his feelings for Tessa is determined by his own history, having lost both his white and Lenape family. As the border Indians gather for attack, keeping themselves unseen except for signs which only Clay can read, the settlers frequently return to the Fort for protection and there the romance blossoms. When the action heats up Clay is aware that a very personal danger comes from one Lenape Warrior Chief who is out to settle a score.

In this straightforward romance, Frantz peppers her narrative with olde-worlde terms such as ’twas, ‘twould, betimes, nary and mayhap. I felt this served to embed the narrative firmly in the 1770s, and these God-fearing people feel very natural in their setting. Very interesting historical content.