Back of the book:
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.
About the author:
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.
Her tenth novel, The Messenger follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010), and A Heart Most Worthy (Mar 2011)
In the acknowledgments at the back of the book Siri says she refers to the book as her “Quaker book,” but her husband insisted on calling it her “spy book”. The information on the Quakers is interesting, but the spy aspect is intriguing. Whether you look at it as a book about Quakers or a book about spies you are going to enjoy the story.
I would have to add that it is about so much more than just being a spy or a Quaker. It is also a story about being a sister that is deeply devoted to her twin brother. That devotion goes so far that she is forced to confront why she believes and acts the way she does.
The Revolutionary War era doesn’t seem to be very en vogue right now. In fact the thought of a novel set in this time period kind of leaves me flat. The difference is that this particular book has the name Siri Mitchell on the cover. As with all of Siri’s books you will come away from this story examining yourself and your beliefs.
This book will go on my pile for possible future book club reads. The book includes wonderful background information on the era and the Quakers. (In fact I think you should flip to the back and read it before you read the story.) It also includes great discussion questions. I can’t wait to share this with all my bookie friends!
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