Stephanie Grace Whitson. Messenger by Moonlight. New York, NY: FaithWords, 2016.
It’s been a particularly busy week around the Books and Biscuits Blog as more books for the summer months have just arrived. However, I made to make the time to read Stephanie Grace Whitson’s newest release, Messenger by Moonlight.
Annie Paxton and her brothers are forced to leave their childhood home after their father’s death. They head to St. Joseph, Missouri, in the hopes of settling down in the city and finding worthwhile jobs for all three of them. However, the Pony Express is searching for young and daring riders, an opportunity that the Paxton brothers cannot pass up. Soon, the Paxtons are on their way to a remote Pony Express station in the Nebraska Territory. While the Paxton brothers are racing horses across hundreds of miles of barely-settled territory, Annie cooks and cares for the guests of the Pony Express station, with the help of its surly owner, George Morgan. In comparison, the officers of Fort Kearny seem like gentleman. When the nation turns to war and the Pony Express encounters its own set of challenges, Annie must finally choose between the relative safety she has always known and embracing the real-life adventure of the Pony Express.
Ms. Whitson continues to focus her recent novels on unique female characters during the mid-nineteenth century. Messenger by Moonlight tells the story of the Pony Express, while presenting a fascinating perspective of the women who helped to keep the stations running and fed.
Overall, I really enjoyed Messenger by Moonlight. Ms. Whitson always writes thoroughly-researched, yet surprisingly accessible stories about the western frontiers. This novel fits well with A Captain for Laura Rose and Daughter of the Regiment, in that it focuses on the unique perspective of women placed in extraordinary situations during times of political and familiar struggle. From a historical perspective, I would highly recommend that reader’s pay attention to Ms. Whitson’s author’s notes, as she clearly indicate just how little historical resources are available to support the primary concept of the novel. In general, I thought she did an excellent job of remaining close to the general details of the period, even without having exceptional amounts of primary or secondary documentation focused on the women’s perspective of the Pony Express stations. In the end, I thought that Ms. Whitson’s resulting novel was masterfully accomplished and a convincing, yet exciting, interpretation of the Pony Express.
Readers who enjoy Ms. Whitson’s other novels will definitely want to read Messenger by Moonlight. Fans of mid-nineteenth century historical Christian fiction, especially focusing on the nation’s western migration, will find the novel to present a particularly fascinating perspective not often found in other books. With moderate pacing and an accessible writing style, the novel makes for a relatively fast read, even at 327 pages.
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Amazon – Messenger by Moonlight