Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell, c2012

“When once estrangement has arisen between those who truly love each other, everything seems to widen the breach.”
--Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1837–1915), British writer. Run to Earth, ch. 8.
In Siri Mitchell's novel, The Messenger, Hannah Sunderland and her twin brother are separated by the turmoil of the Revolutionary War. A Quaker family is surrounded by the consequences of war. As their family is distanced from each other, decisions of the heart expand to call to each other.

Have you ever considered the time period we were born in?

It is 1778 and Philadelphia is under the British Occupation. The Sunderland family home is seized as winter quarters for troops. Circumstances demand that they leave their home and stay with relatives who have chosen to join society and its ways.

A time to be born, a time to die.

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

The Bible
To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
The Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1–8.

Colonist Jeremiah Jones was injured in the French and Indian War, the beginning of open hostilities between the colonies and Great Britain. In exchange, he is now wining and dining the British. His establishment is fitly renamed the King's Arms, with the British here to enforce the king's law. This avails him to recoup their monies, replenishing what has been lost to him. He is the perfect support for the war effort with helpful information to General Washington, being within earshot of General Howe's men. To help with matters, a former enemy befriends him.

  ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility.
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage.
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect:
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height.”
--William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British poet. King Henry V (III, i).
 ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Enter Hannah. How far would you involve yourself in exchange for seeing your captive brother who had joined forces to right a wrong? What would your decision be? Hannah feels the plight of her brother, Robert, and against all odds, plots a way to be able to get within the jail to see him. She must sneak away from her family and the soldiers.
p 103 The Keeper of the Keys
I don't know who the prisoners are, miss. I just keep the keys to the place. Robert Sunderland, you say?

What does it do to our souls when we are in turmoil? I loved this observation:
p 178
You have to come to faith on your own. Otherwise it's just words and rules.
 ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I especially liked all the history I learned reading this novel. Extensive! As historical fiction is my very favorite, I appreciate the research the author did to place the characters within events/happenings.
Siri Mitchell, author of ten published books

This is the second novel I have read of Siri Mitchell's.The first was A Heart Most Worthy, which I enjoyed and reviewed in April, 2011.

I would like to thank Bethany House for this copy of Siri Mitchell's novel, The Messenger, in exchange for my review in my own words.

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