“Jeremiah Ring had witnessed death as often as the next man on the Allegheny frontier, but in all his thirty years he had encountered no deaths more dismaying than those confronting him now.”

Opening line of Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

Lori Benton has, once again, written an amazing novel which takes the reader into the midst of the tensions rising in 1774 Ohio-Kentucky frontier between Native American and Colonists. The characters are so well-constructed, there are no bad guys but rather complex emotions and dilemmas, broken hearts and homes. Many Sparrows begins with massacre of a Native American’s family presumably at the hands of the Colonists and sets in motion the events of the novel.

Clare and Philip, with their four-year-old son, Jacob, are travelling across the frontier in search of a new and better life. Philip rides off to find food leaving Clare, heavily pregnant, alone with Jacob. Shortly after, Clare goes into labour and Jacob disappears. Jeremiah arrives on the second in time to help delivery Clare’s baby. The two then set off to find Jacob using Jeremiah’s knowledge of both the landscape and the Shawnee Indians working from the assumption that he has been taken.

The story takes several twists and turns as Lori winds Clare’s story through the historical facts, bringing them to life. Whilst I knew the bare bones of what happened, I throughly enjoyed going on this journey and thinking over the difficult decisions that had to be made. The relationship between Clare and Jeremiah grows over time as she adjust to life on the frontier and how her faith fits in with her circumstances. Unsurprisingly, parts of the story are brutal but the ending is beautifully done and I’m looking forward to reading more from this world created by Lori.

If historical fiction is your thing, this is one not to be missed, I highly recommend it! It’s five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale.

From the back cover:

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?

I received a complimentary copy of the book from WaterBrook and Multnomah through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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