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Category: Historical, Religious
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Has Almighty God intervened in American history? Many great Americans have thought so, including President Abraham Lincoln.
In a Civil War era prologue to this historically accurate story about the Pilgrims of Plymouth in 1623, Lincoln signs his wartime proclamation making the traditional New England holiday of Thanksgiving a permanent national holiday for the United States of America. Laying down his pen, Lincoln disabuses his listeners of several false or inaccurate legends about the Mayflower Pilgrims. They were not perfect people but all-too-human, the usual combination of admirable strengths and appalling weaknesses. They made mistakes in 1623 that nearly destroyed their settlement at Plymouth. With their backs to the wall they eventually declared a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. With no other hope remaining, they saw their desperate prayers lead to an astounding demonstration of God’s existence, power and mercy—divine intervention on a scale seldom experienced outside the pages of the Bible. The Pilgrims owed their very survival to this extraordinary instance of providential American history.
As President Lincoln says, “Our nation began with a miracle.”
In the spring of 1623, feisty and beautiful Hester Cooke arrives in New Plymouth with her two young daughters and little son to be reunited with the love of her life, husband Francis Cooke, and their elder son John, whom she has not seen since both sailed on the Mayflower nearly three years earlier. The previous year’s harvest has been catastrophic, far too meager to celebrate with feasting similar to the First Thanksgiving of 1621. The people of Plymouth barely survived last winter, thanks only to what men like Francis and boys like John have learned about hunting, gathering and fishing from their friends in the local Wampanoag “Indian” Tribe. Even now the settlers are living on the verge of starvation.
Reunited with son John, Hester discovers that her husband Francis is out on a dangerous mission with Captain Miles Standish and other militiamen to prevent a conflict between a group of dishonest English traders and the distant Massachusett Tribe from exploding into open warfare that could destroy Plymouth. After the peril is defused for the present, Hester and Francis are reunited at last, settling into their new lives. As the planting season begins, Governor William Bradford and the Plymouth town council reach a momentous decision. Defying the rules set down by their London financial backers, they abandon communal farming (a form of what would now be called socialism) in favor of private property and free enterprise.
The opportunity to profit from one’s own hard work on one’s own land soon has every man, woman and child out working in the fields. Lack of motivation is a thing of the past, but Hester and Francis soon discover that Christians who take their faith seriously can still fall prey to overwork, insensitivity, envy, selfishness and strife.
These conflicts play out over one of the most dramatic years in American colonial history. The great Wampanoag chieftain Massasoit Ousamequin, who has kept the peace, falls ill to the point of death. The Pilgrims learn that two Massachusett braves are attempting to start a war to destroy all the white newcomers. Should these troublemakers be stopped, even if by a murderous preemptive strike?
What happens afterward, when nature itself seems to turn against all the inhabitants of the land, with the fingers of blame pointed squarely at the people of Plymouth by enraged Native Americans? What happens when the situation becomes so ominous, so deadly, so far beyond human solution, that the Pilgrims have nowhere to turn except to God and the power of prayer?
A novel about true historical events from screenwriter Douglas Lloyd McIntosh, who adapted LOVE'S LONG JOURNEY and LOVE'S ABIDING JOY for the Hallmark Channel, films in the LOVE COMES SOFTLY series by the beloved Christian novelist Janette Oke.
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