Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell - a book review

I haven't read many books set in the time of our Revolutionary War, so when this book came up for review, I was really looking forward to reading it.  I've heard alot about how prisoners were treated in the war prisons during the Civil War but  I never heard much about those in the Revolutionary War.  This book is a real eye opener!  It highlights a group of people know as The Friends or Quakers, and how they tried to remain passive, at all costs. Many were arrested beccause they would not pledge allegiance to a certain side. However, there were a few who decided to support the cause of freedom and suffered greatly for it.  I also had never really considered how the spy network worked in those times.  This book provides some insight into that.

The book is written from two points of views, Hannah, the young Quaker, and Jeremiah, a Colonial spy.  The chapters alternate between the two characters and it took me a little while to get into the rythym of that.

From the publisher's website:
Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith... until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?

But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah... for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.

In a time of war, can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?

Hannah struggles with being torn between her faith, love of her brother and her growing attraction to Jeremiah.  She tried very hard to do what she feels she has to do while still obeying her faith's teachings.  Jeremiah, on the other hand has no such scruples.  He does what needs to be done without much concern for anyone else, until he meets Hannah.  Jeremiah has emotional hindrances and a physical handicap that has prevented him from forming attachments to anyone, until Hannah.  There are several other characters and circumstances that the author delves into. The practice of slavery is one of them.  The Quakers were anti-slavery, but in the aftermath of losing their home, Hannah and her family must stay with other family members who own slaves.  This doesn't sit well with Hannah's father and his protestations cause more difficulties for the 'enslaved ones', rather than help their cause.

I found myself not wanting to put this book down.  However, when the end finally came, I was disappointed.  It seem abrupt and a big let down. 

Read an expert HERE.

There ia a very interesting note from the author regarding the history of the Revolutionary War and another one on the Quakers. The author also includes some discussion questions for reading groups.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed my book! Thanks for taking the time to write and post a review.

    Happy reading!



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