The Least of These by Scott Zachary: A Book Review

The Least of These
Author: Scott Zachary
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher: Mahalas Press
Release Date: November 15th, 2013
Pages: 70
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis:  Molly Gregor was not a temperate woman.

     The daughter of a murdered Catholic nobleman, and the wife of a Protestant
landowner, she imagines herself a stranger in her own land. Rash, proud, and
headstrong, she has carved her way through life with a bold determination that often
places her at odds with those closest to her.

     When a band of Irish Travellers come to her small town, Molly finds herself torn
between helping the wayfaring strangers and the cruel prejudices of her neighbors.
Will she find the courage to defend these, the least of all people?

     Set in the turbulent spring of 1709, The Least of These is a haunting, yet inspiring
story of questioned faith, restored hope, and the true price of charity.

     
     My Review: Set in Ireland in the spring of 1709, this novellette explores the character and faith of an emotionally damaged woman who tries to find peace, happiness, and the good things in life during her sad times. Molly is a Catholic woman whose father was murdered in her youth, and she became a public outcast when she married a Protestant Scottish nobleman and a drunkard. One day, she meets a group of poverty-stricken, passing travelers. However, the travelers are met with great hostility by the villagers’ who form a mob to try to cast them out. Molly is driven by faith that as a Christian woman she must try to help these travelers. Molly must fight against her fellow villager’s rage in order to defend these strangers.

     Molly’s character is very human. She is a very broken woman and very sad. She often seeks faith and questions her relationship with God. She often wonders why  God lets bad things happen to her. Sometimes, she gets angry and blames God. She tries to do what is right, and tries to help others as much as she can. She is also very loving and generous. She has an interesting relationship with the priest Father Roark. Father Roark is Molly’s spiritual mentor, and he tries to preach to her that even though there is a lot of evil in the world, there is still some good in the world. Sometimes, Father Roark struggles with doing what he preaches, but with Molly reminding him of the scriptures, he, in the end, practices what he preaches. Molly also has a loving relationship with her husband. Their love is unwavering and devoted to each other. Molly’s husband supports and helps her even when the village is against her.  Despite his flaws, it is obvious that he wants to be his best self with Molly.

     Overall, this novelette is about love, hope, charity, and choices. It is also about a woman who is seeking peace, happiness, and contentment within herself.  This is a beautiful and well-told story. The writing is lyrical, and the characters are well-developed and realistic. We can relate to Molly’s emotions and thoughts as she tries to cope with her situations. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Irish history, Christianity in general, or any fan of strong heroines.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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