Saturday, September 23, 2017

"Many Sparrows" by Lori Benton

Revolutionary War-era historical fiction isn't usually what I'd choose (I tend to stay firmly in contemporary land with occasional forays into the World War II era), but I'd heard so many wonderful things about Lori Benton's writing from bloggers and authors I respect that I decided to try out Many Sparrows.

I wasn't disappointed.

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?

As I sit here trying to compose my thoughts about Many Sparrows into a cohesive review, I'm having trouble. Many Sparrows is beautiful, long (nearly 400 pages), compelling, and thought-provoking. For me, it was a slow read, but it was also very engaging. It contains far less romance than I'd expected (especially with Jeremiah and Clare pretending to be married while living among the Shawnee), but I realized that didn't matter. In fact, far more interesting to me were the relationships Clare formed with different Indians as she lived among them. (Two of those Indians, Wolf-Alone and Wildcat, were probably my favorite characters in the novel. I was dying to learn more about them! Then I learned they were featured in Benton's The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. Now I'm itching to get my hands on that novel!)

Clare is with the Indians because her son Jacob was taken from her, and Jeremiah agrees to help her find him. Once they learn that Jacob has been given to Jeremiah's adopted Shawnee sister, things become very complicated. I found the family dynamic here to be incredibly interesting, especially coupled with the fact that several of the Indians were believers.

The whole story is full of messages about trusting God, showing grace, and offering forgiveness. Yet this never feels heavy handed; these lessons flow naturally out of the story through compelling and heartrending circumstances.

The story is told mainly from Clare's and Jeremiah's perspectives, but about halfway through the novel, we start hearing from Clare's Uncle Alphus. For me, these sections—mainly set in a military camp and during fights with the Indians—were far less interesting than the story unfolding with Clare and Jeremiah. Near the end, when the characters' stories finally intersect, I understood the importance of those earlier Alphus sections. But I still didn't love them.

Now that I've read Many Sparrows, I understand what all the fuss over Lori Benton's writing is about. This book is simply beautiful, and I'm eager to read more of Benton's novels. 4-1/2 stars.

Follow the blog tour.
Learn more & buy the book.

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."
Find out more about Lori at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...