Tuesday, March 27

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

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?

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit www.sirimitchell.com.

Siri Mitchell writes captivating novels about important and unfortunate times in history, and The Messenger is no exception. The research done for this particular novel was extremely thorough, and her depiction of the unfairness of the times was brutally honest.

Hannah's heart was torn. She had always believed that her Quaker faith was the perfect way of life. When she was confronted with the unfairness of men imprisoned simply because of their beliefs, she couldn't turn her back on them. The Quakers believed that they were not to choose sides or take up arms, and she found herself doing exactly the opposite.

I loved the character of Jeremiah, the local tavern owner. He had the biggest heart for those less fortunate, and he would stop at nothing to help anyone in need. In desperation to help the imprisoned men, he somehow convinced Hannah to help him out, even though it went against everything that she believe in.

Just picturing Hannah, the meek and quiet Quaker girl, becoming a spy is such an unusual and unexpected plot, that it had me intrigued from the beginning of this book. I couldn't quite figure out how this would work out, but the story is very believable, and filled with danger and uncertainty. An unlikely romance in this novel was the proverbial icing on the cake, and it was a delight from start to finish.

Disclosure: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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