About the Book
Book: The Blue Cloak
Author: Shannon McNear
Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense
Release Date: March, 2020
Evil Incarnate Leaves a Trail of Destruction across the Frontier
Book 5 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence in 1797 at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend Sally Rice’s wedding only to watch the marriage dissolve into horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin Micajah become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims.
How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?
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I am really enjoying this series of books about historical true crimes. This story is a bit different in the fact that it is more along the lines of a western feel to me. The story focuses on Wiley and Micajah in 1797. I haven’t read very many books about this time period so I was very intrigued by the book. I could not believe that two men could cause such destruction in human life but they did it without remorse. They robbed, murdered, intimidated and showed no compassion for anyone. It was hard to read what these two men did to the three women they forced to stay with them.
The author portrays the characters with distinctive traits that jump off the pages. It was easy to sympathize with Sally because she is definitely a victim of abuse. I wanted to be there with her as she felt alone and unwanted. Her parents didn’t seem to care much and she felt that God had given up on her. I loved Rachel and how much compassion she had for Sally. Rachel never gave up on her and her prayers never stopped.
I did find the story at times to be a bit graphic and thought it could have been toned down some. The unnecessary descriptions of some of the murders made the story almost too much for me at times. I understand that the author wanted to present two characters that were evil but sometimes less is better.
I did like Ben and how he wanted to capture Wiley and Micajah. His faith was strong and I loved how he showed no fear. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to track these two men down knowing how dangerous they were. There is a very difficult part to read in the book about a baby. I heard myself gasp as the scene unfolded. I had to put the book down for awhile because I didn’t know if I could handle what was going to happen next. I will say the author does give details that are shocking and I wondered if I could handle much more. The ending is bittersweet but one thing is clear throughout the story; God will never leave you nor forsake you.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.
More from Shannon
How dark is too dark for a Christian to write?
That was the question I wrestled with when deciding whether or not to take on the story of the Harpes. The histories in Scripture itself aren’t rated G, but writing fiction requires a level of detail and depth of emotion I wasn’t sure would be wise, or helpful, to explore in this case. But as I prayed and sought the counsel of those whose discernment I trust, the answer came back, overwhelmingly …
Is God stronger than the darkness, or not?
Well, of course He is. And nothing in human history has ever escaped His notice, or taken Him by surprise.
So, was there something redeeming to be found in the tale of the Harpes?
For the first few weeks of research, I walked around in a state of shock at the horror of the historical accounts, but details surfaced that helped me shape my fictional characters Rachel and Ben. With Rachel working in her family’s trading post near the wild frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben a lawyer who recently passed the bar, the real-life Hugh Lawson White provided a handy connection point between them. Many other details fell together in ways I had not foreseen when I began developing the story. Sally Rice Harpe, however, rose to the forefront. This was more her story than anyone’s, but realizing I couldn’t properly write the book without using her point of view? That was scary. I knew the moments I’d have to visit, some of them in real-time.
Despite the tragedy, however, I could see an overarching story of spiritual warfare. Felt a growing conviction that prayer must have played a vital role in bringing the Harpes’ reign of terror to an end. So it is my hope that against the backdrop of one of the most chilling episodes of our country’s early history, the hand of God shows clearly, and that yes, the reader finds it redemptive.
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Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 28
Christian Bookaholic, March 28
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deb’s Book Review, March 30
Robin’s Nest, March 31
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 1
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 1
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By The Book, April 2
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To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Blue Cloak and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.