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The Blue Cloak

(True Colors #5)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  260 reviews
Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror as the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Ha ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2020 by Barbour Books
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Shannon McNear Thank you for asking! The main fictional storyline contains a romance, and no, where that is concerned, there's nothing more explicit. HOWEVER, and he…moreThank you for asking! The main fictional storyline contains a romance, and no, where that is concerned, there's nothing more explicit. HOWEVER, and here's where the "true crime" aspect comes in...the actual historical storyline includes sexual assault and abuse, so if you're very sensitive to such details, consider skipping this one! I did my best to keep most of that off-screen, or as part of narrative flashback, but there are a couple of places where a smidgen of detail was necessary for the story.(less)
Shannon McNear It depends upon how you define that. See my reply to the previous question. This book is definitely for more mature readers.

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I thought this was going to have more romantic suspense and less gory details of criminal activity, but I was mistaken and let down. However, it was interesting to read about this period of time on the frontier. The Harpes are psychopathic murderers and I want to erase some of the details of their killings from my memory. Ben and Rachel were sweethearts, but the emphasis was mostly on the Harpes.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a fair and ho
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Realistic fiction at its best. My first read by Shannon McNear. The writing captured the essentials of the human soul. The author convincingly and accurately wrote this story for me.
I have a difficult time with a lot of Christian authors,in the sense that it’s not realistic enough to me. And sometimes they’re to preachy. Do you understand what I mean here? I want a truthful story that has real life struggle, chemistry, love and hope. I love to see people acting godly. Their moral compass shouts
Deanne Patterson
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Deanne by:
I have read and enjoy all of the books in the True Colors series. It's a fictional series based off of true crime happenings in the past.
This one dealt with some tough subjects and didn't play out as I expected it to.
It was interesting to read the author's notes in the back of the book explaining the story based on fact and read about it more in depth. Not for the faint of heart there is brutality and a crime spree. Get ready for edge of your seat action.

Published March 1st 2020 by Barbour Books
Content: 18+ at least

While I appreciated the author's handling of the history in this story, and her ability to spin a good tale, I was honestly so repulsed by the serial killer subject matter that it won't become a favorite book. I really liked that it was so true to the historical account and I am glad to have learned about this era in American history. Some folks try to say there weren't true serial killers before the Victorian era and this historical tale smashes that idea to bits.

Rachel was
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
With even a dour subject of the Harpe Brothers, Shannon McNear gave insight to a time in American history few have heard about, albeit very difficult in Christian terms. To think people could be this cruel in today's age, because we know this kind of thing takes place today from the news, but to think it happened all those years ago too.

The lives of Susan, Betsy, and Sally Harpe were terrible, horrifying, mind-boggling, and sympathetic all at the same time, the things they endured cannot be ima
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
The history brought to light in the True Colors Series has been fascinating. The Blue Cloak takes readers back to 1797 Tennessee and a spree of crimes by two relatives (there is debate if the two men were brothers or cousins) that were heinous. The author does a spectacular job of painting the setting. Historical figures and facts are brought to life in the words of the novel.

While the details of the crimes are carefully penned, the brutality described is difficult to read and there is one part
Hallie Szott
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it

Experience the wilderness and brutality of the eighteenth-century frontier in Shannon McNear’s The Blue Cloak.

Throughout the area, the Harpes satisfy their murderous inclinations and create havoc, uncertainty, and terror. Rachel Taylor’s friend, Sally Rice, recently became wife to Wiley Harpe, while Ben Langford’s cousin fell victim to the killing spree. With clear reasons to want justice, they grapple with the evil lurking around them, do what they can to put an end to it, and even find hope
CYIReadBooks (Claire)
Compelling! Absorbing!

"The Blue Cloak" is a fictional story based on true events. A riveting tale of what seems to be America's first serial killers. It is also an unfortunate tale of how physical and psychological abuse can be the shackles that bind the victims to their abusers.

A great five star read in my opinion. Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways and Amazon for a digital ARC of this book.
Andrea Cox
After reading another book in the True Colors series, I thought I knew what to expect when I started The Blue Cloak. I was wrong.

The tone was darker, more grisly, and less hopeful than The Yellow Lantern. At one point, I paused my reading of Blue to research a bit about the Harpe Brothers, because I wanted to know how much of the horror was real. All of it and more, unfortunately. The research I found was gruesome, so this made the grisly details of characters finding “nude and mutilated” bodies
Karen R
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A riveting tale based on a real eighteenth century crime spree. Not for the faint of heart, as this well researched story includes some grizzly murders and violence, with just enough detail to imagine the terror and evil of the pair responsible. Yet in the midst of it all there is still a light of hope and faith, plus a tender romance.

“For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

The Blue Cloak
By: Shannon McNear

*REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆
I have a strange association with The Blue Cloak. I like the story, but I also hate the story. The premise of this one is very compelling, dramatic and intriguing, especially if, like me, you have never heard of America's first serial killers, the Harpe brothers. This is their story, but, thankfully, the author describes the horrible mur
Susan F
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The True Colors series are fictionalized accounts of true crime stories. I have read each book in the series as crime stories are some of the things that interest me. The Blue Cloak is based on the Harpe duo who are believed to be the first serial killers in the United States. I can not imagine the angst author Shannon McNear endured when agreeing to write, then actually researching historical records to glean information for this book. It is an horrendous story of two sick, perverse and evil me ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Amazing story of the horrendously dark trail of murder that followed the Harpe Brothers in the late 1790's.I have found this series of true crimes, True Colors:Historical Series of American Crimes to be intriguing.

McNear's historical research and attention to detail is apparent in this fictional account. I found the historical setting of the frontier of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee in the late 1790's to be fascinating. McNear's skill as a storyteller brings light in the form of fai
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense, kindle
I have enjoyed this series very much which is based on true crimes, but this one was very dark and gritty. The brutalities committed by the two brothers in this story definitely made me cringe throughout this story. Serial killers are difficult to understand and even harder to read about. McNear's obvious research shows throughout the book and is detailed in the epilogue. Using not only historical tools but also genealogical tools to make sure her work was as accurate as possible must have been ...more
Paula Shreckhise
Kudos to Shannon McNear for tackling a difficult subject of serial killers in 1797 America. This is part of the series True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by Barbour Publishing. I give this more than 5 stars!
The research into these events was extensive and thorough. Ms. McNear has done justice to the rein of terror committed by the Harpes along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She balances it nicely with the romance of Rachel Taylor, daughter of a Way Station owner and Ben Langfo
Warning: I would not recommend this book to younger or sensitive readers due to the nature of the crimes mentioned in this book. Even though the author gave just enough information (no detailed description) it could still be too much for certain readers.

Even though this book was about serial killers and their crimes, the author did a great job of balancing the dark crimes with hope and faith through Racheal and Ben.

My heart broke for Sally and the situation she found herself in. There was one s
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was my first read by Shannon McNear and I thought it was a very well-written story about the Harpe brothers and quite possibly the first known serial killers in the U.S. I loved how detailed the author was at the ending of her book with regards to the research for this book. I was drawn to this story because of the prior reviews that I saw on Goodreads. The characters were well-drawn, I liked the characters of Rachel Taylor and Ben Langford and how they formed a friendship through their mut ...more
Cathy Cermele
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The True Colors-Historical Stories of American Crime has become one of my favorite series which is penned by different authors. They have all contained elements of a love story but have a grittier side to them, too.
The Blue Cloak is much more on the gritty side than I expected but that was fine because it heightened the desperation and the plight that Sally Rice faced with her new husband shortly after they were married.

Needless to say her marriage got off to a horrendous start as she moves in w
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was really hard for me to get into the story. I felt like I was missing something, felt like characters had already met in another book. Slow start. It was halfway before I was really into the story, and then it slowed up again. I couldn't put it down for the last 25%. But I can't imagine how hard it is for authors to make up stories to go with historical facts and keep true to the facts but make sure there's a Christian aspect to it. Of the True Colors books so far, this one had least amount ...more
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

The saga of a notorious duo of outlaws operating in 1790's frontier Kentucky.

It starts with a wedding. A young woman marries a man who is one of the infamous outlaws. When he takes her to his cabin, it turns out there were two other women there, common law wives of the outlaws. Brutalized and terrified, the women are forced to accompany the men on their journey of carnage.

Meanwhile, the cousin to one of their victims pursues the outlaws, and meets and woos
Denise Weimer
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What happens when a triumph turns into a tragedy? That’s what daughter of a Baptist preacher Sally Rice Roberts (aka Harpe) must face when her recently baptized groom takes her home to a nightmare. The younger brother (or cousin) of Micajah Harpe, Wiley hasn’t been honest with Sally. The two men drag three women through an ever-escalating spree of robbery and murder in Tennessee and Kentucky as they evade posses out for justice in the waning days of the eighteenth century.

The Blue Cloak is told
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Blue Cloak was a powerful story. I was amazed at how the author took a tale that was wrought with evil, death, and abuse, yet was able to write a story that pointed toward hope in God.

I felt as if the author did a very good job of getting into the mind of Sally, one of the wives of the murderers. It helped the story to make sense, seeing how scared and helpless she felt. But what I enjoyed most about this book was the story between Ben and Rachel. They were brought together by horrible circu
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear is part of the True Colours series. It is a Christian historical novel and set in 1797.
Shannon McNear has woven her tale around true facts that are horrifying and evil. The novel concerns two serial killers who raped, tortured and murdered, spreading terror all around. They were depraved with three wives between them who were forced to stay through fear.
The atmosphere of terror has been perfectly captured by Shannon McNear as she relates a time of pure evil. This
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
A redemptive telling of a truly horrifying tale. I was not at all familiar with this historical crime spree. I appreciated the way the story was unfolded as it built to the terrors that were to come. While Rachel and Ben are the romantic focus, and they have a precious story of their own, a lot of the plot focused on her friend, Sally and her firsthand experience of the cousin’s evil rampage. I appreciated that full descriptions were not given, but rather implied. There were a few times I felt m ...more
I received this from for a review.

"Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along."

The True Colors series are fictionalized accounts of true crime stories. Nicely written story. The footnote was int
Lisa Johnson
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Title: The Blue Cloak (True Colors)
Author: Shannon McNear
Pages: 256
Year: 2020
Publisher: Barbour
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
The Blue Cloak is not a read for those who find it difficult to read about horrific, tragic but historically true tales of crimes committed. The author did do a good job writing a tale with the facts she discovered about the Harpe brothers in the year 1797. The story takes place in Tennessee when Rachel attends her friend’s wedding to one of the Harpe brothers; yet, there i
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this series!!! It combines my favorite things - true crime, historical fiction, and Christian fiction. I highly recommend picking up all the books in this series. You won't be disappointed! ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: celebrate-lit
Wow. Just wow. This whole series has been wonderful and I knew this book would be too. I did not however quite expect it to be as dark as it was. There is abuse in this book and some graphic violence. While it's not detailed you should still be aware it's in here.

This book like the rest of the series is based on true crimes in history and it's a fast and furious type read. Within the pages, you'll find two "brothers" who have three wives between them, though they're not really wives. They also
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Can love and faith survive the darkness?

I knew I was in for a doozy when I started The Blue Cloak. You see, I'd heard of the Harpe brothers years ago while reading an old magazine about treasure hunting. I vaguely remembered them as river pirates around the Cave-In-Rock area and that they were particularly vicious murderers. Uh, yeah, I kinda didn't fully remember just how BAD they really were.

I've read, and enjoyed, all of the books so far in the True Colors series, and, despite the fact that e
Kristi Drillien
(3.5 / 5)

In the wilds of Tennessee and Kentucky in the late 1700s, Rachel’s newly married close friend gets caught up in a nightmare. Sally’s groom and his cousin, Big and Little Harpe, become outlaws and leave a trail of destruction, dragging their family along with them. Rachel is worried for her friend, as well as for her new acquaintance Ben Langford. Ben came to the frontier to keep his cousin out of danger, but sadly discovered that Thomas was one of the Harpes’ first known victims. Now he
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Shannon has been writing one thing or another since third grade and finished her first novel at age fifteen—but waited more than thirty years for her first book contract. In the meantime, she graduated from high school, attended college, met and married her husband, birthed nine children, lost one, taught five to drive, revised that first story innumerable times, and completed six others.

Her first

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