Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse
Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse ~ Photo: Mark Papke

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier

Welcome. This week it is my very great pleasure to celebrate debut author Lori Benton and her novel  Burning Sky. Coincidentally its release date was August 6th, the anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany, which plays an important part in the backdrop of Lori's book.  Included in this post is a short video of the Battle scenes illustrated by Don Troiani, an historical artist who has captured a sense of  early America and its rugged frontiersmen. Hope you enjoy this post and reading about Lori's new book!

Please try these links to meet with Lori and read about God's guidance and blessings on her journey to publication:


Burning Sky and the Battle of Oriskany ...

Lori, what affect did the Battle of Oriskany have on the characters in Burning Sky?
Burning Sky is set in 1784, seven years after the Battle of Oriskany, but the settlement of Shiloh, New York, is located near enough to Fort Stanwix and Oriskany Creek that the men from this fictional village would have been part of General Nicholas Herkimer’s mixed force of militia and Oneida warriors that fought against the British and other Iroquois Nations on that day.

In the pages of Burning Sky, those members of the militia who survived that battle and the rest of the war still live daily with its repercussions. The Warings, a prominent family in Shiloh, lost two of their members in that battle. Those who survived it were never the same for the brutality they witnessed and committed, or for the losses they sustained. Although it wasn’t called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in the 18th century, my goal was to portray these characters, and the long-term consequences of war upon their bodies and souls, as honestly as I could in light of our current understanding of this disorder.

Publishers Weekly, in their review of Burning Sky, had this to say: A bruised reed He shall not break, and a smoking flax he shall not quench: that's the theme resonating through this lovingly rendered historical-romantic homage to the men and women of the American frontier after the Revolutionary War. That is part of what I hoped to accomplish with this novel, to honor those of all nations who fought on the New York frontier during the Revolutionary War, or suffered loss and endured to rebuild and reshape their lives.

I thought it very fitting that the release date for Burning Sky “happens” to fall on August 6, the anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany.

Title: Burning Sky
Author: Lori Benton
Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Lori Benton

“I remember the borders of our land, though I have been gone from them nearly half the moons of my life. But who there will remember me? What I have seen, what I have done, it has changed me.
I am the place where two rivers meet, silted with upheaval and loss.
Yet memory of our land is a clear stream. I shall know it as a mother knows the faces of her children. It may be I will find me there.“
 Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage--the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty
wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

My Review of "Burning Sky":

As I read this book, the word haunting came to mind ... not only in the lovely, lyrical writing, but in the characters of Willa, Neil, Joseph and Francis. They've stayed with me well after I've closed its covers. To me that's haunting--like friends who have never left you.

 There are a few books I've returned to; the Bible, and some of the classics. This well-crafted story will be one of them. This story,
with its depth and layers, will always seem fresh to me as I discover more from each read. I've always marveled at the mental, physical and spiritual toughness of our frontier forebears in times of triumph and tragedy; Ms. Benton has captured these unique qualities in "real" people, not just as romantic heroes of fiction.

I'd not call this first book by Ms. Benton a success, I'd call it a triumph.

Along with a copy of "Burning Sky", our giveaway will include a "Willa" doll (with her unusual eye coloring, dressed in colonial day dress and moccasins), a silk fan, a packet of Twinings Tea, and a botanical print of "Wild Rose", by the 18th century French artist Pierre Joseph Redoute suitable for framing; perhaps Neil MacGregor might have done a similar botanical study! Please leave your e-mail address when making your comment so we can contact you if you are the winner! (you must live in U.S. to be eligible for book and giveaway). 

Wild Rose  ~ Pierre Joseph Redoute

Cross Book Mark for Burning Sky

Battle of Oriskany, New York
August 6, 1777


Thank you for stopping in to H.I.S. Stories to look over this new release, and God's blessings.


  1. Sounds a little like a book I've very much enjoy! twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

  2. Thanks for the interview and giveaway ladies! What a great prize pack. I am really looking forward to reading this book...


  3. Great review and interview! The book sounds very interesting.
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

  4. I agree, Pat, Burning Sky is a keeper, and I plan to read it again and again. Lyrical, haunting, triumph, yes.

  5. Hope this is the right place to get in with the book?cloth doll etc giveaway.

  6. Interesting interview about the battle, Pat and Lori! And yes, Burning Sky is a triumph and a keeper! Pat - the Willa doll is beautiful!! Wow!

  7. Thank you so much Pat! I love this doll.

    A note to commenters: If you'd like to enter the drawing, to be eligible PUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in your comment so Pat can contact you, if you are the winner.

    Thank you!

  8. No need to enter me ... but wow, what great prizes!! And now I'll have to go search out the history of that battle. This story definitely whetted my appetite for more, not that I needed much help! :-D

  9. I would love to win a copy of BURNING SKY and the other great prizes. The American Colonial frontier holds a special place in my heart, and I love crafts, too. Thank you for the opportunity.

  10. Wow, I have been so eager to get my hands on Burning Sky! But this giveaway is absolutely beautiful - I just love dolls :)

    Thank you for the chance to win!


  11. Hello All--

    Am home from work; and thanks so much for "holding the fort", Lori! (O.K. Quit rolling your eyes) Hope you all enjoy reading about Lori's new book. Need to go out to do some errands; but will be back to see how you all are doing. PLEASE PUT IN YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR COMMENT.

    Thanks everyone--and Blessings!

  12. Pat, Willa is gorgeous!!! You do such great work! Loved this book and am wishing Lori much success with it! Blessings!

  13. Lori, your book sounds great. I enjoyed the interview and review. I think Willa is so precious. This is a wonderful giveaway. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you!!
    Barbara Thompson

  14. Sometimes I think I should just stop writing as I am getting farther and farther behind in my TBR pile. I know I'll get to this amazing book and then i'll be posting a review as well. Pat told me about this book ... probably two years ago when she first read parts of Lori's book. Pat knows a lot about his period of history and the setting--so she knows what she's talking about!

    Thanks ladies - such an incredible giveaway. You are both so talented!

  15. your review was perfect, Pat. It was indeed a triumph. So hard to believe this was a debut! And your doll is precious!!!!

  16. I loved the history and all the extras within your review. This book sounds great and I can't wait to read this new book by Lori. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.


    hspruitt {at} frontiernet [dot] net

  17. Lovely post, filled with all sorts of goodies! What a fascinating history. Willa is just a precious doll, Pat! You are so generous and talented. What a perfect accompaniment to Lori's debut! This is a much celebrated book and long awaited by many. Blessings for many more books, Lori.

  18. The title alone caught my attention! And PAT!!! I love the doll. She would make a great companion for my Adalia doll. Hehehe
    Hugs and God bless

  19. This book sounds really interesting. I hope I win.

  20. I love hearing about this book. I have always loved this kind of reading. I wish you well Lori, and I hope to be your winner. Thanks for this give-away.
    MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  21. I would love to win a copy of BURNING SKY and the other prizes, thanks for the chance
    Shirley B

  22. So happy to see so many entries, Pat! Willa deserves to be wanted. :)

    Thanks everyone for your good wishes. I'm working away on my second novel, due out in April 2014. It's set in the same time period as Burning Sky, the 1780s, but down south a bit, in what is now eastern Tennessee (in the 1780s it was considered by most to be western North Carolina, but some were of a different opinion....).

  23. I look forward to this next novel, too!

  24. Hi Everyone--

    Thank you so much for stopping in and supporting Lori's debut, ladies. Your writing is great Lori, and I'm looking forward to your next story. You mentioned Tennessee and North Carolina. Does it have anything to do with King's Mountain?
    His gracious blessings on you all!

    p.s. just got a new order for 4 dolls--from Ft. Niagara!

  25. I'll be reading Burning Sky this Sunday. I've set the afternoon aside just for that. I can't wait. I think it's marvelous that Pat created the Willa doll. My email, in case I'm lucky enough to win is,
    Thanks Pat for the interview, and Thank you Lori for writing. It's important to remember (or imagine) those who came before us and made the America we enjoy.
    Blessings to all.

  26. Wow! I would really love to read this book! I love history in general but it was the late 1700's that first drew me as a small child.

    Jasmine A.

  27. Just checking back today, Saturday, between edits. Good to see more entries!

    Pat, my next book is set in 1787, but the Battle of King's mountain left its legacy in the region. Not in the same way Oriskany did for the frontier settlers of Shiloh, in Burning Sky, since Kings Mountain was such a great victory for the overmountain militia.

  28. So excited! My copy of Burning Sky just arrived in yesterday's mail. Now the only question is how long I can resist opening it. ;-) Really *should* get some edits done looking forward to digging in, Lori!

  29. Congratulations! Such an excellent endeavor, Lori.

  30. Thanks for the information about the book. I am a lover of historical books, especially ones about our country's early formation. Your book sounds like it fits that bill.

  31. Hi Everyone--

    The winner of our our Burning Sky giveaway this week is Nan-- Congratulations and blessings, Nan!

  32. WoooHoooo" can you hear me? I'd planned to download the kindle version, but never had the chance. Yesterday at church I was telling all of my friends about this great book I want to read and how they too will love it. Last night I couldn't sleep so I checked my email (at midnight) for the first time in days, and I found the email telling me I'd won. I was so excited, and I had no one to tell. Poor hubby, snoring away and me wanting to wake him. Anyway, I'm finally home and able to say, "Thank you Pat." This is so very very cool. Also, between us girls, I'm just as excited to be getting a doll! I'm well past doll carrying days, but apparently the little girl in me isn't. Wow. Hugs and blessings to you.

    1. Your copy of Burning Sky is in the mail to you!

      Congrats, again, Nan!