About the Book
Book: The Blue Cloak
Series: True Colors #5
Author: Shannon McNear
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense; True Crime
Release Date: February 14, 2020 (eBook), March 1, 2020 (paperback)
Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin 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?
Shannon McNear is definitely one of my most favorite authors ever. I’ve said it in previous reviews, I will say it again: McNear cannot write a bad story if she tried. With that said, I struggled with The Blue Cloak. Not because it’s a poorly written novel. It’s actually superiorly written. I found The Blue Cloak highly engaging and fast-paced. I didn’t struggle with the characters per se. In fact, I’ve never rooted harder for a character than I did for Sally Roberts … er, I mean Sally Harpe (you’ll understand once you read this story). And, I didn’t struggle with the themes. They are timely and seriously thought-provoking. In all honesty, I 1000% recommend The Blue Cloak. McNear took a supremely ugly topic and penned an honest, historically accurate story that ends with grace and hope. And yet, I still really struggled. The ugly is so ugly, I find myself at a loss for how to reconcile Sally’s horrific experiences with the notion that God has a plan for good for His people.
Genesis 50:20 is the famous verse where Joseph tells his brothers, “…You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”. When I read Joseph’s story I totally get this verse. When I look backward, I can easily see God’s hand orchestrating Joseph’s story and keeping him from great harm. Joseph does endure sad, rough moments, but God is there. After reading Sally’s story in The Blue Cloak, and looking backward, I’m struggling so hard to see God’s hand. I can see it clear as day for almost every other character, but I just can’t for Sally and that scares me. What does this say about me? Is my faith in God fake? Can I only see God’s hand when things are rosy and sunny and good? OR, are there just some stories we won’t understand until we get to Heaven and God explains them to us? I know God is good all the time. I know He is pure, perfect love. But today I don’t understand how He allows certain things. How do we stay faithful when very, very, very bad things happen to good, innocent people? I feel like knowing the answer to this question is pivotal, but today all I can do is go to God and tell Him that I am struggling to understand. Today, I’m a little angry, a lot brokenhearted, and downright unsure. I will have to take all these feels to God and let Him help me sort them out.
A true testament of a novel’s amazingness is how it sticks with a reader well after the final page had been turned, and how that novel forces a reader to wrestle with complex topics. Well, The Blue Cloak must be one of the MOST amazing novels ever because I will never forget it, and I’m definitely wrestling with some tough emotions and facts. As I stated earlier, I highly recommend this novel, but understand that reading this story may very well wreck your heart. I had ALL the feels with this one!
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Barbour Books, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.