Monday, October 9, 2017

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

by Andrea Renee Cox

Heartache in a Book

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DISCLOSURE: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, authors, and sites like Netgalley, Litfuse Publicity Group, and Blogging for Books. They do not require me to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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From the outset of this story, I knew it was going to twist my heart into a pretzel. While I didn’t much care for Philip, his arguing with his wife was what first endeared me to Clare. It was clear she wanted the best thing for her family, and it’s hard sometimes to know what that is, especially when the leader of the family is off chasing a whim. I’m glad I stuck through with Clare through the stubbornness she displayed often throughout the remainder of the book, because her heart journey was exquisite. To have one’s son stolen by Indians and then to attempt to gain those Indians’ trust in order to get merely a glimpse of the child lost to you… I can imagine how much one’s heart would wrench and ache in that scenario.

My favorite character was Wolf-Alone. He was quite mysterious, and I can’t remember him in The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn (I wish I had time to reread that one right now!), but he was the type of guy who stands for what he believes in and tries to keep the peace but is willing to fight for his people too. Ultimate hero, right there. So yeah. I may have to dig out my copy of Tamsen after all. I want to see what happens next to Wolf-Alone, who might just go by a different name in the other book.


The thing in this book that made me cry was the faith arc. So beautiful. Learning to trust that God has a good path for His children, even if it looks scary or filled with pain and heartache, is so important. It’s something I try my best to remember when I’m facing a tough trial, that God will work it out for His good plan. All things work together for God’s good plan, and if we’re patient enough to wait and struggle and trust Him through the trials, He just might give us a glimpse of the bigger picture when the time is right. Oh, to have that kind of perseverance. I’m aiming for it every day.

While I enjoyed many parts of Many Sparrows, there were a few things I took issue with. These are the reasons I gave only three out of five stars:
* There was too much detail of a body part during pregnancy.
* There were many detailed mentions of nursing a baby (including body parts and partial nudity).
* There was female nudity among the Indians, including while among males.
* “Lord,” in reference to God, was used too loosely once.

A couple of things that did not affect my rating:
* tattoos
* multiple earlobe piercings
* There was one unnecessary scene break for dramatic effect. The following scene picked up immediately without a change of POV character or any gap in the time line. It felt like a manipulation to extract a certain emotion from the reader. Since it was forced, I did not feel the emotion that was intended by that scene ending, but I would have if the scene had simply continued without the break.

The reason I did not drop more stars due to the nudity is because I’m giving the author the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps Indians dressed that skimpy among themselves during the 1770s. I have not researched that, so I don’t know for sure. It’s something I’m uncomfortable reading, and were I writing a fictional story, I would probably tweak that to uphold my own set of morals as a writer and simply explain the difference in a note to the reader. However, I respect Ms. Benton for wanting to portray real life in her book. She’s a very talented author who always immerses the reader into the scenes in her stories because her descriptions and characters and story-worlds are spectacular, engaging, and realistic.


About Many Sparrows:

Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would. . .
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?

About Lori Benton:
Lori Benton
Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, Christy-nominee The Wood's Edge, and A Flight of Arrows.
Find out more about Lori at http://loribenton.blogspot.com.


What is your favorite book that features Indians?
Which book of Lori Benton’s is your favorite? Why?
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