Elinor by Shannon McNear – Book Review

Posted January 10, 2022 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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Elinor by Shannon McNear – Book Review


by Shannon McNear

Published by Barbour Fiction
Publication Date December 1, 2021
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Setting: England, North Carolina Elizabethan Era - UK - 1558 - 1603
Written for: Adults
Pages: 320


A Journey Full of Hope... Escape into a riveting story based on the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.
Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.
In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . . The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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My knowledge of American history is lacking because I don’t remember learning anything about the Lost Colony of Roanoke. So it was interesting to find out about the colonists who disappeared with no ability to trace what happened to them through Elinor, though I realize that everything in this story about them after John White left the island is merely speculation.

Elinor was an interesting character. I loved the way she chose to be brave in the face of what could have been terrifying circumstances and how she chose faith over fear, even when she didn’t understand God’s ways or plan. Her habit of reciting Scripture, aloud or just in her heart, when she needed reassurance was lovely and had a lasting impact on her and those around her.

I greatly appreciate the extensive research that Shannon McNear puts into her fiction. It is clear she wants to be as accurate as she can with the available historical details.

I did find that parts of the story felt more like reading a historical text than reading a novel. Mainly in the portions probably taken from the diary of John White.

The author’s handling of the relations between the natives and the colonists was tactful. Even the motivations behind the violence enacted by the natives were shown not to be the acts of a cruel and ignorant people. Though they were referred to as “savages”, the author explains in her introduction that this was only because that was the common term for the natives at the time the story takes place and she did not make it appear to be derogatory.

I recommend Elinor for readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction with a somber tone.

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About Shannon McNear

After more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, four of their eight children, two German Shepherds, three cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee. She’s a member of ACFW and RWA and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairies.

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