Monday, July 11, 2016
Messenger by Moonlight- Stephanie Grace Whitson
Description: 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 Thoughts: Messenger by Moonlight starts out a little slow, taking a few chapters to really pick up with the adventure of taking part in the Pony Express. The narrative is divided between the twins, Annie and Frank, offering alternatively hopeful and cynical outlooks to the story. While there is romance in the characters' lives, most of the story revolves around these two characters' personal growth.
There is a long list of characters in this novel, many of which add to the richness of it and then others that make parts of the story lag. My favorites were Billy, George, and Lydia, all of whom played a larger role in Annie's story as Frank's is mostly internal musings.
The story is certainly character driven, with most of events taking place as direct result to Annie and Frank's actions. Though somewhat slower, taking place over at least a year, the story was a nice change of pace from many of the other books I have read lately.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.