Friday, March 9, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Messenger
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.


Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith

...until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah's world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?

Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him--and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.

With skill and sensitivity, Mitchell tells a story of two unlikely heroes seeking God's voice, finding the courage to act, and discovering the powerful embrace of love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Messenger, go HERE.

My Thoughts:

Ah, I see. You are willing to risk something, but not everything.” (p. 46)

These words, spoken by Jeremiah Jones at the outset of the book, really prove prophetic in the life of Hannah Sunderland. When she learns her brother is in the British prison, and Jeremiah Jones can get the pass she needs to see her brother, a true tale of intrigue begins. Because Hannah is a Quaker, she is considered a “safe” person to use as a spy for the patriots. Her propensity to speak only the truth proves to be not only her greatest weakness, but her greatest teacher as well. She never imagined where her decisions would take her – emotionally, or physically!

Jeremiah Jones is also a study in contradictions. Wounded in an earlier military conflict, he has taken the role of tavern owner. Although his business has proven quite profitable, he is determined to prove to himself, if to no one else, that he is capable of contributing significantly to the patriot’s cause despite his inability to carry a musket. Hannah proves to be a challenge he never expected to face, and her unwavering desire to speak only the truth causes him to rethink his own decisions and plans.

These two characters, and the relationship that grows between them, are a poignant reminder that we are all called to listen and obey God even when we don’t completely understand our circumstances. Faith is real, and God’s voice is real in our lives, and as Jeremiah stated on page 178, “You can’t base your faith on position. Sooner or later positions resolve themselves, and then what’s left?” What’s left, indeed?

You will have to read Siri Mitchell’s most excellent book, The Messenger, to find out! I highly encourage you to do so!! Soon!

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