Breathes with Intrigue: My review of Siri Mitchell's "The Messenger"

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith . . . until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one? 

But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah . . . for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.

In a time of war, can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?


The Messenger breathes with intrigue, fascinates with interesting historical details, and ultimately entertains while stirring your faith. Hannah and Jeremiah are characters who will long stay with me, as by the end of the novel they seemed like fast friends who I wished existed in real life. Hannah's dedication to honesty, despite her role as a spy, left me longing for people today to also be committed to such integrity.  Jeremiah's sense of justice is likewise admirable, and I felt deeply his uncertainties due to having one arm and believing this made him less of a man. I greatly enjoyed watching their growth as characters, and found myself often pondering pearls of wisdom that are tucked in amidst the story, thoughts and comments on faith and life.

The aspect I most enjoyed were the times the characters wrestled with difficult questions. Hannah's involvement in the Quaker faith was completely absorbing, and the author's choice to pair this with Hannah's role as a spy was brilliant! Hannah had to make some incredibly difficult choices, between doing what she felt God would have her do, or doing what her fellow believers and her parents would have her do.  Hannah and Jeremiah are, ultimately, obedient to such a calling to do what is right, what God desires, despite a tremendously high cost to making these choices. They are committed to treating others with dignity, regardless of their place in society, a sentiment that was not widely embraced in the historical setting of this novel. As such, their example is one worthy of emulation indeed.

I greatly enjoyed this novel from start to finish, from the wonderful characters to the intricate plot, to the way my faith was challenged. I highly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit

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  1. I really enjoy Siri Mitchell as an author. I'm currently reading Kissing Adrien and it is really entertaining!

    I have a copy of "The Messenger" on the way to me, I'm really anxious to read it. Great review on the book!

    1. I haven't read Kissing Adrien. I'll have to check out it. I can say that The Messenger is probably one of my favourite of her books so far :) I hope you enjoy it too!


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