Laura Frantz is a Christy Award-winning and ECPA bestselling Christian fiction author of more than a dozen novels, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Lacemaker, and A Heart Adrift. She is a proud mom of an American soldier and a career firefighter. A direct descendent of George Hume of Wedderburn Castle, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion, Laura lives with her husband in Washington State.
In this interview, Laura Frantz talks about how her Scottish heritage helped her to create a story that is rich in historical detail and accuracy in her latest novel, The Rose and the Thistle.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel, The Rose and the Thistle.
Amid the Jacobite uprising of 1715, an English heiress flees to the Scottish Lowlands to stay with allies of her powerful family. But while castle walls may protect her from the enemy outside, a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting allegiances, and temptations of the heart lie within.
FF: The Rose and the Thistle is set in Wedderburn Castle in Berwickshire, Scotland. Why did you choose this location, and why is this place so meaningful to you?
Aside from being a stunning Scottish estate, Wedderburn Castle was once home to my sixth great-grandfather, George Hume. He fought for the Jacobite cause in 1715 and lost not only the battle but Wedderburn too. He and other Jacobites were exiled to Virginia Colony as punishment, never to see Scotland again. My ancestry makes the novel’s setting an especially poignant, unforgettable one in The Rose and the Thistle.
FF: Your novel is written during the Jacobite uprising in 1715. Can you please tell readers more about this time and explain what led to the uprising?
The English Parliament wanted a Protestant king so George I from Hanover, or Germany, became the monarch instead. The Catholic Stuarts were banished to France where they continued to lead rebellions, or risings, to return the next Stuart heir to the throne.
FF: You have traveled to Scotland in the past. What did you learn from your travels, and were you able to use any of the information you garnered in The Rose and the Thistle?
Being on-site is invaluable for novel research and writing. I’d spent time in the Scottish Hebrides and Highlands, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, but not the Lowlands, where The Rose and the Thistle is set. Once I was there, the Lowlands became my favorite part of Scotland, and I was able to flesh out the novel in fresher, more factual ways. My ancestry also came to life as I walked the very ground my ancestors walked and heard their history from the Scots themselves.
FF: One of the underlying themes in your novel is learning to trust. Can you explain how this comes into play with your protagonists?
Each character in The Rose and the Thistle is put in a position where their trust is threatened and they must decide whether to stand on their faith or their fears. The year 1715 was a very turbulent time in British history, which provides a compelling backdrop for the novel.
FF: Are there other themes or lessons you hope readers will gain from reading The Rose and the Thistle?
Our past doesn’t define us. We are all made in the Lord’s image and can become new creatures in Christ. Or we can choose not to.
FF: Do you have a favorite character?
I always love the children in my novels, in this case wee Orin Hume. At age eight, he has that beguiling innocence and honesty and imagination that is refreshing and brings a touch of delightful humor to the novel’s dark places.
FF: What do you love most about writing historical romance novels?
Creating heroes and heroines of integrity who overcome hard things. Placing them in impossible situations where their faith and future are challenged but hope prevails.
FF: What are you working on next?
An Acadian novel based on the Great Upheaval, or Le Grand Dérangement, of 1755. River of Grace is the working title, and it is scheduled to release January 2024.
The Rose and the Thistle
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance
Release Date: January 3, 2023
Amid the Jacobite uprising in 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley’s father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies. Forced to flee her home, Blythe is secreted away to Wedderburn Castle in the Scottish Lowlands to stay with longtime allies of her powerful Northumbrian family. While she awaits the crowning of the new king, she becomes acquainted with the Humes, the “Spears of Wedderburn,” who call the castle their home.
Of the seven sons, it is Everard, Lord Fast, who intrigues Blythe the most. But their faith and their politics divide them. Everard is also grappling with his own problems—a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing their father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.
In this whirlwind of intrigue, ambitions, and shifting alliances, Blythe yearns for someone she can trust. But the same forces that draw her and Everard together also threaten to tear them apart.
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