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The Messenger (Against All Expectations Collection) [Kindle Edition]

Siri Mitchell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

A Riveting Tale of Faith and Romance by an Acclaimed Novelist

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.

From the 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?

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1444 KB
  • Print Length: 387 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0764207962
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (March 1 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006G2YPTS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #248,249 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Spy Novel April 13 2012
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.

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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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathes with intrigue - a great plot! March 24 2012
By christianfictionaddiction TOP 500 REVIEWER
The Messenger breathes with intrigue, fascinates with interesting historical details, and ultimately entertains while stirring your faith. Hannah and Jeremiah are characters who will long stay with me, as by the end of the novel they seemed like fast friends who I wished existed in real life. Hannah's dedication to honesty, despite her role as a spy, left me longing for people today to also be committed to such integrity. Jeremiah's sense of justice is likewise admirable, and I felt deeply his uncertainties due to having one arm and believing this made him less of a man. I greatly enjoyed watching their growth as characters, and found myself often pondering pearls of wisdom that are tucked in amidst the story, thoughts and comments on faith and life.

The aspect I most enjoyed were the times the characters wrestled with difficult questions. Hannah's involvement in the Quaker faith was completely absorbing, and the author's choice to pair this with Hannah's role as a spy was brilliant! Hannah had to make some incredibly difficult choices, between doing what she felt God would have her do, or doing what her fellow believers and her parents would have her do. Hannah and Jeremiah are, ultimately, obedient to such a calling to do what is right, what God desires, despite a tremendously high cost to making these choices. They are committed to treating others with dignity, regardless of their place in society, a sentiment that was not widely embraced in the historical setting of this novel. As such, their example is one worthy of emulation indeed.

I greatly enjoyed this novel from start to finish, from the wonderful characters to the intricate plot, to the way my faith was challenged. I highly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

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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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read!! March 29 2012
By Carla
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as it was set during the Colonial Wars, and I'm not much into war period books, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I learned quite a bit I didnt know from that time period and was quickly absorbed into Hannah's life as a spy trying to reach her brother & set him on the road to freedom. Her determination to help others no matter at what cost was very admirable and I found myself cheering her on and hoping that everything went her way. As in real life, things don't always go as planned and there were twists & turns in this book that kept me reading more. There was also mention of slavery in the book but from a different viewpoint... it made me pause to think if some slaves actually had felt the way the enslaved woman in this novel did. Anyways, it was a great book and I highly recommend it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  195 reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I gave Siri Mitchell another try March 6 2012
By Michele - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I will admit right up front that, having read three of her books, I had given up on Siri Mitchell. Of the three I read one was really good, one was mediocre and one I couldn't finish. Feeling that one out of three wasn't a very good track record, I concluded that Ms. Mitchell simply wasn't the author for me.

So what made me decide to give her newest, The Messenger, a try (and not just to try it but to actually purchase it)? Well, for one thing it is set during the Revolutionary War. That is an era that particularly interests me, and historical fiction (Christian or otherwise) set during the Revolutionary War is rarer than hens' teeth. Secondly, I knew from the promo blurbs that the book focused on a young Quaker woman. Since the one previous Siri Mitchell book I really enjoyed was about a young Puritan woman in 17th century Massachussetts, I thought perhaps there might be enough similarities that I would enjoy this newest one, as well. My hunch proved to be correct; I am glad I gave Siri Mitchell another chance because The Messenger is an excellently-written and thoroughly enjoyable tale, one of her best books to date.

The story focuses equally on two main characters: Hannah Sunderland, the aforementioned Quaker young woman, and Jeremiah Jones, an embittered former soldier-turned-barkeep. The story is set in Philadelphia during the winter and spring of 1778/1779 when the city is occupied by the British. It is typical of Siri Mitchell to use alternating narrators to tell her tales. In The Messenger she has perfected this device; narrator switches occur concurrently with chapter changes, with each POV (Jeremiah and Hannah) clearly identified so there are none of the confusing narrator switches of her earlier books.

In Hannah and Jeremiah Siri Mitchell has done an excellent job of creating main characters that every reader can identify with in some way or other. Their struggles are not superficial or shallow, but deep and elemental and will resonate with many. Hannah's pious Quaker upbringing has trained her to not only eschew politics and war and to shun all involvement in the conflict raging around her, but to always tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth at all times and in every situation. But love and loyalty to her twin brother leads her into forbidden territory, and she gradually becomes involved in a situation that will test her belief in everything she has been taught. Ultimately her love and loyalty to her faith and her family is on the line and she is forced to choose.

Jeremiah Jones was a young soldier with a promising military career ahead, when he was wounded in the French and Indian Wars. He fell victim to the Brits' snobbish attitude towards the colonials when he was passed over for medical treatment in favor of British-born soldiers; as a consequence, what was a serious but treatable arm wound resulted instead in an amputation. This plus his realization that even had he not been wounded he still would have been passed over for a promotion in favor of British-born soldiers, has caused bitterness to lodge in his heart to the point where he is filled with it. The only satisfaction he gets in his lonely life is to run a pub where he can take British gold in exchange for watching the soldiers drink themselves insensible. When he and Hannah become the most unlikely partners in a scheme to free colonial prisoners in a Philadelphia jail he finds himself attracted to her; but will he be able to break his heart free from its own prison of icy bitterness?

Of course, this story is a romance between Hannah and Jeremiah, but it is so convincingly done that it never overtakes the narrative but emerges naturally from it. In The Messenger (as in her earlier book Love's Pursuit) Siri Mitchell shows that when she sets out to tell a tale of a young woman, raised in a culture of strong faith, who faces a critical challenge to that faith, her family, and her society, she can do so with skill. (When she attempts to tell stories set in more "frivolous" times/places -- such as the court of Elizabethan England or the high society of Gilded Age New York -- she is far less successful. However, I don't want to spend time here critiquing her other works; if you're interested in my opinion of some of her other books check my reviews for "A Constant Heart" and "She Walks in Beauty.")

While The Messenger is possibly Siri Mitchell's longest book to date (although this is cleverly disguised by the use of very small font, no doubt to keep the book from being too thick and thus scaring off readers), it is a captivating and fast read. And while I preferred the more bittersweet ending of Love's Pursuit, still I found The Messenger to be a strong, finely-written story that I highly recommend.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story in interesting period. Feb. 24 2012
By Melissa D. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Messenger" is a historical novel set during the Revolutionary War. The premise involves a Quaker woman named Hannah and a wounded war veteran, Jeremiah. The two make an unlikely pair of spies during the war. Hannah stuggles between the demands of her religion & parents, and the desire to rescue her brother who is essentially dying in prison. Jeremiah is a disenchanted soldier for the loyalist army who has lost an arm and his respect for the loyalist cause.

The two undertake a spy mission to help the patriot prisoners of war escape their fate. It is dangerous and Jeremiah is constantly frustrated as Hannah refuses to betray her Faith and lie. Her refusal of course makes the mission more difficult and dangerous.

I loved this book and finished it in two days. The chapters alternate between the perspectives of Hannah and Jeremiah. I feel that this style allows a greater insight into the characters as the plot develops. The romance aspect of the novel is secondary to the main issues, but is still very satisfying. I highly reccommend this novel to everyone who likes this genre. In her authors notes, Ms. Mitchell mentioned that books set in this time period don't sell well. This surprises me because I found the period fascinating, and I'm sure you will too.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely and utterly captivating! March 6 2012
By Katie Garvin - Published on
I am rather new to Siri Mitchell's historicals, but after reading this new release I declare myself a very avid fan! The Messenger mixes the perfect blend of intrigue and history--complete with a lovely writing voice that brought the characters to life. I don't know what they is not to like in this book!

The complexity of the two main characters--Jeremiah and Hannah--amazed me. Mitchell did an outstanding job as I watched them grow, change, and struggle throughout the course of the novel. It didn't take long to like Hannah's straightforward speaking and cheer for Jeremiah as he strove to help the prisoners escape. What an unlikely--but suited--pair these two made!

The Messenger is told from both Jeremiah and Hannah's point-of-view, which isn't out of the ordinary...though them both being told in the first-person narrative is. I thought this might make it confusing, but Mitchell handled it extremely well, switching easily between the characters.

Fans of Mitchell are going to be delighted with The Messenger. I have no doubt that it will also earn this talented writer new fans, as well! Especially for those historical fiction readers who love anything set during the Revolutionary war. For me--who loves history as much as I love suspense!--I found The Messenger completely and utterly captivating and sure to please readers!

I reviewed this book for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Thanks to the publishers, Bethany House, for sending me my review copy. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raises Deep Issues of Faith March 5 2012
By Sheila Gregoire - Published on
I'm a fan of historical fiction, but often Christian romantic fiction leaves me empty. It just seems very contrived.

The Messenger wasn't like that at all--in fact, it raised several issues that you'll think about long after the book is done. When is it okay to lie? Is it ever okay to lie? And sometimes, is telling the truth the wrong thing to do? How do you wrestle this out as a believer?

And what do we do when there is injustice in our midst? Do we close our eyes to it, or do we do whatever we can?

I'd like to think I'd do something, and in this book we come face to face with a young Quaker woman who is forced to go against her family's beliefs to try to help her brother, who is held prisoner in a British jail during the American Revolution. Mitchell does an excellent job of portraying the horrible conditions in the jail, and makes you think again about what injustices we, here, are ignoring.

A very enjoyable book, and one that I would encourage others to read to get an interesting insight into a historical period that we think we know all about--but soon realize that we don't.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faith, Historicity, and Faith woven seamlessly May 15 2012
By Sarah - Published on
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 my husband and I are empty nesters when reading The Messenger by Siri Mitchell. I received the book from Bethany House Publishers as part of their blogger-review program.

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.

Happy reading!
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