Author, Historical Fiction, Review

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton q+a

I have eagerly devoured every delicious novel by Lori Benton and The King’s Mercy is her most extraordinary story yet! We have the added bonus of a few q&a’s and a giveaway!

about the author

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy nominee The Wood’s EdgeA Flight of Arrows; Many Sparrows; and The King’s Mercy.

Visit her website! You can also find Lori on facebook, twitter, instagram (her photography is breathtaking!), and in our author spotlight!



What do you enjoy about capturing early American history in your novels? Why did you decide to include Scottish characters in this particular story?

L: The forced exile and indenture of Scottish prisoners after the failed 1745 Jacobite Uprising lent itself to the needs of this story, but I’d include Scottish characters in all my stories if I could. I’m drawn to Scotland’s Highland and clan history, particularly during the 18th century decades of immigration across the Atlantic.

image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

The notion of migrating cultures fascinates me, particularly the push into what Europeans considered the Appalachian frontier, during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Of course, it wasn’t truly a frontier. There were Native Nations living there as they had done for centuries. It’s the collision of these cultures—as the result of trade, friendship, war, settlement, or evangelism—that intrigues me, and that I keep returning to with new stories to tell.

Clearly, from The King’s Mercy’s main setting, the mountain frontier wasn’t the only place this collision was happening. Particularly in the southern colonies (later states), it took place in countless homes, back yards, and fields where people of African and Native heritage were denied their freedom and forced to labor under harsh and unrelentingly deprivation for the betterment of a few. What inspires me are the accounts of men and women on either side of that cultural divide who had the compassion and conviction to see the “other” as a human being created in the image of God, deserving of dignity (or forgiveness) and the freedom any man or woman inherently craves—and the courage to do something about it, however small.

B: I’m in love with Scotland as well (especially since discovering my Scottish roots!) so count me in for Scots in every story! The cultures, the individuals, the settings… this book is everything I love about historical fiction and beautifully executed!

You explore the theme of man’s concept of freedom vs. freedom in Christ. What do you believe the difference is, and how does that inform the Christian faith?

L: I believe God has different priorities for us as we navigate the brief span of years we’re allotted on this earth, than we have for ourselves apart from Him. By and large, mankind is concerned with present comfort and happiness—and with justice, fairness, and equality here on earth. I think God takes the longer view; sometimes what will best shape us into the man or woman He means for us to be for all eternity, or help us to know Him in His fullness, requires learning to be content in circumstances the world sees as less than ideal. Perhaps that’s chronic illness or poverty, or being bound by obligation that cannot be ignored. Perhaps it’s a permanent situation, or one that will eventually change but must for a season be endured.

image by USA-Reiseblogger from Pixabay

Few of us these days are tested in ways as the characters in The King’s Mercy, but slavery still exists in various forms, some of them as horrific as what happened in our country’s past. While I would never diminish the tragedy of the brutality afflicted on our brothers and sisters, then and now across the globe, I do believe the mercy and love of Jesus Christ can reach a man or woman no matter where they are, with the strength and grace to sustain and set them free—in circumstance if possible, but certainly in the eternal realm of the spiritual. Most of us view the more horrific forms of slavery as those that happen in the physical realm, and they are grievous. They are also temporal. From an eternal perspective, a man or a woman continuing in slavery to sin—from which Christ has set us free by the bloody work of the cross—is the greater tragedy.

B: Amen!

As always, the cover is beautiful, but it was a long process to get it to where it is now. What was that like? Are there any initial cover ideas you can share with us?

L: I was looped into the cover process late with this book. The first cover comps I saw were very close to the finished cover. I’ve since seen several other early ideas, some of which depicted different aspects of the plantation setting. One had a blacksmith (Alex MacKinnon’s indentured trade) featured. Since I write plenty of male-centric elements in my books, I like to see the male characters on my covers if possible, but felt the choice of Joanna on the cover made for a stronger composition given the choices I was presented, and everyone at WaterBrook apparently agreed.

B: I would put your covers on my walls if I could!


about the book

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy—exile to the Colony of North Carolina—he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves—and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey.

A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees.

Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal.

But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.

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my thoughts

The King’s Mercy is masterfully vivid with emotionally intimate depth and solid spiritual strength. Lori Benton’s skillful storytelling is captivating and illuminating as the age-old conflict of light and darkness unfolds page by page.

I love Alex, let’s just be honest and lead with that. An accent or beard alone is enough to make me all swoony but Alex has both and so much more. He is a warrior yet vulnerable, independent yet indentured, and a fierce force of brute strength and tender devotion. Alex’s story requires a grand scale, a wide spectrum of emotion, and deserves to be savored.

Joanna is compassionate and dedicated to those in her care. I admire her industrious nature and tender heart. Joanna’s bravery in daring to challenge the status quo inspires me to examine my own life and seek God’s will anew. Her story illustrates the power of one person’s willingness to stand firm in faith and conviction.

This story is loaded with characters worth examining as a myriad of diverse cultures and beliefs converge. I highly recommend The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton and strongly urge fans of historical fiction to pick it up without delay!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.


also available

  The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton Many Sparrows by Lori Benton Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton



Thanks to the generosity of the publisher, one fortunate Faithfully Bookish reader friend will win a print copy of The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton.

US only | ends 6/20 | giveaway policy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are some of your favorite cultures (or heritages) to read about, reader friends?
Be sure to add The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton to your tbr!

40 thoughts on “The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton q+a”

  1. Hi Beth,
    Nice to run across another devoted fan of Lori’s! I just love her books. Everyone of them holds a special place in my bookshelf. Until The King’s Mercy, not one of them had come close to taking my number one favorite spot from Burning Sky. However, this book is getting there. By the time I listen to the audio, it may be sharing the favorite spot equally. Truly excellent read!

    Mary Koester


      1. I always feel guilty when asked that question! The truth is my favorite is the one I just finished writing, whichever that happens to be.


  2. I never miss a Lori Benton story! Each holds a special place on my keeper shelf and just looking at them on my self brings back fond memories of the time I enjoyed within the pages! This story was especially fun for me as I had family that settled in/near Wilmington, NC and many relatives still live there! It helped to make the names filling in my family tree take on a more dimensional aspect. While this story isn’t there’s, it could have been a neighbor!


    1. That’s awesome to know! I do love hearing from readers familiar with the settings of my books, especially when they feel I’ve captured the essence of the place. Thank you!


  3. I’ve read all of Lori Benton’s books…and they are all keepers. I can’t wait to read this one.


  4. I don’t seek out any particular culture to read about though many books I read have an European setting. I’ve read Lori Benton’s other books so now when I hear she has a new book coming out, I just put it on my “must read” list without even having to read the blurb to find out what it is about. I just know it will be good. Thanks for this giveaway for The King’s Mercy.


  5. I love to read most anything historical but I love to read about the Old West and the Indian Cultures and the different tribes. My Mom’s brother married a full blooded Indian even tho she was half Blackfoot and half Cherokee. So that happened when I was to young to remember but all my life I have been interested in the Natives because we were amazed by her.


  6. I always enjoy historical fiction and appreciate learning more about the countries that were the origins of many early settlers to the US, as my family came primarily in the 1600’s and 1700’s.


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