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Preacher on the Run: A Novel of the Regulator Uprising Review by Heidi MosherJayna Baas
Preacher on the Run: A Novel of the Regulator Uprising by Jayna Baas is Christian historical fiction centered on the Regulator Rebellion of the Revolutionary War Era. The over 310-page novel includes 50 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue. Additional pages include a North Caroline Piedmont Area map from 1771, background information, scripture references, and a bibliography. Preacher on the Run is the first in the author's For Liberty & Conscience series. As advertised in the back of the book, coming soon is book two: Patriots by Night. Preacher on the Run is available for $13.95 through booksbyjayna.com or $4.99 as an eBook on Amazon.
I used this book as a read-aloud with my 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. Though it did not fit in with our studies this year, I was drawn to the book because a young author wrote it, and I wanted to take the time to discover the story with my children. It was age-appropriate for a 14-year-old though the plot was a little ambitious for a ten-year-old. I will assign the book to my 16-year-old son to read independently during his next school year when his studies cover the Revolutionary War. I also suspect my post-high school daughter would enjoy this book and make sure it is available for her.
Preacher on the Run is a unique book. Though historical fiction, the author constructed her story in two fresh and exceptional ways. First, the dialogue was more modern than expected of a 1700s setting, giving the characters a relatable connection to the present-day reader. Second, the main character, Robert Boothe, along with his wife, Magdalen, are nearly super-hero in the sense that they are aware something big is working against them. They seem to expect trouble, as well as the Lord's strength to handle that trouble. The result of the author's choices is a surprisingly entertaining read with quite a bit of clever humor, which was unexpected given the historical period. Nearly every day, I would catch my 14-year-old with a grin or laugh as I read. Even the title evokes a smile and intrigues.
Other pros of this book were the admirable examples set forth by many of the characters, both male and female. They displayed courage, faith, and commitment in relationships. The power of prayer is an evident theme in the book, as is the theme of church congregation. The plot was not predictable, at times almost like a mystery unfolding. I appreciated that the author shared a story of a lesser-known conflict of the Revolutionary War Era.
As I mentioned before, it is clear from the photo in the author's bio that a young person wrote this book. Aside from the fresh approaches she incorporated and her picture, it would be assumed this is a story-weaver with decades of writing experience. The book is unbelievably well-told and well-written. I point out her age as I believe it will inspire teens who read or listen to it. Perhaps the author's enormous undertaking of researching, writing, and publishing a novel will encourage other young writers or motivate any young person with a vast dream.
The two cons of this book are not necessarily negative. The author implements an impressive vocabulary. This is a pro if the reader is interested in expanding their vocabulary. It is a con if the reader cannot keep a dictionary or dictionary app nearby to comprehend the words fully. One minor item I found myself looking for is a reference list of characters. Preacher on the Run does not supply such a character list. I could have remedied that myself, however, by making my own list.
I recommend Preacher on the Run. It is an entertaining, inspiring, and worthwhile read, especially for those in middle school and above, including adults. I am eager to read the next book in the series and anything else Jayna Baas publishes as soon as it is available.
Product review by Heidi Mosher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2021