Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review of "The Messenger" by Siri Mitchell

Rating: 5 Stars
~  ~  ~

Summary from Bethany House: 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?

Review: Siri Mitchell delivers yet another beautifully written work of historical fiction in her newest release, The Messenger. This novel reminded me why Siri Mitchell is one of my favorite authors: it is rich in historical and authentic detail, the plot maintains a steady pace, and the main characters are equally developed into believable and three-dimensional individuals.  I was so engrossed in the plot by the last 100 pages of the novel that I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish the last page. It was simply too good and too suspenseful to put down. Until the last couple of pages, I could not determine how the novel would end - would it be tragic or promising?  I've learned from Mitchell's other historical fiction novels not the expect perfectly tied-up happily-ever-after endings, and The Messenger is no exception.  Her realism is both refreshing and thought-provoking. 

The Messenger is told from the first-person perspective of both main characters, Hannah and Jeremiah.  They are vastly different, but united in their desire to overcome the injustices that they witness in the British occupied city of Philadelphia. By presenting the story from two perspectives, Mitchell allows the reader to delve fully into the motivations and emotions of each character.  I felt equally connected to Jeremiah and Hannah by the end of the novel.  They were both frightened of the dangerous task set before them and doubtful of their ability to succeed, but they found the strength to fight for their beliefs. Jeremiah and Hannah grow personally, spiritually, and emotionally over the course of their experiences. As a result, the love that develops between them is on a deeper and more meaningful level than one often sees in novels. 

I loved the incorporation of the Quaker faith in Hannah's daily life.  After recently traveling to Philadelphia and hearing about past and present day characters, Mitchell's descriptions gave me a deeper insight into Quaker beliefs during the Revolution. Hannah's inner battle to reconcile Quaker teachings and her personal convictions added extra depth to the plot. The combination of Quakers, unlikely spies, and the British occupation of Philadelphia make the plot of The Messenger truly unique and suspenseful.  This book will remain on my shelf for many repeat readings!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House 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 such a thoughtful review.

    Many blessings,




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