By Lori Benton
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?
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Many Sparrows is an outstanding work of fiction, and that one adjective says it all. This epic story is steeped in history, but in an oh-so-interesting way. It engaged so many emotions – from heartbreak and anger, to admiration and rejoicing. I have long bemoaned the fact that Christian fiction doesn’t have enough quality literature set during America’s early years, my favorite era to read about. Well, Lori Benton now ranks right up there with Laura Frantz and J. M. Hochsteter in my opinion.
If I have ever been guilty of romanticizing this era, Many Sparrows certainly made me think twice. These thoughts from Clare’s Uncle Alphus shine light on the times … A person could vanish on the Virginia frontier without much fuss and bother. A hunter gone out for meat meets instead with mortal mishap crossing a river—or a bear—leaving his bones to bleach lonely on a mountainside. A child playing in the dirt of a cabin yard is snatched by tawny hands and carried off to grow up Seneca or Shawnee. A man pulls up stakes, carts his family over the next blue ridge westward, never to be seen again.
Clare and Jeremiah are strong, memorable characters, with Jeremiah going on my list of favorite leading men. Clare is strong and tender-hearted at the same time, as I imagine many women of that era would have been, but what I loved most was her protectiveness of her children. Jeremiah is a self-sacrificing, caring, and loyal man of faith – but a man who’s not sure which culture he truly belongs in. The chemistry and bond between these two makes for pure reading pleasure.
The spiritual theme of Many Sparrows is so very relevant, for courage and sheer determination in light of unimaginable hardship and heartbreak are timeless, as is a reluctance to wait on God’s timing when things are beyond our control. I love how the title is reflective of the comforting passage from Matthew 10:29-31, and I also can’t help but think of one of my favorite hymns, His Eye Is on the Sparrow …
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
For His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me
I loved everything about this story, never wanted to put it down, and the characters are still in my heart.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.
When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of "Burning Sky," recipient of three Christy Awards, "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn," Christy-nominee "The Wood's Edge," and "A Flight of Arrows."
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