A Review of 'The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn' by Lori Benton

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 18+
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

This book is really cool because it’s set in Morganton, NC which is just five minutes up the road from where I live.

It was very interesting hearing about Indian settlements and political uprisings for an area in which I live.

Also, I had never heard of the lost State of Franklin so that was a very interesting thing for me to read up on after I finished the book.

Overall this was a pretty good story. I will admit that I thought some of the innuendos or sexual content was a bit out of place or unneeded in this story.

I’m not a prude, nor do I oppose situations of violence (in books) if it serves a purpose and brings a person closer to God. In this story though, I thought there were times when it was simply unneeded. The rape of the slave-girl and the near rape of a young girl both seemed unnecessary. It really had nothing to lend to the tale and therefore, I felt it was out of place. I also thought that Jesse’s exclamation that he’d prefer Tamsen having her clothes off was a bit much for this genre. It was just presented in a near crass manner. That’s simply my personal opinion.

I’d also like to point out that I have read a good many book with violent or sexual situations in them that I felt was appropriate for the genre, even Christian books that covered such material that didn’t rub me the wrong way so I don’t think that my opinion is because I’m being overly prudish. When it has a Christian label on it though, I feel it is my place to note when I think there is material that some may find offensive

Overall I thought the book was pretty good. I would read more by this author.

Tamsen Littlejohn defies her stepfather and flees into the wild with Jesse Bird. Her stepfather would see her married to Ambrose Kinkaid but she is certain that she can never condone his treatment (or his keeping) of slaves.

Read an excerpt on the Author's blog
It is after her stepfather murders her mother that she makes her escape with Jesse. The problem is that her stepfather is angry and he is trying to cover up his involvement in the murder of his wife. Thus, he pins the blame on Jesse and also alleges that he kidnapped her.

Jesse is a mountain man, raised by the Shawnee and then adopted by the Cherokee. He takes Tamsen into the wild, leading her back to his homestead where he thinks they will be safe.

Ambrose Kinkaid is hot on their heels and all the while, Tamsen is more determined than ever to never be found—not only because she fears for her life but also because she is falling in love with Jesse.

To further complicate things –parts of North Carolina has seceded and formed the State of Franklin. Surprisingly, this actually happened and it made me aware of a part of our history that I had never heard of.

The story wraps up with Tamsen and Jesse discovering their family history and of course seeing a resolution to their problems. I won’t share anything further as I don’t wish to ruin the story for those of you that haven’t yet read the book. I give it a solid three stars for the reasons I outlined above but would still suggest the book to folks who aren’t put off by those situations.
View all my reviews


Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God's transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband – often scouring the brush for huckleberries, which overflow the freezer and find their way into her signature huckleberry lemon pound cake.

I received The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn as a complimentary gift in exchange for an honest review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. My comments and opinions are my own.

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