Book Review: The Messenger by Siri Mitchell
Generally when I read a book, I stay pretty aware of my surroundings. Having three children and a baby in the house will do that. However, I came as near to losing myself as I think I will until Karl and I are empty nesters when reading The Messengerby Siri Mitchell. I received the book from Bethany House Publishers as part of their blogger-review program. (If you are a blogger and would like to join the program, learn more here.)
Hannah Sunderland is a young Quaker woman still under her parent’s protection during the American Revolution. Her twin brother, with whom she had always been close, turned from the family faith and their pacifist views to join the colonial army in fighting the British. When he is captured and placed in the jail, Hannah is forbidden from visiting him, though her heart aches to do so.
Jeremiah Jones, who owns a tavern frequented by the occupying British soldiers, uses his friendship with one of the officers to find secrets and collect messages for Washington’s army. However, when he needs to get a message inside the jail, he runs into a brick wall as unbreakable as the walls of the jail itself. When he happens to learn that Miss Sunderland wishes to visit her brother, though, he believes that he has found an answer to his dilemma. A young Quaker maiden visiting her brother is the last person anyone would suspect of espionage.
In an excellently woven tapestry of suspense and uncertainty, Siri Mitchell creates an atmosphere of unease and danger as the backdrop to Hannah’s discoveries about her self, her faith, and her God. I especially appreciate the way that she is able to keep historicity, plot, and faith well-balanced in her writing. The Messenger is not a history book made more interesting by a plot, nor is it a faith-lesson with some history and a plot to make it more tangible. Rather, all three elements flow seamlessly together, creating a real and vibrant novel that completely pulls the reader into Hannah’s world, her mind, her heart.