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The Messenger (Against All Expectations)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,446 ratings  ·  166 reviews
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 b
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Bethany House
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In the back of this book, Ms. Mitchell writes a note of how grateful she was to her publishers for accepting a manuscript idea for a Revolutionary War novel. Apparently they're not all that popular. in the same vein, I too am grateful to Bethany House for taking a step of faith with this particular book. I tire of Victorian literature and Regency literature and everything in between. What interests me most at present is early American literature and Ms. Mitchell has written a winner.

I have no ex
With the city of Philadelphia under British occupation, Hannah Sunderland and her family, devout Quakers, struggle to survive in the midst of a conflict that has seen them disavowed and misused by both sides because of their pacifist beliefs. When a British officer commandeers the family home and news arrives that her twin brother, disowned by his Meeting and family for joining the Colonial army, has been imprisoned, Hannah finds the religious and familial dictates to stay uninvolved in the conf ...more
I read this book a while ago, but I wanted to review it. I was unsure about it when I went into it. I like historicals, but I am not a fan of romance. I don’t care for books that are basically romance novels in a historical setting. I had run into too many of them, so I was wary when I picked this one up.

I really needn’t have been. This book was great! Of course there was romance in it, but it was a side plot. And this couple had the ability not to think of each other every waking minute. They h
First posted on my blog, Legacy of a Writer.

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
Anne Osterlund
Hannah has no intention of joining sides in the revolutionary conflict tearing apart Philadelphia. She knows her Quaker beliefs are despised equally by both the American rebels, who have stolen her brother’s loyalty, and the British soldiers, who have invaded her home.

But when word comes that her brother has been imprisoned, Hannah goes to the jail. And finds him suffering inhumane conditions. Conditions no one else seems to hold any interest in. Not her parents. Or the participants in Meeting.
Holly Weiss

1778. Philadelphia is under British occupation.
A Quaker woman weeps for her brother suffering in a British jail.
A Colonial spy courts British officers in his tavern.

In The Messenger, a woman and a man from two walks of life team up to aid American military prisoners in a British jail.

Quaker, Hannah Sunderland, feels the numbing cold, hunger and filth her twin, Robert, suffers in the Walnut Street prison. Will Hannah go against the Quaker Meeting’s warning to have nothing to do with “this ungodl
Revolutionary War. Spies. Quakers. A rogue pub owner. And Siri Mitchell. Put those combinations together and you really can’t get much better than that.

One of the things I value in a novel by Siri Mitchell is her extreme attention to detail. Her novels are a wonder and treasure trove, not only of the history of the era, but how much it becomes an intricate player in the book. Twining through a novel filled with 18th century espionage, is a glimpse into a world too often darkened to today’s read
Amanda Casper
A spy novel! Yes!! Just what I needed in my life... haha. This book was great. I really loved learning more about the ins and outs of the Revolutionary War (at least when it came to spies). The main female character in this book is a Quaker which I found to be quit an interesting group of people. I just read "She Walks in Beauty" so I guess I expected something different. But a good kind of different. I definitely would not say this is a romance novel. I mean there are a few things here and the ...more
Regina Jennings
I loved this book. Siri's writing style is rich and her characters have depth. The conflict between Hannah and Jeremiah's beliefs wasn't easily sorted. Instead, the reader was allowed to wrestle with weighty questions concerning God's will, honoring parents, pacifism, and honesty.

Truly, I didn't know how this book would end, especially after reading Love's Pursuit - my favorite Siri Mitchell book. Okay, maybe I have two favorites now.

It was an all-night, but-totally-worth-it read for me.
I enjoy reading about the revolution time period and especially enjoyed this book since I had studied the Quaker religion for a history class. Hannah is interesting to follow as she discovers her own convictions and reconciles them with her chosen religion. Jeremiah is someone who wins you over as I am sure the author intended as he goes from a callous sort of man to a gentler one. Hannah brings out the good in him and he does the same for her. While I was surprised by what I felt was an abrupt ...more

The Messenger is the second book I have read from Siri Mitchell and I am now a certified fan! She is an eloquent writer and she has the gift to bring life to words.

This story is a heart felt story of faith, devotion, and love. Hannah is the daughter of a devote Quaker family. When her brother joins the patriot cause during the Revolutionary war, he is thrown in prison. Because of their beliefs, the family refuses to visit him. Hannah is disturbed by this, and tries to find a way to see him. Jere
Are you tired of the books that go like this?
Pretty and sweet girl meets handsome rough who is not at Christian. Guy gets sweet girl to realize her fanatical beliefs are silly. Girl still loves God, but tosses most of her beliefs. Handsome Rouge comes to Christ making everything okay.

Yup, I get tired of that story too. How come we swoon over it in the books and movies and then are horrified when our daughters, sisters, and friends do it. Well, this is a happy exception to the rule while still ke
Nancy Kimball
I can't believe that I would love a romance so much where the hero and heroine never kiss. It took a few chapters for me to adjust to alternating first person and the Quaker dialect of the heroine, but once I did, the story began unfolding. It does unfold slow, but thankfully I'd read another Siri Mitchell novel prior to this one so I knew this author was very good and there must be a reason for that.
I read a lot of historical fiction. The historical detail is heavy but not overpowering which is
Sheila Gregoire
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 c
Amber Stokes
Thought-provoking. Intriguing. Riveting. Siri Mitchell has done it again!

Mitchell does first-person POV brilliantly (as also exemplified in Chateau of Echoes and She Walks in Beauty). But The Messenger has a unique twist - first-person POV for both the hero and the heroine. And it works beautifully!

The American Revolution shakes Hannah Sunderland to the core. A British officer takes over her childhood home. Her new life with extended family - rich, Loyalist slave-owners - challenges her simple w
Review on Amazon:
Review on my blog (to be posted 1/6):

The Messenger is the first of Siri Mitchell's books I've read, but I definitely plan on reading more! Having not known much about the Quaker faith, it was interesting to read a book where one of the main characters was a Friend... definitely learned some things about their faith.

The story was fascinating and I found it hard to put down towards the end. I loved t
Jelly Bean
Hannah's life is about to change. Her life and faith as a Quacker is to be turned upside down. She is challenged to become...a Spy!!!

Ok, no more drama. The Messenger by Siri Mitchell is staged during the Revolutionary War. Hannah's family has to move out of their home due to the Brits moving into hers. Her heart is torn because her twin brother is in jail, freezing, starving and sick. But, she has been forbidden to visit him by the Meeting Leaders. Whether she likes to admit it or not, she has
Rating 4.5

A masterful Revolutionary War tale, well written with stellar main characters.

Hannah Sunderland's world is changing fast, and not for the better. Her family's house is taken over by a British officer, her brother is imprisoned. Hannah is determined to do anything to help her brother, but what if it means becoming a spy?

I was amazed at how much I liked this novel. The depth made it riveting and I really appreciated the historical details. The characters were well written and I enjoyed t
Margaret Metz
When you pick up a book by Siri Mitchell, you know it isn't going to be just like anything else you've already read. She has a passion for research and building complex characters who don't always do what you or I might expect of them. They always seem real enough to take their pulse though.

She has to be the only one who would cast a committed Quaker as a spy. I was as terrified for Hannah as Jeremiah (and as frustrated too). I wondered if this was how the spies of the Bible acted. Did they alw
Wow! Almost speechless...but not quite. First, I'm amazed at what a literary chameleon Mitchell is. She seems to take on a new voice with every novel that I read. This one resonates with old world charm -- from Hannah's quaint Quaker speech to Jeremiah's cynical view of the world. Throwing them together in one novel in the midst of one of America's most turbulent times was sheer brilliance. Amazing character development, fascinating (and dismaying) historical facts, an impossible romance and int ...more
Rachelle Rea

What I Loved

I remember reading the back cover copy of this novel many times long before I picked it up. Once I finished reading it, I sat back in awe of the author's talent and grace in delivering such a compelling story. I raided my library for every Siri Mitchell book on the shelves and had myself a Siri Mitchell weekend! She is definitely one of my favorite authors now.

This story starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the very last page. I can hardly find the words to describe how the de
Rachel Brand

PROS: Isn’t scared to give gritty details about this period of history; heavily researched; gentle and not overbearing romance and spiritual details; realistic protagonists

CONS: Ending is rather abrupt and left me wanting more

Quaker Hannah Sunderland has strictly followed her faith’s decision to avoid taking sides or arms in the Revolutionary War, even when it means that her family ar
Hannah and Jeremiah, a young Quaker girl who can not lie and a bitter, former British soldier with limited physical abilities, are the least likely of spies; none the less, they reluctantly begin spying for General Washington during the British occupation of Philadelphia.

The British Military was the most powerful in the world in 1777, but it was also the most ruthless and immoral, which eventually led to it's decline. The destruction of Philadelphia, unfair treatment of those suspected as Rebels
This is not the best of Siri Mitchell's books. I thought it got off to a rather slow start. It gets better as you get further into it.
Hannah Sunderland is a Quaker whom faith requires her to be neutral during the American colonial effort to separate from Great Britain.
Her twin brother has already left home to join and when he becomes a British POW she teams up with a colonial spy, Jeremiah Jones to rescue Robert and the other prisoners. She doesn't want to and doesn't expect to fall in love wi
An interesting historical fiction novel with a brave Quaker heroine. Hannah works along with Jeremiah to help the imprisoned patriots (including her twin brother) during the Revolutionary War. She struggles with her Quaker beliefs and eventually leaves her Friends and Meetings behind as she becomes impassioned with her cause as a spy. In the end, she helps free the prisoners via her messages between the colonel and General Washington, but is found out and jailed for doing so. Ultimately she is s ...more
Siri Mitchell has done it again. I love her historical fiction especially since much of it contains true events.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from amazon kindle
This story is so good! This was the first time I had ever read a novel by this author. I will be reading her stories again sometime in the future.
I was a bit unsure going into this book whether I would like it or not because I haven't read any Quaker books before and I am generally a bit put off by having a specific religious group as one of the main plot devices in the story. But as I got further and further into the book, I came to decide that overall I really really liked the book!
There was a bit I learnt and needed to learn about the Quakers, but the way Siri was able to write the novel, it didn't feel like a boring informative lesson
Set during America's Revolutionary War, The Messenger by Siri Mitchell tells the story of Hannah Sunderland, a young Quaker woman who struggles between duty toward her parents and religion, and her desire to help her brother imprisoned as a war soldier. She becomes embroiled in a spy mission with Jeremiah Jones, a wounded soldier and now Colonial spy.

Siri Mitchell tells this story in first person, which is not my favorite, but the way she switched the point of view between Hannah and Jeremiah at
Erin (Bookish in a Box)
One thing I really appreciate about The Messenger is all of the research that went into the Loyalist occupation of Philadelphia, as well as life in the 1770s and the religious beliefs of the Quakers. Siri Mitchell hits all the high points of historical fiction with enough descriptions and customs to engage the reader in times past but with enough activity and plot advancement to keep the reader interested. Solely as a historical novel, The Messenger shines.

It also excels as a novel about Quaker
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Nov 20, 2014 11:36AM  
¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 1 1 Oct 22, 2014 12:57PM  
Translation to Spanish, why not? 1 2 Jul 07, 2014 05:45PM  
Plot poorly portrays Friends ie. Quakers 1 6 Feb 26, 2014 10:20AM  
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also published under the name Siri L. Mitchell & Iris Anthony

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
More about Siri Mitchell...

Other Books in the Series

Against All Expectations (7 books)
  • A Constant Heart
  • Love's Pursuit
  • She Walks in Beauty
  • A Heart Most Worthy
  • Unrivaled
  • Love Comes Calling
She Walks in Beauty A Heart Most Worthy A Constant Heart Unrivaled Love's Pursuit

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“Why does it always have to be that way? Why do good men always have to sacrifice themselves for others?

Because they believe that the rest of us are worth it.”
“The concept of the Trinity seems very esoteric and irrelevant in today's world, but it seems to me that only a faith embracing each person of the Trinity can save us from imbalance. While love without faith offers no hope, faith without love offers no mercy. We must have both faith and love or run the danger of discovering that, in the end, we have nothing at all.” 5 likes
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