Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #2

If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!
• The hunt BEGINS on 10/15 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com
• Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
• There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 10/18 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books and learn new things about them.
• Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the CLUE on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at the final stop, back on Lisa’s site. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!

Welcome to Stop #2 in the Scavenger Hunt! I’m Lori Benton and I write historical fiction set in the 18th century. I’m also into landscape photography. You can learn more about me and my books (and photography) here on my website and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. My newest release, Mountain Laurel, is set in North Carolina in the 1790s. Here’s what it’s about:


Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again—into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona—beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.


And speaking of setting courses…

1793: A Most Eventful Year

When I chose 1793 for Mountain Laurel’s setting I knew very little about the 18th century. Although Mountain Laurel is my seventh 18th century historical novel to see its way into print, it’s actually the first I wrote. So why 1793?

  1. I wanted to write a story set when men wore knee breeches (they went out of fashion after 1800).
  2. I didn’t want to write about war (I chose a year when the dust of revolution had settled and another war was years away).
  3. I have synesthesia; I see numbers in color. I liked 1793’s (black, blue, brown, and orange).

That choice of dates proved less whimsical and more providential than I could have known, because three things occurred in 1793 that would have bearing on the story I would craft.

The Yellow Fever Epidemic. An outbreak of this disease swept Philadelphia in summer of 1793. Physicians like Dr. Benjamin Rush tried many treatments, but it wasn’t until autumn frosts killed off the mosquitoes (the culprits) that the epidemic ended. Tensions arise in Mountain Laurel when Ian Cameron’s aunt learns he might have been exposed to the dreaded disease. Alarm–and a swooning spell–wasn’t the note Ian meant to strike at his first meeting with his uncle’s family.


The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. Approved by Congress on February 12, 1793, this law guaranteed slaveholders the right to recover an escaped slave, putting fugitive slaves at risk for recapture for the rest of their lives. Slavery, freedom, and the different paths from the former to the latter are explored in Mountain Laurel. For characters who choose the risks of a fugitive, 1793 piled on the peril.


Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin. A cotton gin separates cotton fibers from their seeds far more quickly than by hand. Eli Whitney created the first modern cotton gin in 1793. As characters in Mountain Laurel predict, Whitney’s invention revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States, but even as rumors of its existence are excitedly discussed, Ian Cameron senses its ominous repercussion: the need for more slaves to work the cotton fields.

Those are just three examples of research that shaped Mountain Laurel‘s 18th century story-world. I unearthed so many I decided to write another novel, Burning Sky (set in 1784). And a third, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn (1787). The Pathfinders duology (The Wood’s Edge and A Flight of Arrows) followed those but the intriguing historical tidbits kept coming. So I wrote Many Sparrows and The King’s Mercy too. At long last I’m at work on Mountain Laurel‘s sequel, Shiloh. I look forward to sharing it with you in Fall of 2021!

Here’s the Stop #2 Basics:

If you’re interested, you can order Mountain Laurel on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD or at your local bookstore!

Clue to Write Down: time

Link to Stop #3, the Next Stop on the Loop: Carrie Turansky’s site!

But Wait! Before you go, here at Stop #2 I’m offering my own prizes for (USA) readers:

  1. A signed copy of Mountain Laurel (3 hardback copies available) plus a special Mountain Laurel notebook.
  2. A signed set of all seven of my published books (2 paperback sets available, pictured above)

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post with your name and an email address (masked is fine) where I can reach you if you are one of my winners. For an optional second entry, subscribe to my newsletter using the form below. You should receive a confirmation email.

Note: This special Stop #2 drawing is limited to readers with USA mailing addresses.


Enjoy the rest of the Hunt!

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