Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Book Review: The Messenger

Hannah Sunderland is almost the last person anyone would suspect of being a spy . . . and that's what Jeremiah Jones is counting on. Hannah is a young Quaker woman living in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. As a Friend, she has no plans to take sides in a war that has little to do with her. But for the Sunderland family, as for so many others, the war invades their home anyway. When British officers take over their house, and Hannah's twin brother Robert is imprisoned, Hannah finds that the war, and her part in it, is no longer black and white.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Jones is trying to figure out how to pass messages from General Washington to prisoners in the Walnut Street Jail. A tavern owner with only one arm, Jeremiah has no love for the British, in spite of the fact that they contribute greatly to his livelihood. When he sees Hannah almost daily standing outside the jail, hoping for word of her brother, he realizes she may be just the person he needs to help him. But will Hannah be willing to go against the decrees of her faith in order to help her brother and her fellow countrymen?

The Messenger was the first book I have ever read by Siri Mitchell, and I found it to be a fascinating and well-written story. I honestly wasn't sure if I would enjoy a book about a Quaker woman, or if I would get bogged down by all the "thees" and "thous." I'm happy to say that the Quaker speech didn't bother me at all, and the book flowed smoothly in spite of it. The chapters alternated between Hannah's point of view and Jeremiah's, which was a little confusing at first, but I soon got used to it and enjoyed this format.

The Messenger seemed to be extremely well-researched, and I found myself immersed in the story. I loved how the relationship between the two main characters developed, and I loved being able to get "inside" their minds and understand their personal struggles and feelings. Even though Hannah and Jeremiah were fictitious, I felt as if they were real people. I especially liked the way the book ended, although I would have enjoyed an epilogue.

This book gave me a better understanding of both the Quakers and a small piece of the Revolutionary War. It's probably the best book I've read that is set during that time period (not that I've read many!). Anyway, I really enjoyed The Messenger, and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Many thanks to Bethany House for providing a free review copy in exchange for my honest review!

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