Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review: A Flight of Arrows

Lori Benton

A Flight of Arrows

The Pathfinders, Book 2
By Lori Benton
Waterbrook, April 2016

About the Book

Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own. No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love.

Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York, and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.

My Review

A Flight of Arrows is both thrilling and profoundly moving in so many ways I can’t recount them all. After reading The Wood’s Edge, book 1 of this series, I couldn’t imagine how Benton would be able to match the message of God’s grace she portrayed in that volume, while bringing plot and character development to a satisfying resolution. But in A Flight of Arrows Benton reaches even deeper into the heart of God’s love to reveal treasures beyond human understanding.

Benton immerses readers in the story’s historical place and time through writing that’s elegant and organic. She vividly recreates the British campaign through the Mohawk Valley in 1777, portraying its effect on those caught up in it: American, British, and Native American. Against this larger backdrop the very personal struggles of Stone Thrower and Good Voice, Reginald and Lydia, Anna and Two Hawks, William and the Oneida Nation play out in a haunting and heart-wrenchingly beautiful story of grief and joy, sin and sacrifice, love lost and regained.

Anna and Two Hawks ache to marry but cannot for Reginald’s refusal to grant permission. Reginald and Lydia hover on the cusp of a long-delayed love, but between them stands Reginald’s inability to accept forgiveness for the desperate act that tore another family apart and ultimately estranged William and Anna from him. Even though Stone Thrower and Good Voice chose through great heartache to clothe themselves in God’s grace toward Reginald, they fear they may never embrace their lost son after all. For William, shattered at discovering that the identity he believed his was a sham, has fled to join the British Army to oppose the man who stole him.

Now both Reginald and Stone Thrower join in a desperate journey to find William and bring him back. If he can be persuaded. If he can embrace his true identity. If they can save him from the ravages of war, an act that will require one man’s unthinkable sacrifice.

I love this historical setting. I love how Benton’s characters are rendered so believably that I ached for and rejoiced with each one. How Benton portrays God working through the lives of each of these frail, flawed, broken human beings to accomplish His perfect purpose is indeed a wonder to behold. She offers the strength, hope, and grace all of us need for our own journey.

J. M. Hochstetler

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