Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Messenger by Moonlight by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Bestselling author Stephanie Grace Whitson's latest historical novel features an adventurous young heroine who joins the Pony Express.

Orphaned Annie Paxton and her brothers may have lost the only home they've ever known, but they're determined to make a better future in St. Joseph, Missouri. Annie dreams of a pretty house with window boxes, and having friends, and attending church every week. But then her brothers spot the ad for a new venture called the Pony Express. "Wanted," it reads, "Young, skinny fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders and willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred." Sure enough, both her brothers land jobs as Express messengers, and Annie puts her dreams on hold to work as a cook at Clearwater Ranch, a station along the Pony Express route. 

Annie struggles to adapt to her new job--work made all the more challenging when she has so many to feed and few ingredients. The gruff station owner, George, doesn't seem inclined to make her life any easier, or at least not at first. But slowly a friendship builds between them. When Annie attracts the attention of a refined, dashing lieutenant from the nearby fort, she'll have to learn how to trust her instincts and follow her heart, even if she's conflicted about which way it's leading her.

My review:

  I have never read any books by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I tend to avoid books that are just romance, and hers seem to fall into that category. This one caught my attention since it is about the Pony Express, something that interests me.

 As one might correctly assume by the plot idea, this is a historical novel. And though historical novels are not my usual genre' either, I really liked it. The Pony Express part of the book was of course very cool, and I thought the author did a great job of portraying the life of a Pony Express rider, and of others involved in that life.

 The romance part of the book was OK...... hey, I am a guy :) - it wasn't overdone or gushy. The plot was awesome, great characters, and the story line kept me intrigued to keep reading. I would have liked to have had the story center more on the riders than it did, but it was still enjoyable and a good look into what life might have been like on the Pony Express trail.

About the author:

A native of southern Illinois, Stephanie Grace Whitson has lived in Nebraska since 1975. She began what she calls "playing with imaginary friends" (writing fiction) when, as a result of teaching her four homeschooled children Nebraska history, she was personally encouraged and challenged by the lives of pioneer women in the West. Since her first book, Walks the Fire, was published in 1995, Stephanie's fiction titles have appeared on the ECPA bestseller list numerous times and been finalists for the Christy Award, the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year. Her first nonfiction work, How to Help a Grieving Friend, was released in 2005. In addition to serving in her local church and keeping up with two married children, two college students, and a high school senior, Stephanie enjoys motorcycle trips with her family and church friends. Her passionate interests in pioneer women's history, antique quilts, and French, Italian, and Hawaiian language and culture provide endless story-telling possibilities.

Messenger By Moonlight is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette Book Group.