Many know that I love a good heroic story. My friends swooned over C. Thomas Howell and John Stamos (I admit, I had to look them up to see if I could recognize any faces on friends’ walls!). They imagined themselves as Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink or Sweet Sixteen.
I memorized Patton’s speech, asked Dad to tell me the story of Sergeant York (Dad wasn’t a fan until York shot out the nest of German soldiers. Ahem), and swooned over Gary Cooper’s sacrifice in Beau Geste.
So, it shouldn’t be any wonder that I love “war fiction.” The War for Independence, World Wars I & II (sorry, the War Between the States breaks my heart in a different way and for so many reasons… don’t enjoy that fiction usually).
I hate the reality and the ugliness of it. I do. However, when a man is not only willing to die for the country he longs for his children to grow up in but also can say with what one assumes is full sincerity… “I have only one regret, that I have but one life to give for my country,” that means something. The guy was twenty-one, folks! My heart aches for the horrible beauty of it. It defines both patriotism and heroism in one brave act.
Of course, I wonder if he would have made the same choice for his God.
Is it any wonder, then, that when I had the chance to review the third book in the Revolutionary Faith Series, Bring Me Near, I requested a copy immediately? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
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Patriotism and Heroism and Why It Matters in a Book
Marguerite Martin Gray takes a world that we only see dimly in textbooks and brings it to life on the pages of this series. As it should be, each book gets better—almost exponentially so. Bring Me Near is my favorite, but I have every hope that she’ll replace it with another favorite… and another.
One can hope, right? Please? If I bake cookies while you write?
In Bring Me Near , the characters grow stronger, richer, and more complex. Even when you’re annoyed with them, it’s because they’re so true-to-life. Seeing a Frenchman become so invested in America’s beginnings, and seeing the same events from several colonists’ sides brings to life so many facets of the war.
If you love intrigue, you’ll find it. Secrecy? Oh, yeah. Torn allegiances? What about brave young boys and surprisingly good markswomen? Yep. Them, too.
The plot has depth, both politically and spiritually. You see growth in more than just the main characters and in more than just from the last book. Even as this book progresses, you get a sense of how time changes people.
The most unlikely people become heroes among the patriots of Charles Town in 1775—heroes because they become willing to make the difficult decisions to do what they believe to be right, regardless of personal cost. Regardless of fear.
That is a hero in my book.
I only noticed very minor elements that I had trouble with in past books—so minor that I can’t even remember what they were. It feels like there was a minor theological quibble. Maybe? I don’t know.
What I do know is there just isn’t much to complain about in Bring Me Near . Perhaps it’s due to the author’s personal writing growth, perhaps it’s the nature of the story, or perhaps I just enjoyed myself so much that I didn’t notice. And you know what? I don’t care which it is. That’s right. I don’t care. Because when you make me love a book, that’s all that counts. I loved it. And I’m stinkin’ bummed that I have to wait for another.
Why do patriotism and heroism matter in a book? I’d say because they matter in real life. These people suffered and died for the cause of freedom. That matters. After all, Jesus suffered and died to procure our freedom.