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Messenger by Moonlight: A Novel

By: Stephanie Grace Whitson


Title: Experience the Lure of the American West

Industry Reviewer: Christine Sharbrough

Although the Pony Express lasted less than two years, it has become part of the legend of the American West. Whitson has an excellent eye for historical detail. Her well-drawn characters are a delight. Readers will want a sequel that delves into the secondary characters who have stories of their own to tell.

BOTTOM LINE: A perfect story for summertime reading for teens and adults. A great companion work for educators teaching the history of the American West. The storyline provides just enough information on the Pony Express to lead students of all ages to non-fiction materials for more information.

Book Description

Bestselling author Stephanie Grace Whitson's latest historical novel features an adventurous young heroine who works for 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.

This review is the opinion solely of professional reviewer Christine Sharbrough, MSLIS; RA Librarian, Chelmsford Public Library; Christian Fiction Columnist, Library Journal. The review does not reflect endorsement by Library Journal or Chelmsford Library. In quoting all or part of the review, please attribute to: Christine Sharbrough, MSLIS and Christian Fiction Columnist, Library Journal.

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