Many Sparrows When settler Clare Inglesby is widowed on a mountain crossing and her young son, Jacob, captured by Shawnees, she'll do everything in her power to get him back, including cross the Ohio River and march straight into the presence of her enemies deep in Indian country. Frontiersman and adopted Shawnee, Jeremiah Ring, promises to guide Clare through the wilderness and help her recover Jacob. Once they reach the Shawnees and discover Jeremiah's own Shawnee sister, Rain Crow, has taken custody of Jacob--renaming him Many Sparrows--keeping his promise becomes far more complicated, the consequences more wrenching, than Jeremiah could have foreseen.
Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God's transforming grace.
When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.
Burning Sky, Lori's debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.
This sucked me right in, from the shocking and absorbing first page all the way to the meaningful, excellent ending! I found it on my doorstep when I got home at about 5:30, and I finished it at about 12:30 am. I simply couldn't put it down!
I felt for Clare, so much. She's already breaking, with her husband's insistence on dragging his family deeper into Indian territory as tenuous peace crumbles, and as she is weeks away from giving birth. Is it any wonder that she shatters when her husband doesn't return, her son vanishes, and she goes into labor in the midst of trying to find her son? She tries so hard to be strong, but underneath her drive of pushing herself to find her boy is a deeply broken heart.
Then there was Jeremiah Ring, caught between two cultures, longing to have his Cherokee friends and family understand and accept God's love. His adopted brothers are true brothers to him in the best sense of the word; how can he turn his back and join in the fight against them? Yet how could he dream of fighting against Viriginians? His adopted sister has turned her back on God after tragedy, and he hopes and prays for her return to faith.
The Christian message in this book is so strong. I loved the point that was made that Rain Crow (the sister) participating in ceremonial dances was an indication that she was trusting the gods of the Indians rather than the Almighty. (As much as I'd have liked to dislike/view her as a villain because of an action she takes in the story, I loved Rain Crow anyway and wanted her heart to change.) It's got more in it than forgiveness...there's also trust and learning to wait on God for the right timing.
There's just so much to love about the beautiful, atmospheric writing, and the talent that takes you right to the scene. Loved it!
Content: 18+ for frank talk of nursing and Indian habits and a dramatic birth scene.
Thanks to the publisher for a free review copy. A favorable review was not required.
Aaaaand I'm pretty sure I just read my very favorite book of 2017! If Lori Benton wasn't already sitting firmly atop my "favorite authors forever and ever" list (hint: she definitely was), she (still) is after this one.
^^Okay that was my initial reaction to this book and it literally took me weeks to come back and write a full review because I couldn't figure out how to put into words how much I love this stunning book. But I’ll do my best…so here goes:
The storyline: This story is action-packed and well-paced, with the heart-wrenching tragedy Clare faces propelling us through the story. One of the things I adore about Lori Benton’s writing is that she gives her characters and her scenes room to breathe, allowing me as the reader to fully sink in. And yet, at the same time, the plot keeps moving. She pulls the reader along gently but also somehow urgently as we feel the both the sorrows and the joys her characters experience. Speaking of…
The characters: I. Love. Them. Clare and Jeremiah are heart-tugging from the first pages. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Lori Benton hero I didn’t adore or heroine I didn’t identify with. I may never have experienced the kind of hurts Clare does throughout this story or the kind of complicated problems Jeremiah does, but their emotions are real and riveting. I also loved getting to revisit Cade and Jesse from Benton’s earlier books, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. (But if you haven’t read that one, no worries. You don’t need to have read it to enjoy this book.)
The history: No one does historical fiction like Lori Benton. It’s sweeping and rich in detail. Her research shows clearly without bogging the reader down.
All in all, Many Sparrows is beautiful, layered and poignant. It touched me deeply, and it’s one I know I’ll re-read more than once.
Let me tell you about my keeper shelf. It's sparse. There are very few books gracing that hallowed hall of fame because I am a jaded reader. It's got to be one spectacular wingding of a read that kills my inner editor and transports me to another time and place to earn a spot on that coveted shelf.
And Many Sparrows did it.
Author Lori Benton pens a tale that, as an author myself, makes me want to throw my computer right out the window and give up the ghost of pretense. She is, quite simply, a rockstar of storytelling. I'm thinking about starting a Lori Benton fan club.
Okay, so enough with my gushing. On to the story. Many Sparrows is the tale of a woman suffering insurmountable losses: her husband, her son, her dignity, her everything. She's desperate. Grasping. Wretchedly helpless yet unwilling to quit trying. And that's what makes this story so great because haven't we all been there at one time or another? Yet it ends with hope and peace and the unsettled settledness of learning to be content no matter the circumstances.
If you haven't read this one yet, get thee to a bookstore, my friend. You can thank me later.
I truly can’t pick a favorite Lori Benton book – I’ve loved them all so far, and while some I enjoyed more than others, I can’t possibly choose a favorite. Many Sparrows only added to this wonderful problem of loving all of an author’s books.
I read this more slowly than I might normally have in the past. For one, my reading time is just not what it used to be, and for two, when you know the next book is going to be a while, you want to savor it, if you can. It was hard to read slowly because the story is just that engrossing and heart-catching. Benton’s characters are always so vibrant, and that is entirely the case here. Clare Inglesby’s plight tugged at my heart – her emotions are so well-realized, as is her fortitude. She is so strong, yet her flaws are realistic and endearing. I read with trepidation at times because I knew this wouldn’t be an easy journey for her, even accompanied by a man of such resilient stuff as Jeremiah Ring. I never thought that Jesse Bird could be supplanted by another male lead of Lori’s, but Jeremiah comes quite close to unseating him. To be fair, technically Jesse Bird is in this story, too, albeit much younger but still just as spirited. If you’ve already read The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, be prepared to crave a re-read of it – if you haven’t, get thee to a bookstore or library! And no worries, there are no spoilers, just connection of characters that creates a wonderful depth to the story and for the world that the author has created.
Speaking of world-building – the setting is amazing. It hums with realism and becomes an integral part of the story in the way that Benton's natural settings tend to do. I also have to touch on Benton’s ability to resist making her plot revolve around a villain – the character that comes closest is actually empathetic; the issues that have these characters lives in upheaval are not any one person or any one issues – they are many and layered, not based on a one-dimensional antagonist. Stories that have to do with Native American peoples are often not done with sensitivity and ignore what happened to them as they were displaced from their homeland. Benton never tries to gloss over history here, and she never draws sharp lines of good and bad, rather creating realistic characters and realistic struggles from both perspectives. These characters confront their own prejudices, while highlighting things true to the human experience. Grief and loss span skin color and cultural differences and familial love doesn’t just mean someone related to you by blood.
The secondary characters are compelling, particularly a mysterious Shawnee man, Wolf Alone, and a hurting Shawnee woman, Rain Crow. There is a powerful message of faith, of perseverance, and of enduring while trusting in God’s plan. This message springs organically from the words and thoughts of the characters, particularly Clare’s journey from tenuously holding onto His promises to an utter acceptance of His will, no matter the outcome.
I loved everything about this novel – the enthralling setting, heartrending character development, endearing romance that builds throughout and a redemptive arc that brought tears to my eyes. I can see myself reading this again in the future, and it’s definitely on my favorites list for 2017. Highly recommended.
Stunning. Many Sparrows is everything I want in a book: settings that spring to life, characters I love, rich historical context, heart-wrenching drama, timeless spiritual insights, and prose that reads like poetry. Lori Benton handles the conflicted eighteenth-century with sensitivity in this tender tale of hope and fear, faith and doubt, of loss and new life. Truly, an inspired masterpiece sure to stir the soul.
Nobody does historical fiction regarding the clashes between Native Americans and whites better than Lori Benton. Every book of hers I have read has been amazing. Her historical detail and research is incredible. It shows on every page of the book. Her understanding of the lives and culture of the Native Americans during the westward expansion and their struggle to retain their land, even before the Revolutionary War, is displayed in every event that takes place within their society. Within all of this, Benton incorporates a spiritual element that is true to both cultures and plays a beautiful role in her storyline.
Clare's development and growth in faith throughout all she encountered both in her early marriage, her loss of her son, and her adjustments and trials within the Shawnee camp was so well done. Benton brought her feelings to life as you felt Clare's betrayal, torment, disappointment, frustration and every other feeling imaginable. Jeremiah Ring was such a strong, faith filled hero who was always there to ground Clare from the birth of Pippa to their reunion at the end. The major characters from the Shawnee tribe: Rain Crow, Falling Hawk, Wildcat, Crosses-the Path, and Wolf-Alone, each added a dimension to this wonderful story.
My hope is that Benton will write a sequel to continue to story of Jeremiah, Clare, the children and Uncle Alphus. Their appears more adventures await this family.
Five star read and one of my favorites of 2018.
** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
For the first time in a long time, I read a book besides the Bible that completely settled my soul and tuned me out from lives conflicts. This book is the most satisfying and stirring book I've read all year. It spoke to me in so many ways, but most of all the message of knowing God and resting in Him was so real and deep. Sometimes we have to just "be still and know" that He is God!
It took a few chapters to get into this book, but not because I wasn't pulled in from the beginning. It's more the writing style that was slow-paced, which is the main factor I could pick this book up, read a few chapters, then set it down again without frantically wanting to finish it. I wanted to savor every word, and I did!
This is a tale of real souls, wrapped in a tale of Indians fighting white man over the Ohio and Kentucky line. The history fascinated me, especially because Ohio is my home state and I've never really looked that much into the history during these upheaval years that America was being settled. I've read lots of Indian tales in the past, but this one far surpassed any other. From the beginning to end as pregnant Claire goes West with her husband and little son, to the part as she lives with the Indians, and to the end as she sees God's handiwork, I was holding my breath because it all seemed so perfectly plotted and written.
The spiritual content is amazing-deeply woven into the story. The salvation message was clear cut in one particular scene and I read it with wide eyes. It flowed so well with the characters' lives! And then the romance. Wow, so good! It wasn't rushed or unrealistic. It was slowly brought forth, and revealed at just the perfect time. There are a two kisses, very little detail.
I completely understand about other reviews that mention about the unclothed aspect portrayed in this book, so I wouldn't shrug that off. There are several mentions of Claire nursing, but it didn't bother me as it is a a very natural aspect of mothering to me. Also, there are a few mentions of Indians unclothed. Maybe I missed the others, but there definitely was a lot less shown in that aspect then I expected. There is a birthing scene that was slightly disturbing, and I would definitely give a warning to more sensitive readers, and male readers as well.
I can't wait to read more by this author, because I think she could become one of my favorites. There are so many amazing quotes in this book, that I could fill the rest of my review with, but I think it would be better if you grabbed up this book yourself. I hope it will reach into your heart as it has in mine-to see that sometimes waiting is the best choice at a time when you feel like you must do something; to see that God is all-powerful and loving and far expands anything and everything; to see characters lives who have struggles just like anyone else, but slowly understand a portion of what God is teaching them.
And most of all, understand that God places value in every sparrow, but more importantly in every person He has created.
Many Sparrows by Lori Benton is a beautiful tale. Clare’s desperate longing to be reunited with her son gives the story a poignant pull as she learns to trust God and release her beloved boy into His hands. Jeremiah is a compelling hero, strong and faithful and wise, but with an underlying sadness that draws you in. The lives of both the settlers and the Shawnees are rendered with such compassion and realism that the clashes between them are even more harrowing. Many Sparrows is an exquisite novel that stays with you long after the last page is turned. Savor it.
Many Sparrows by Lori Benton is a heart-wrenchingly gorgeous tale of how one woman's love for her son carries her on a journey of spiritual, physical, and emotional depth. I loved this novel! Every novel by Lori Benton, in my humble opinion, is independently well-done on it's own. From Burning Sky to Many Sparrows, each novel has had it's own unique spiritual lesson, allowing the reader to grow spiritually along with the characters. Would I recommend? Yes, a million times, yes! 5/5 stars from me.
I was sent this novel by the author in exchange for my honest review. I was in no other way compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.
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. Highly recommended.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
"We don't get the eagle's view. Sometimes we look around and it's like being hemmed by a thicket of thorns. But it's there."
Clare Inglesby's birth pains were a prologue to the grief that she was yet to bear; trapped alone in the wilderness without her husband, her son, or a wagon that would roll, she is forced to suffer the indignity of a stranger's hands bringing her infant daughter into the world. Learning that her husband was brutally ambushed and scalped by a Mingo warrior, who more than likely kidnapped her four year old son under the cover of darkness, Clare vows to follow frontiersman Jeremiah Ring, to the ends of the earth, if it means being reunited with her son, assuming that he is still alive.
Jeremiah Ring happens upon tragedy along the trail while ferrying messages back and forth between local Indian tribes and the governor of Virginia's representatives. English by birth, but now Shawnee by circumstance, his heart is torn between duty and compassion when he peers into the desperate green eyes of Clare Inglesby. Knowing that the journey ahead of them will be difficult, Jeremiah relies on his faith as a guide, especially when the details of young Jacob Inglesby's whereabouts are fully revealed. What will it take to convince Clare to wait on the Lord, to let Him come to her rescue, rather than relying solely on her own understanding?
In classic Lori Benton style, this story exudes rich and symphonic descriptions of peoples, places, and lifestyles that are but a faint wisp of smoke in our nation's history, but unwittingly reveal some of the deepest truths, if we, "Don't go judging the Almighty by (our) own understanding. We're rarely given eyes to see the whole of what He's doing in our lives . . . . . That's why we are called to walk by faith, not by sight".
I was given a copy of this book by the author. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Achingly beautiful, Many Sparrows by Lori Benton is one of my favorite books of 2017. Similar to The Wood’s Edge (The Pathfinders series), Lori Benton takes aim at the hearts of women—particularly mothers—who would read this story. Be prepared to descend to emotional depths rarely tapped in Christian fiction. Eventually, you will emerge with a new appreciation for the sovereignty of God as well as a fortified resolve to wait on Him.
From the beginning, I empathized with Clare Inglesby, who at 8 months pregnant was being jostled around in the wagon her husband was driving deep into hostile Indian territory. All too late, he realized how foolish it had been to ignore the advice of the men in Redstone. All too soon, Clare would give birth to their daughter and lose their son. How far would you go, what fears would you face, and how patient could you be in order to be reunited with your child?
I absolutely recommend Many Sparrows to book clubs! Whether your group tends to favor historically intriguing plots or captivating slow-burn romances, this book possesses both. Additionally, Benton opens the door for discussions about acting according to our will vs God’s, the testing of our faith, and being living witnesses to unbelievers. For an emotionally charged, God-glorifying story, look no further than Lori Benton’s latest.
**I received this book from the author/publisher. 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.”
When you start this, make sure you have time to read a decent chunk because it sucks you in quickly! Not that it ever lets you go; you'll be drawn along with the story and left emotionally hanging until the end. It was definitely hard to put down.
The story takes place in 1774 along the Ohio-Kentucky frontier, and begins with Philip, his wife Clare, who is pregnant, and their four-year-old son Jacob, struggling to catch up with a group heading deeper into the frontier. Philip wants to claim land, but what gets taken and claimed is the unexpected.
Although a Christian fiction, I didn't feel it was preachy or the references out of place. In fact, I thought Benton incorporated and conveyed Clare's soul searching questions in a realistic manner. Such struggles include asking where was God when "blank" happened, does He care, does prayer work, if He's good then why do bad things happen; and I liked particularly how she addresses the fact that only God can fill the void we have in our hearts - no loved one or friend or circumstance can.
Cleanliness: mentions breast feeding and putting the baby to her breasts to suck often. Mentions Indian women working in the field topless. Mentions women having to live in a separate hut during their menstrual cycle. A few looks of longing and a couple of kisses. The word "bl**dy" is used a couple of times to mean lots of blood. When a man agrees to help Clare rescue her boy, she hopes that he doesn't want "that" for payment - implying sex. Mentions rape a few times, and there are some scalping/war scenes described.
*Note: I listened to the audio version of this book so this Cleanliness Report is not as thoroughly detailed as other reports are. Some inappropriate content may have been forgotten/missed and not included in the report.
**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.
I've often marveled at Lori's research into the time periods she writes, but with Many Sparrows I thought I caught her out. A fair amount of the book is set in Virginia--the part that's now West Virginia--and while I'm no expert on history, I do know a little about my home state.
And there, at the beginning of chapter 26, she mentioned the Indian war chief Buckongahelas. But wait a minute. I grew up just outside Buckhannon, named for the Indian war chief Buckongehanon. The book "The Scout of the Buckongehanon" by J. C. McWhorter tells his story. Did Lori make a mistake? I turned to my handy West Virginia Encyclopedia. Never fear. It's the same guy whose name was apparently mispronounced--Buckongehelas is the more accurate name.
It's that attention to detail that lets Lori's stories bring history to life. She includes the sweeping events of the 1770s in America while drilling down to individuals who were living out the challenges of those days. Clare and Jeremiah have to choose where their loyalties lie--with family, community, country? But WHICH family, community, and country? Impossible questions require unexpected answers.
Lori leads her readers to find those answers in faith. This story offers a hard, beautiful lesson that I hope resonates with others the way it did with me. God has a plan I can't see or understand. Will I trust him to carry it out even (especially) when it hurts?
Many Sparrows is definitely one of the best books that I have read this year! These characters just pulled me in. I felt heartache, frustration, desperation, hope, peace, love, and much more. The author elicited so many emotions from me while I read this novel.
I loved the two main characters in this story. I was amazed as I watched Clare’s growth throughout the novel. There were times, early on in the story, when Clare really struggled with controlling her reactions. She had to go through a lot and I was so impressed with what the author taught her on this journey. Many of the things that Clare had to learn were taught to her by Jeremiah. He had his own struggles, as well. I loved learning about him and seeing how he grew. The main characters and many of the side characters captured my attention and made this book one that I could hardly set down.
Finally, the author made me feel like I was really back in time while reading Many Sparrows. I was absolutely immersed in the time period, the customs, and the wildness of the setting. I highly recommend this wonderful novel!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
What an epic story! I was completely immersed in the time period and setting with Clare as she fights for her son. It's definitely a heartbreaking journey and the process of change she goes through is profound. Jeremiah's support and patience is a Godsend to her, although she doesn't always see him that way when he doesn't act as swiftly as she'd like. The struggles and experiences portrayed seem unreal, but I know that they are based on history and the realities that settlers and natives faced. I appreciate the meticulous research of the author and I feel like it really made the story come to life. The powerful themes of waiting on God and trusting that He will work all things for our good are strongly felt in the long journey Clare and her family are on. Highly recommend!!!
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
1774. In the Ohio-Kentucky frontier, pulsing with tension and brutal conflicts between the Colonists and the Indians, Clare Inglesby is left alone on the trail during a journey west by her husband when goes for help. Alone, with a 4 year old son and pregnant, Clare goes into labor. Going into the woods to protect her son's hearing her labor groaning, she returns to find him gone. No trace of 4 year old Jacob is to be found. With her child moments away from being born, frontiersman Jeremiah Ring happens upon her and comes to her aid. Clare is determined to go ahead on her original journey, hoping to find her son, whom she is told has been kidnapped by Indians.
This book truly is a masterpiece. The history, the sights, the people, the setting, all are amazingly real to this reader. Lori Benton has again written a book so historically vibrant, it near sings with the beauty of it. I felt as if I was settled down inside this story, roaming the woods with Jeremiah and Clare, living in the Indian camp and then in the wooded battle that we knew would take place before book's end. Her prose is soul stirring and deep, her characters real to my heart. And through it all, she weaves the powerful theme of allowing God to work things out for His children. No matter the pain, no matter the length of time, no matter how much we want to run ahead and try to fix it on our own. God WILL work things out for our good.
Benton's historical research is tremendous here. I read with bated breath during most of it, wishing I could just take the time to read it in one sitting. But this is a book to be savored, not rushed through. It is also a book destined to sit on the keeper shelf and be read over and over again. It is, in my opinion, Benton's best work to date. I thoroughly enjoyed every single moment. So full of emotion, this book was, I cherished it. Don't miss this one.
*I was given a preview copy of this book by the publisher. This review is my own opinion in its entirety.
Many Sparrows is a stand-alone novel, but isn’t the first book I’ve ever read by Lori Benton. A while back I read The Wood's Edge and absolutely loved it, so I was super excited once I found out I would be receiving this book. However, I have to say, it was not what I expected. Somehow, Many Sparrows was even better than I ever could have imagined! I knew Lori was an outstanding author, but this novel blew everything else out of the water. Many Sparrows is easily now one of my top ten favorite stories, and now I am desperate to read even more of Lori’s works. Clare Inglesby is one of the strongest characters I have ever encountered. Although her faith isn’t exactly the strongest when we meet up with her at the beginning of this novel, she has so much strength and determination in so many other ways. Her love for Jacob is limitless, and the way she would do anything to get him back is just the perfect example of a mother’s devotion to her child. Besides that, I really loved being able to watch her emotions ebb and flow as she strived to get Jacob back, and the way that she was forced to learn patience and to trust in God was truly inspiring. I also loved being able to watch the growth of many of the other characters. Jeremiah’s story tugged at my heart from the very beginning, and it broke me even more to finally read it in its entirety. I also really enjoyed getting to know his adopted family, especially Rain Crow and Wolf-Alone. The Shawnees’ stories were so intriguing, and I loved how realistic Lori made it all. There were also a few unexpected twists and turns, and I definitely didn’t predict the way the story would end, which made this novel even better. All in all, I can’t imagine giving Many Sparrows any less than all five bookshelves, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a lover of historical fiction. Or even to anyone in general really. Lori has woven together a masterpiece of history, redemption, and the strength of a mother’s love, and I know I will definitely remember this story for years to come. I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.
I don't remember requesting this book, and by the time I picked it up to read it I had completely forgotten what it was about. I didn't even know what time period it was set in, so it was one of those total surprises.
What I Thought about this Book:
It's been a long time since a book has gripped me so fast and furiously. The setting, the plot, the characters... They all shouted at me to give them my utter attention, and I hardly wanted to put the book down after I got into it.
Since I'm an Ohioan I've always found it interesting to read a settlers/Indians/frontier book that takes place in Ohio. It seems like so many of those types of books are set out west, and although I get why out west is so intriguing, reading about the history of Ohio is quite gripping as well. This is probably my favorite Ohio frontier book that I've read.
The characters felt real to me - very annoying at times, special at times, and adorable (children, at least), at times. Goodness. Don't even get me started on the Indians and all it showed of their lives. Growing up I wanted to be an Indian so badly that I probably even prayed that I could become one. (I don't actually remember for sure....) I know I did at one time decide I would marry a full-blooded Indian so my kids could at least be half Indian. (Yes, I'm weird. And yes, I know that technically it's called Native American.) One of the things this book did was portray life for both the Indians and the settlers - I could see, feel, and empathize with both people groups. Jeremiah Ring was a great character for making that happen. That was probably my favorite element of the book.
There were two minor characters who really drew me in and made me feel like they were going to have a spin-off story. In the back of the book the author mentions that they are characters from a previous book, so now I really want to read that book, and I kinda wish I had read it first.
There were some issues I had with this book which is why I had to lower the rating to three stars, even though this book was very nearly four stars, and could have almost made it to five stars. My main problem with the book was that the characters continued being in situations that weren't morally good to be in (even though nothing bad happened), even after it was possible for them to escape such situations. There was also some dishonesty going on. I know why they did it, and I think in some cases it would have been fine, but since that the situation they were in could have been avoided, I had a problem with the dishonesty.
I want to read more from this author. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone due to some violence (although it didn't go into detail), and also the issues I mentioned above. But, I do think a lot of people would enjoy it, and overall it had a good message.
I’m giving Many Sparrows 3 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10.
*I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review
Oh my heart!! This book is so emotionally engaging! As I've come to expect from Lori Benton's books, you'll be drawn into this story, and the life lessons it teaches, with a depth of feeling that will leave you quietly pondering your own life and the ways God works for our good, even though it sometimes hurts.
I very much admired Clare's grit and determination to go after her son. Oh my word, she was determined!! And after just having a baby, too! Wow! My heart just hurt for the things she goes through in her pursuit of getting her son back. She struggles throughout the book with her faith and who can blame her? Thankfully, God sends Jeremiah her way and he patiently guides her and becomes her protector amongst the Indians. Jeremiah understands what she is going through and has learned to trust God through his own life experiences.
This book is not a light read but I have no doubt you'll be captivated once you start. Lori Benton is a very skilled writer and her awesome talent with words will keep you engaged and emotional as you read about this time in American history that our generation can probably never fully comprehend.
*Thanks to LitFuse for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.*
Lori Benton recreates the world of the Virginia colonists and the Shawnee in 1774 in vivid, haunting detail, while capturing a mother’s desperate determination to bring both her newborn and her stolen son safely home—wherever that home may lie. It’s a goal that seems impossible to reach even when Jacob is found. And even as Clare is increasingly drawn to Jeremiah Ring, the mysterious stranger who appeared to help her in her time of greatest need, she chafes mightily against his insistence on patience and waiting for God to act. But Jeremiah has learned from his own bitter experience that only God can reconcile a situation as intractable as the one they find themselves in. Can he convince Clare to wait for the Lord’s perfect timing? Will she deny the unexpected love blossoming in the midst of brokenness?
I love the verse quoted at the beginning of the book, which gave this story its title: Jesus assuring his followers that the Father cares for every sparrow that falls to the ground, and that we are worth more to Him than many sparrows. And as I mulled over the deep insights in this story, I remembered the words of an old song: “My eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
He does indeed. And Many Sparrows beautifully reminds us of that precious truth.
Many Sparrows is a soaring epic of love and loss, war and redemption, set against the backdrop of Dunmore's War, which pitted Virginians eager to expand west and stake a claim to the territory against the Mingo and Shawnee nations who called the rich frontier their home. Led west by a husband hopelessly out of his element, Clare Inglesby finds herself abandoned, on the verge of giving birth to in the wilderness, with her four year old son Jacob missing. Nearly senseless with worry and grief, Clare's only hope of recovering her lost child is frontiersman Jeremiah Ring. Against his better judgement, Ring agrees that Clare can accompany him in search of her son, the bereft mother's loss a haunting reminder of a past he thought long buried. Reclaiming her firstborn proves an arduous exercise in patience and trust that Clare isn't sure she has the strength to endure. With prejudice and fear running high and rumors of revolution in the east, Jeremiah and Clare's fragile alliance tests their tenuous bond of friendship, and forces Clare to confront a reality she isn't sure she can face -- for if her son's survival depends on staying with the Shawnee, can she find it in her heart to surrender him?
Growing up I can remember being fascinated by the story of Mary Draper Ingles, the white woman who was abducted by the Shawnee in 1755, and against all odds and traveling hundreds of miles, escaped to reunite with husband. My admittedly limited recollection of this story is almost wholly from the white point-of-view -- i.e., of course the Indians were terrifying, of course she would want to escape, etc. What is so powerful about Benton's tale is that she succeeds is shedding light on both sides of a fractious, prejudiced conflict with humanity and grace. For as much as a gently-bred Virginian lady such as Clare would fear Shawnee warriors, for as much as her circumstances would arguably justify her hate, Benton never lets the reader stay in that one-sided mindset. She sensitively brings the Shawnee culture to vibrant life on the page -- these are not the cardboard cut-out villains of old-fashioned westerns, these are people every bit as passionate and feeling as Clare. And while the custom of adopting a captive would, to an outsider, seem fearful and strange, Benton's sensitive portrayal of the complex bonds between those (like Jeremiah) who managed to bridge two worlds is a powerful reminder that all too often fear of another stems from a place of unknowing ignorance. Clare's struggle to reconcile her natural longing to raise her son in the world she knows with terrifying circumstances in which she finds herself is a powerfully wrought exploration of forgiveness, grace, and surrender to the God who is ever-present, even in circumstances beyond one's ken when He seems painfully silent.
Many Sparrows is an exquisite story, beautifully told. Benton has a knack for balancing heart-rending emotion with the beauty and suspense of life on the untamed frontier. Her carefully-crafted dialogue and pitch-perfect characterizations cannot help but immerse the reader in the world of 18th century Ohio-Kentucky frontier. Laura Frantz has long been my favorite author of fiction of this ilk, and I'm pleased to see another I've long followed join that select rank. Benton is one of those rare authors whose work I would classify as true historical. Yes, there is romance (and it is swoon-worthy!), but Clare and Jeremiah's tale is so thoroughly embedded in the history of the time, there are moments the line between fact and fiction blur. This is a gorgeous, thought-provoking tale of finding peace in the desert of waiting, and hope in the constancy of an unshakable God.
Each year, author Lori Benton releases a new historical. And each year, it's one of my most anticipated reads. Her stories are so rich and deep with life-like characters and faith lessons and gorgeous prose that pulls you in.
She never lets a reader down!
Many Sparrows is her latest offering. It's a harrowing story that gripped me as a mother and a reader. Heroine Clare Inglesby is both tough and tender-hearted as a desperate mother sandwiched in the rising tension between Colonists heading westward and Native Americans fighting for their land.
Jeremiah Ring comes to Clare's aid with both knowledge of the Natives and patience. What a lovely treat watching their relationship unfold on the page. <3 Lori's skill at delivering a powerful faith lesson that's organic to the story and speaks to the reader is one of the reasons she's a favorite author.
Many Sparrows is an unforgettable story offering about trusting the Creator and putting our greatest fears, into His capable hands. SO hard to do in reality, and Lori showed it beautifully through Clare and Jeremiah.
Last year's story, A Flight of Arrows, seriously slayed me, and I wasn't sure she could top it. But oh, this one. SO good!
If you enjoy inspirational Historicals but haven't read Lori Benton's stories, get on it! I can't recommend them enough.
This book is magnificent and immensely satisfying. I can't put myself together to write a proper review so I'll probably gush all the way through...
Clare Inglesby and Jeremiah Ring's story is one that pulls you from the beginning. It makes you want to read it as quickly as possible but, at the same time, it compels you to go slowly, savor it with purpose, relish the journey and let it be more than just a story but a venture that can change you as well.
This book pulls you in every direction, from compassion to outrage, to understanding until healing is fully bloomed. And trust me, it will come... if we only learn to be confident in our waiting. But how to do so when you've already lost almost everything you hold dear and the only one left is forbidden to be yours again. This is the plight Clare finds herself in days after losing her husband and giving birth with the help of a stranger.
For Jeremiah, there is too much familiarity in Clare's story with his own, which moves him to want to help her and teach her to persevere during the waiting so she won't have to learn it the hard way, as he did. But is there an actual easy way to proceed when you are required to remain among a people so different from you and who are seen mostly as enemies? And how surprising can it be when doing so challenges you to rethink every conception you had grown up to believe in until then? About living sacrificially, about community, friendship, love, faith, and hope.
No need to say Lori Benton's writing is exceptional. It is so dynamic that I never get lost with each new character added, when point-of-view changes or when characters are traveling through different regions. And don't even get me started on the heroes she writes. They are the epitome of kindness and gentleness (without being presented as faultless or unrealistic, mind you).
Yep, hands down, this is one of the best books of the year!!