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Lori Benton’s Many Sparrows

Many Sparrows: A Novel by [Benton, Lori]

Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would…

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.
When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son…especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

Review

Lori Benton is an author who I always read. I don’t always like the direction she takes her stories in, but there is no doubt she is phenomenal writer and worth reading. Because I was not in love with her last book I kind of put this one off. But I’ve read it now and I’m glad I did. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The plot. This book was intense and very stressful…especially in the beginning. I realize that might be a turn-off to some people, but for me I was hooked immediately. I was completely drawn in and found myself so concerned about all of the characters involved.

Jeremiah Ring. Man I love a good hero and Jeremiah was an excellent one. He’s lived amongst the Shawnee and the Virginians. He’s got a past. He’s a man of faith. He’s a man of his word. He’s got honor and he’s kind. When he makes mistakes, he owns them. He was a character I could trust.

Secondary characters. There are two characters in this book that come out of The Pursuit of Tamsen LittleJohn. I loved how they connected to this story and even how the author quietly placed them into the story. It made me want to go back and read the other book. Aside from these characters, the author was very successful in helping me see things from two points of view and to really like all the characters she introduced.

Diversity. Always a plus.

History. There is no doubt that Benton did her research and she wielded it well. There were times when she had to summarize situations for the reader, but it all worked for the benefit of the story told.

Spiritually, characters pray and seek God. I would say the theme is knowing that God is God and He is good and sovereign even in the tough times.

What I didn’t like

Clare. So, here is where things get tricky. Initially, I was completely in Clare’s camp. She is strong and she is purposeful and she lets nothing deter her. I love me a strong heroine. The author managed to beautifully write a heroine who was strong without having her step out of her timeline. But then she started doing things that made her flirt with the TSTL line (Too Stupid to Live). I get that it was to show that her faith in God was weak and that she needed to learn to put her trust in him, but it also made her a character I couldn’t trust. And let me clarify…it wasn’t her mistakes that bothered me, it was how she acted after she made those mistakes that made me look at Clare askance. Why can’t heroines be both strong and wise?

Romance. I have no doubts Jeremiah Ring loved Clare. I have great doubts that Clare loved Jeremiah Ring. A good romance, in my opinion, is a giving and taking relationship. Both the hero and heroine should give and take from the other. In this book, Jeremiah was the only one doing the giving while Clare took, took, and took some more. He did so much for her and she acted as though it were her due. It made for a lopsided romance and one that made me doubt the sincerity of Clare’s affections for Jeremiah. I think she cared for him, I also think she would have cared for any man who was willing to do all she wanted. Jeremiah didn’t come across as special to her.

Romance scale: 8

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t want to put it down. Although I had some problems with this novel, it was so good that I still recommend you read it anyway!

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