Character Spotlight: Lori Benton’s Anna & Two Hawks with a giveaway

The Wood's Edge
Meet an orphan and a twin in

Lori Benton’s

historical romance

The Wood’s Edge

Waterbrook Multnomah


The Story

At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both-Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

Anna Catherine Doyle

Brief physical description

Anna Catherine Doyle is tall and slender, with green-brown woodland eyes and waist-length, dark blond hair that is rather absurdly thick.

Helena McKelvie


Model Helena McKelvie

See more on Lori’s The Wood’s Edge Pinterest board

Strengths and weaknesses

Anna is open and embracing, steadfast and devoted to those she loves. She wants to please those she looks up to, like Lydia (her mentor) and her papa, Reginald Aubrey. Even when faced with hurt or indifference she seeks to be a peace-maker. She’s loyal to a fault; sometimes her loyalties conflict and make it difficult for her to come to needful decisions. She’s been known to keep a secret or two, especially concerning Two Hawks.

Quirk (if any)

Anna has a propensity for losing her caps—or simply neglecting to wear them (highly improper!). As a child she managed to collect twigs and leaves in her hair to the point it would “make a rolling filly proud.”

Your inspiration for the character

Anna grew organically, as my characters usually do. She enters the story as an orphaned infant rescued in the midst of a massacre, but I knew she would grow up to be a bridge between two brothers, two families, two cultures, two very different worlds. So as she grew my intent was for her to be open-minded and accepting of the new and different. Thankfully she cooperated.


Two Hawks

Brief physical description


Two Hawks is one of the twins in the story. His mother is white. His father is Oneida. He has long black hair and dark brown eyes. He grows to manhood among his Oneida people and has been a hunter since he was young. He’s tall and lean and graceful. He’s skilful with a bow.


The model on the cover, world champion stand-up paddle surfer Fernando Stalla

Strengths and weaknesses

Two Hawks is something of an old soul. From childhood he shows sensitivity to others that goes deeper than his years. Yet as a young man he struggles with bitterness and a lack of forgiveness. With those he’s most closely linked to he is calm, kind, strong, and focused, but can be stubborn in his course when he believes he’s right, which sometimes causes him conflict with his father.

Quirk (if any)

He tends to turn a question back on the questioner, as Anna quickly discovers.

Your inspiration for the character

Two Hawks was an interesting character to watch take shape, along with his twin, William. I was curious to discover how two brothers born together but raised apart would be alike and how they would be different (aside from their outward appearance). Unlike his twin, Two Hawks knows of his brother’s existence from his earliest memories and this informs his growth as a person, and how he views the world and himself. He senses the lack of his twin and his curiosity about William grows to be intense, causing much inner struggle as well as outward conflict with other characters.

Background to the story 

In writing my previous published novels, Burning Sky and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, I recognized my passion for telling stories about people caught in a middle ground—between cultures, identities, social classes, world views, etc. So I was looking for a historical situation through which to weave another story of this kind. I began thinking about the back story I hinted at in Burning Sky—the political conflict on the New York frontier during the Revolutionary War that divided not only colonists but also the Iroquois Confederacy. I was profoundly touched by my research into the Oneida Nation during the time period of the 1760-70s. In the pages of one book in particular, Forgotten Allies by Joseph Glatthaar and James Kirby Martin, I read example after example of Oneida men and women who contributed, at great sacrifice personally, to the American cause during the Revolutionary War. And I discovered that so many of this nation at this time were our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Around that time I read an article about twins born to a multiracial couple where one twin was dark-skinned, the other fair. That snagged my attention. I began asking myself the “what if” questions that authors do. What if a set of twins like these was born in the 18th century? What if one of them was raised never knowing he had a different heritage than his skin proclaimed? What if I set this against that Revolutionary War backdrop and put one twin on one side of the conflict (pro-American), among the Oneidas, one on the other (pro-British), among the white population of New York?

That’s how The Wood’s Edge was born.

Thanks Lori.

Relz Reviewz Extras
Interview with Lori
Review of Burning Sky
Character spotlight on Willa, Neil, & Joseph
Visit Lori’s website
Buy from Amazon: The Wood’s Edge or Koorong

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47 Responses to Character Spotlight: Lori Benton’s Anna & Two Hawks with a giveaway

  1. I finished reading The Wood’s Edge about a week ago. It was AMAZING! Definitely a five star read. The storyline was engaging from page one to very end. I can’t wait for book two in the series to come out!!

  2. I love Fiddler on the Roof. Every time I watch it I’m challenged myself by my faith and to build a relationhsip with Christ rather than a religion based on only tradition.

  3. I can’t think of an answer to the question, but I really liked Burning Sky! Looking forward to reading The Woods Edge.

  4. I don’t know if North & South from the BBC qualifies as a clash of cultures or not, but it is one of my favorite movies depicting the differences in a society. I haven’t yet read any of Lori’s books but this one sounds like I would enjoy it. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

  5. The character spotlights are so might fun! I liked learning about how Lori developed her twins on opposite sides of the conflict. Looking forward to reading this tale!

  6. I loved Lori’s book The pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and I would love to win The Wood;s Edge.

  7. I can’t think of any other than Pride and Prejudice. I have greatly enjoyed all of Lori’s books, looking forward to reading The Wood’s Edge

  8. My favourite ‘clash of cultures’ film would undoubtedly be The Intouchables – it’s a French film about an aristocratic quadriplegic and the man he hired to be his caretaker and nurse – a ex-gangster, small time criminal from the other side of Paris. It’s funny, touching and inspirational – plus it is based on a true story!

  9. Sharon Bowling

    Just started reading Woods Edge and boy is it exciting right from the start! It’s difficult to put the book down, I can say that much.

  10. I agree with another commenter here, either “North and South” or “Fiddler on the Roof” for clash of the cultures film. They depict the differences so clearly! I enjoyed the characters you picked for both Anna & Two Hawks, I can picture both of these in the book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “The Wood’s Edge”!

    • Trixi, it’s usually difficult to find actors or models who look like my characters. It’s always more of a ‘type’ than anything. These two come very close.

  11. The only one whose name comes right to mind is The Outsider by Pennelope Williamson.
    I look forward to reading both Burning Skye and The Wood’s Edge both sound really good.

  12. One of my favorite “clash of cultures” books is For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. The culture clash is between a Jew and a Nazi. This is such a fabulous book.
    The Wood’s Edge sounds very intriguing; thanks for the chance to win the book.

  13. I love hearing more about the characters’ development Obviously, Lori lives with them!
    Thanks, Rel, for this fascinating post.

  14. NOW I see the question. :-) I love Les Miserables–some class clash there. I was also stunned by the movie JOE, released in 1970. Joe is a “typical” working class guy whose hates hippies, and befriends a man whose daughter is one. Ugly, hard to watch, but definitely eye-opening about 2 very different world views.

  15. Lientjie Human

    I enjoyed the movie Last of the Mohicans. Thanks for the giveaway can’t wait too read The Woods Edge.

  16. Terrill Rosado

    The summer before I entered 8th grade, I watched the mini-series “Roots” and “Roots – the Next Generation” for 1 hour every afternoon until it was completed. What I experienced with that series, I have not experienced since. For someone my age (at the time,) it was life-changing.

  17. I love clash-of-cultures stories – nothing interests me more than culture, hence my degree in cross-cultural studies. Hubby even gave me The Last Samurai for mother’s day once. 😉 I really enjoyed The Hundred Foot Journey but I think my favorite clash-of-cultures story is the 2007 independent film Arranged about the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as teachers at a public school in Brooklyn.

  18. I think I would agree that For Such a Time is a good clash of the cultures, as well as some of the others that have been mentioned in the comments. The Wood’s Edge looks like a great read and here’s hoping to be a winner! Thank you for sharing.

  19. The Woods Edge is on my list of books to read this summer. I am new to you, but I like what I read in reviews. Thanks for the contest.

  20. This book looks amazing! As far as a favorite story about a ‘clash of cultures’, I can’t think of one specific book or movie that would answer that question. I have always loved reading about the time period of the Civil War, but I couldn’t choose just one that was my favorite!

  21. I am looking forward to this as it is in my tbr pile.

  22. “clash of cultures” books is For Such a Time by Kate Breslin, enjoyed reading this story. your book sounds so interesting. Is this type of book so much harder to write? I think I would have to read it slowly and delve into it. would not be a quick read for me.

  23. North and South or Fidler on the Roof!

  24. This looks great! Even after reading a bunch of different historical fiction novels, I love seeing more settings and plots that are still unique and eye-catching. And hmmm…clash of cultures…this book makes me think of Courting Morrow Little, which had a frontierman’s daughter {I think that’s what she was!} and an Indian chief’s son as the main characters, and I loved that book! And does Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series count? It’s time travel from modern day into Medieval Italy, so to me that would seem like a clash of cultures, even if only a small pool of characters knew the extent of it!

  25. I have yet to read any of your books but based off of many comments and reviews I’ve read I CAN’T WAIT to start :)

  26. I loved Laura Frantz’ Courting Morrow Little…so I have a feeling I’d love this one!! :)

  27. My pick is Dancing with Wolves. It was Indian and white cultures. Thanks for the giveaway. Hoping to win. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  28. I have too many to list!! Jane Austen does an amazing job depicting different societies. So does Lori Benton! I didn’t know what hit me when I read Burning Sky!! I recommended it to friends as far as Canada:). Would love to win this.

  29. My favorite is The Colonel’s Lady. Even though the clash isn’t obvious, it’s there, and I just love that book!! Letters from the Enemy by Susan May Warren or Nightingale by SMW show great clashes and are excellent reads.

  30. I think one of my favorite clash of cultures stories is From Dust and Ashes by Tricia Goyer. The intersection of American soldiers, Austrian/German civilians, and liberated Jews makes for several clashes of cultures and it’s a wonderful story.

  31. Connie Saunders

    I admire all of the answers given so far and I am at a loss in adding a different title. My initial thought was Driving Miss Daisy, as we follow the love and friendship that develops between two people with totally different statuses.

  32. I loved Lisa T. Bergren’s River Series! Talk about a clash of cultures, that would be time travel. I am NOT a young adult, which is this series’ primary target audience, but I was captivated by these books.

  33. Oh my! I would love to read this book! Thanks for the opportunity to win it! I”m swooning over the hero’s picture up there. lol!

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