Mar 14, 2012

Book Review: The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

Excerpt: "And how was I to discover it? Did thee want me to ask?"

"No. Yes." Blast it! There was a prison break being planned that the prisoners knew nothing about. And the whole of it depended upon them digging a tunnel. I closed my eyes against a worsening ache in my head. "Fine. Fine." Everything was fine. "You'll just have to wait a week until--"

"A week! But Robert is ill. I have to visit again tomorrow."

"No one has visited that jail since November. How is it going to look if you suddenly begin visiting every day? And what would your parents say?"

"Do thee know what it's like in there?"

I could guess. "Next Saturday. That's when you should return."

"That's a whole--"

"Seven days. Yes. I know. You'll go on Saturday, you'll find out which room Sgt. Addison is in, and you'll contrive to deliver the message."

"Or...?" The word rang with challenge.

"Or you might as well buy your brother a coffin. Unless he's in on the escape, chances are he won't come out of that jail alive." The Messenger, pg 109.

Back Cover: 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: The Messenger was not what I expected. Set during the Revolutionary war, the tale is one of two very different people joined together under unusual circumstances to work as spies in the British occupied city of Philadelphia. Hannah is a Quaker who is supposed to have nothing to do with the political upheaval. Jeremiah is a tavern owner who makes his living off of the British soldiers. The two form a highly unlikely friendship. This book is written completely in the first person, and from both Jeremiah and Hannah's point of view. The story is full of danger and intrigue (as you would expect from a spy novel), however, I did find it a little hard to believe that the characters got away with spying at all, especially when they were frequently declaring that they were spies, even in a crowd.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to readers of Siri Mitchell and lovers of historical fiction set in the period of the Revolution.

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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