Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: The Messenger

About the Book:
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?

My Review:
When I ordered this book, I was under the impression that it would be an intriguing historical fiction novel, chock-full of danger and suspense. Unfortunately, the standards I had set were just a bit too high and the story fell flat for me.

Try as I might, I could not get completely interested in this book. For the sake of my love for histoical fiction stories, I tried to follow along with the plot but the outdated language completely threw me off. The constant use of thy and thee was annoying. It was like watching a scratched DVD, pausing ever so often to re-read the sentence for clarification. The author's choice of words was a major drawback for me, but I did enjoy the other bits of colonial language, etiquette, and location. It is clear that the author did her research.

I thought that the two main characters were unique as were their social and religious positions. Hannah is passionate and stubborn, which makes her realistic and relatable. I enjoyed reading of how she slowly began to make choices that were aligned with what is right and siding with justice, aside from her Quaker upbringing. Jeremiah Jones is a rough-around-the-corners character but his interaction with Hannah begins to soften his attitude... and his heart. The two characters clash at first and don’t have many similar beliefs but as the story develops they strengthen each other, and learn to trust each other with their very lives. Somewhat besides the point: the romance between Jeremiah and Hannah reminds me of how things unfold for Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale in North and South, especially with the fact that Hannah said that she despised and loathed him, and then she was thinking about how she always felt so safe with him.

The majority of the plot was interesting. Hannah's daring ways, her revolutionary of a brother and Jeremiah's interaction with the revolutionary movement kept me happy enough to actually finish the book.

Siri Mitchell does present the reader with a unique glimpse into the lives of individuals during Revolutionary War times, the struggles of the colonials, and slavery as it existed then. Overall, I thought that The Messenger was a good book, not great, but good and if you'd like to read it, Amazon has it for a great price ($6.00)

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